This is a call for creating a tuberculosis research community.
Tuberculosis (TB), the disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), infects approximately two billion people. The World Health Organization estimates that about two million people die each year from TB due to the lack of and inability to afford proper health care.1 Overcrowding and ill-nourishment of poor people living in large cities leads to a high incidence of the disease due to the ease at which the infection can be transferred.2 This contributes to the accelerated speed at which TB spreads in underdeveloped countries. There is also an alarming increase in cases of TB caused by multidrug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), due in part to inadequate drug therapy as a result of incorrectly selected medications or suboptimal drug dosing.3 Thus, there is a need for new drugs targeting enzymes essential to mycobacterial survival.
My lab is focusing on the inhibition of type II NADH-menaquinone dehydrogenase (ndh-2). By inhibiting ndh-2, the electron transport chain in Mtb becomes blocked and shuts down. Ndh-2 is the only NADH dehydrogenase enzyme expressed in Mtb and is thus vital to its survival.4 Ndh-2 is also found in a number of other bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus faecalis but is not expressed in humans.5 Humans rely only on type I NADH dehydrogenase (ndh-1) and thus minimal toxicity in humans is predicted with ndh-2 inhibitors.