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Tuberculosis Cure: Parasite Protein Could Be New Treatment

By Anne Dominguez , Jan 30, 2017 05:53 AM EST
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Parasite proteins plays a role in new tuberculosis cure. A study reveals that proteins produced by parasites could stimulate a molecular activity which can help fight tuberculosis. Researchers suggest host-directed tuberculosis therapies involving these proteins.

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria called mycobacterium tuberculosis. In most cases, it affects the lungs however, it can also infect other parts of the body. Some common symptoms of tuberculosis include cough with blood-containing sputum, weight loss, fever and night sweats.

Tuberculosis is thought to affect about one third of the world population. In 2014, there were 9.6 million cases of active tuberculosis resulting to less than 2 million deaths. Still, the statistics continue to increase each year.

Proteins from parasites which causes toxoplasmosis can help fight mycobacteria. A study published in PLOS Pathogens reveals that these proteins could be used in a new potential host-directed therapy for tuberculosis. Host-directed therapies are those which involve targeting the processes which help the bacteria survive rather than the bacteria itself.

Researchers at Hanyang University in South Korea tested the new tuberculosis cure in mycobacteria-infected mice. They were treated using mycobacteria-infected mice to observe the activity of GRA7 proteins. GRA7 are proteins produced by parasites after the host cells are infected.

They found out that a host protein, PKC, is important to the interaction between GRA7 and ASC or PLD1. This contribute to the antimicrobial defense against mycobacterium tuberculosis. "Taken together, these results underscore a previously unrecognized role of GRA7 in modulating antimicrobial host defense mechanism during mycobacterial infection," the researchers said on the study.

The study gives insight to the development of new potential tuberculosis cure using GRA7-based host-directed therapies, cited Science Daily. Common treatments to tuberculosis include use of antibiotics to kill the bacteria, however, some antibiotics become ineffective due to the unusual structure of the mycobacteria. More research is needed as the study was conducted on mice and human cells and not actual tuberculosis patients.

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