Cell: How Cord-Like Aggregates of Bacteria Lead to Tuberculosis Infections

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Researchers from the Histology, BioElectron Microscopy, Gene Expression, and BioImaging and Optics Platform Core Facilities at EPFL found that the formation of snake-like cords after being infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) exert crucial mechanical forces on host cells, compressing cell nuclei, which affects the body’s immune response and cellular connections within lung alveoli. These cords maintain their structural integrity as the illness progresses which increases their tolerance to antibiotics, even with higher doses. These findings propose new opportunities for understanding Mtb pathogenesis, which can improve the development of biosystems and challenge the traditional view of individual bacterial cells as the primary agents of infection.

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