Research ArticleTuberculosis

Rapid and specific labeling of single live Mycobacterium tuberculosis with a dual-targeting fluorogenic probe

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Science Translational Medicine  15 Aug 2018:
Vol. 10, Issue 454, eaar4470
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aar4470

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Tracking tuberculosis

Tuberculosis, a bacterial infection of the lungs, continues to plague countries worldwide. Cheng et al. developed an imaging probe specific for Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The probe fluoresces upon activation by an enzyme in the bacteria, and fluorescence is retained by modification of a second bacterial enzyme required for formation of the bacterial cell wall. The probe could identify single live tuberculosis bacteria from nontuberculosis bacteria and dead bacteria, and was compatible with patient sputum samples. The authors also developed a microfluidic chip to aid in automating live tuberculosis bacterial counts from sputum samples. This probe and chip platform could aid in drug testing and diagnosis.