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Researchers develop new method and strain of bacteria to study TB

| Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Notre Dame researchers have developed a new strain of Tuberculosis (TB) as well as a new method to study the disease in an effort to increase the global health community’s understanding of the disease, according to a University press release.

The National Institutes of Health funded the study in which Notre Dame researchers improved upon analytical techniques that measured the mass of proteins. Before their efforts, the proteins were unsuitable with current analytical methods. After this study, scientists were able to study the functions of the EsxA protein more thoroughly.

Matthew Champion, research associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics Facility in McCourtney Hall, and Patricia Champion, associate professor of biological sciences, improved the analysis of the EsxA protein along with their research team. The bacteria mycobacterium tuberculosis causes TB and secretes the EsxA protein, a key protein enabling the bacterium to cause disease, Matthew Champion said.

The study attempted to support the scientific community’s efforts to block the secretion of the EsxA protein which would then mitigate a TB infection and reduce the need for the bacterium to develop a resistance to antibiotics.

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