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Crit Rev Eukaryot Gene Expr. 2011;21(4):337-45.

New insights into the pathogenesis of tuberculosis revealed by Mycobacterium marinum: the zebrafish model from the systems biology perspective.

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Institute of Modern Biopharmaceuticals, State Key Laboratory Breeding Base of Eco-Enviroment and Bio-Resource of the Three Gorges Area, School of Life Sciences, Southwest University, Beibei, Chongqing, China.


Tuberculosis remains a worldwide health concern, largely due to the emergence of multi-drug-resistant (MDR) and extensive-drug-resistant (XDR) Mycobacterium tuberculosis co-infection with HIV. The exact mechanism of Mycobacterium virulence, pathogenesis, and persistence is not fully understood. The hallmark of tuberculosis, granulomas are promoted by Mycobacterium virulence factors, and they have long been considered a structural advantage to the host. However, this traditional view has been challenged recently, largely due to the evidence originating from the M. marinum-zebrafish model. As a genetically tractable model, zebrafish provide unprecedented opportunities to address the pathogenesis of tuberculosis from a systems biology perspective. The latest data from this model are summarized in this review, special attention is given to the shared pathway and network between zebrafish and humans. This research serves to deepen our understanding of this complex process and to promote the discovery of better countermeasures against tuberculosis.

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