Identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis adherence-mediating components: a review of key methods to confirm adhesin function

Document Type: Review Article

Authors

Medical Microbiology and Infection Control, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Abstract

Anti-adhesion therapy represents a potentially promising avenue for the treatment and prevention of tuberculosis in a post-antibiotic era. Adhesins are surface-exposed microbial structures or molecules that enable pathogenic organisms to adhere to host surfaces, a fundamental step towards host infection. Although several Mycobacterium tuberculosis adhesins have been identified, it is predicted that numerous additional adherence-mediating components contribute to the virulence and success of this pathogen. Significant further research to discern and characterize novel M. tuberculosis adhesins is, therefore, required to gain a holistic account of M. tuberculosis adhesion to the host. This would enable the identification of potential drug and vaccine targets for attenuating M. tuberculosis adherence and infectivity. Several methods have been successfully applied to the study and identification of M. tuberculosis adhesins. In this manuscript, we review these methods, which include adherence assays that utilize wild-type and gene knockout mutant strains, epitope masking and competitive inhibition analyses, extracellular matrix protein binding assays, microsphere adhesion assays, M. tuberculosis auto-aggregation assays, and in silico analyses.

Keywords


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