Hyungjin Eoh, D.V.M., Ph.D

Hyungjin Eoh, D.V.M., Ph.D

Institution: University of Southern California

Project: Drug resistance of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is enhanced by the trehalose metabolism remodeling

Grant(s): Innovation Award

Despite effective treatment methods, tuberculosis (TB) kills more people than any other infectious disease. TB is difficult to treat because of a small fraction of M. tuberculosis (Mtb) bacteria variant, called persisters, that surviveeven after antibiotic treatment. Persisters are vulnerable to DNA mutations, which can often lead to drug-resistant (DR) mutations. Thus, the eradication of Mtb persisters and subsequent DR-TB infection is extremely difficult. Recently, we showed that Mtb persisters stopped consuming external nutrients and energy synthesis in favor of using a preexisting simple sugar compound called trehalose. This internal trehalose consumption allows Mtb persisters to maintain their metabolism to neutralize antibiotic effects. We will study whether this internal trehalose consumption is a metabolic effort essential for both persister formation and DR-TB viability. The outcome of this research will improve existing DR-TB treatment methods.

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