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Novel strategies to fight tuberculosis
23-31 march 2012

Novel strategies to fight tuberculosis

The Structural Biochemistry Laboratory at the Centro de Investigación Príncipe Felipe (Valencia, Spain) led by Dr. Antonio Pineda-Lucena has been recently awarded an international bilateral project with India focused on the application of metabolomic approaches to the identification of new therapeutic targets in tuberculosis. Tuberculosis, an infectious disease caused by the bacillus Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), is a preventable and curable disease, which is responsible for aproximately 2 million deaths worldwide.

The success on tuberculosis disease management has been limited by the failure of an effective vaccine protection, the lack of early detection, the emergence of drug resistance and the deadly synergism with HIV infection. However, the major limitation for the control and elimination of this disease is still being the poor understanding of the molecular mechanisms of pathogenecity of Mtb and that´s what this project tries to tackle.

The main objective of this proposal is to build a multidisciplinary team of cell biologists, bioinformaticians and (bio)chemists working together on the identification of new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of tuberculosis. The Indian team is led by Dr. Shekhar Mande, Director of the National Centre for Cell Science in Pune, and include scientists from the University of Hyderabad (Dr. Sharmistha Benarjee) and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (Dr. Anant Patel).

To achieve this objective, metabolomics, a rapidly evolving discipline that involves the systematic study of the small molecules that characterize the metabolic pathways of biological systems will be used. By mapping the changes in the metabolic profiles of pathogenic and non-pathogenic Mtb strains to the corresponding metabolic pathways, this group of scientists will try to identify critical protein targets involved in the molecular mechanisms of pathogenicity and adaptation to various environmental stresses. The successful outcome of this project could represent a completely new approach to the identification and characterization of novel therapeutic targets against tuberculosis.

Caption of the above picture, from left to right: Sharmistha Benarjee (University of Hyderabad), Leonor Puchades-Carrasco (Centro de Investigación Príncipe Felipe) and Shekhar Mande (National Centre for Cell Science), all of them members of the team involved in this project.

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