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New issues in tuberculosis
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  1. S H E Kaufmann
  1. Correspondence to:
    Professor S H E Kaufmann
    Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Department of Immunology, Schumannstr, 21-22, 10117 Berlin, Germany; kaufmannmpiib-berlin.mpg.de

Abstract

Tuberculosis remains a major health problem worldwide. The disease is caused by Mycobacteriumtuberculosis whose preferred habitat is the host macrophage. The immune response against tuberculosis is mediated by different subsets of T cells including both conventional CD4 and CD8 T cells as well as unconventional CD1 restricted and γδ T cells. The CD1 restricted T cells are particularly remarkable because they recognise the glycolipids abundant in the mycobacterial cell wall. Although a vaccine, M.bovis BCG, is available which protects toddlers against miliary tuberculosis, it is ineffective in preventing pulmonary tuberculosis in adults. Therefore, a novel vaccine is urgently required. Knowledge about the functioning of different T cell populations during infection and disease provides the basis for rational vaccine design. We have constructed a recombinant BCG vaccine which, compared with wild-type BCG, induces superior protection not only against laboratory strains but also against clinical isolates of M. tuberculosis.

  • BCG, bacille Calmette Guérin
  • hly, listeriolysin
  • MDR, multidrug resistance
  • MHC, major histocompatibility complex
  • tuberculosis
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • vaccine design
  • BCG vaccine
  • phagosome maturation
  • macrophages
  • T cell
  • major histocompatibility complex

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Footnotes

  • Financial support for the experimental work done in my laboratory is gratefully acknowledged from: EU integrated project TB-VAC, BMBF competence networks “Structural genomics of M. tuberculosis”, “Bacterial proteomics”, “Proteome analysis of membrane-bound proteins”, NGFN (Nationales Genomforschungsnetz) “Genomics of bacterial pathogens”, DFG priority programme “Novel vaccination strategies”, and DFG SFB 421 “Protective and pathologic consequences of antigen processing”.

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