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Curr Opin Immunol. 2004 Aug;16(4):499-505.

New models for the study of Mycobacterium-host interactions.

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Department of Microbiology, Box 357242, 1959 Pacific Street, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.

Erratum in

  • Curr Opin Immunol. 2005 Feb;17(1):95. Ramakrishan, Lalita [corrected to Ramakrishnan, Lalita].


The outcome of Mycobacterium infection is determined by a series of complex interactions between the bacteria and host immunity. Traditionally, mammalian models and cultured cells have been used to study these interactions. Recently, ameba (Dictyostelium), fruit flies (Drosophila) and zebrafish, amenable to forward genetic screens, have been developed as models for mycobacterial pathogenesis. Infection of these hosts with mycobacteria has allowed the dissection of intracellular trafficking pathways (Dictyostelium) and the roles of phagocytic versus antimicrobial peptide responses (Drosophila). Real-time visualization of the optically transparent zebrafish embryo/larva has elucidated mechanisms by which Mycobacterium-infected leukocytes migrate and subsequently aggregate into granulomas, the hallmark pathological structures of tuberculosis.

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