It is the disappearance of a glycolipid from the bacterial cell envelope during evolution that may have considerably increased the virulence of tuberculosis bacilli in humans. Scientists have shown that this disappearance modified the surface properties of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, favoring its aggregation in "cords" and increasing its pathogenicity. These findings, which enable a better understanding of the mechanisms linked to the evolution and emergence of tuberculosis bacilli, constitute a major advance in our knowledge on this disease.
- Institut Pasteur
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