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Biochemical Society transactions

Structure, function and biosynthesis of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis cell wall: arabinogalactan and lipoarabinomannan assembly with a view to discovering new drug targets.


PMID 17956343

Abstract

In spite of effective antibiotics to treat TB (tuberculosis) since the early 1960s, we enter the new millennium with TB, currently the leading cause of death from a single infectious agent, killing more than three million people worldwide each year. Thus an understanding of drug-resistance mechanisms, the immunobiology of cell wall components to elucidate host-pathogen interactions and the discovery of new drug targets are now required for the treatment of TB. Above the plasma membrane is a classical chemotype IV PG (peptidoglycan) to which is attached the macromolecular structure, mycolyl-arabinogalactan, via a unique diglycosylphosphoryl bridge. This review will discuss the assembly of the mAGP (mycolyl-arabinogalactan-peptidoglycan), its associated glycolipids and the site of action of EMB (ethambutol), bringing forward a new era in TB research and focus on new drugs to combat multidrug resistant TB.