The team "Molecular Mycobacterial Pathogenesis", led by Dr. Christophe Guilhot has received an "Equipe FRM 2022" grant to explore the molecular link between persistence in vivo and drug tolerance in tuberculosis bacilli and related mycobacterial pathogens.
Tuberculosis (TB) remains a major public health problem worldwide, killing around 1.5 million people annually. Related bacterial species, such as Mycobacterium abscessus, are also responsible for severe complication in patients with comorbidities such as cystic fibrosis. Persistence of these infection and lengthy antibiotic treatment are the hallmarks of these infections. These features are explained by the unique capacity of these pathogens to survive antibiotic treatment for a while (a phenomenon called antibiotic tolerance) and to resist the immune response to persist within the host.
Dr. Guilhot's preliminary results and others suggest a molecular link between these two phenomenons. However, studies that bridge these two areas of research are still missing. Here, Dr. Guilhot proposes to address this gap and to explore functions and adaptations that favor both antibiotic tolerance and resistance to the host immune response in TB bacilli and Mycobacterium abscessus.
This work should provide both a basic understanding of the emergence and evolution of bacterial pathogens responsible for deadly chronic infection in humans and an evaluation of novel therapeutic strategies.