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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2006 Feb;9(1):76-85. Epub 2006 Jan 9.

Interaction of pathogenic mycobacteria with the host immune system.

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  • 1Biozentrum, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 70, 4056 Basel, Switzerland.


Pathogenic mycobacteria, in particular Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis, have the remarkable capacity to circumvent destruction within one of the most hostile cell types of a vertebrate host: the macrophage. The ability of pathogenic mycobacteria to survive inside macrophages has been known for more than 30 years; yet, only recently have advances in molecular genetics, biochemistry, immunology, as well as global analysis of gene expression, started to unravel the strategies utilized by these pathogens for intracellular persistence. In addition, the definition of key molecules that are important for intracellular survival opens the possibility to develop new drugs to combat mycobacterial diseases.

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