Tuberculosis (TB) remains a major global public health concern. Approximately 2 million people die per year from TB, with South East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe showing the highest levels of new cases and deaths. South Africa is one of the countries with the highest number of TB cases per capita. Recent advances in TB research have shown that the global TB epidemic is caused by many different variants of the causative agent Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Furthermore, research suggests that the properties of the different types of M. tuberculosis may have changed. These new forms of M. tuberculosis may be able to spread more rapidly, cause more disease, evade the effects of vaccination or reinfect individuals who have had a previous episode of TB. However, despite these advances in our understanding, the mechanisms underlying these different forms of M. tuberculosis remain to be determined. In this study we aim to determine whether the different forms of M. tuberculosis are caused by dif ferences in the way proteins are modified. To our knowledge no study has been done to measure which of the M. tuberculosis proteins are modified and how this modification could change the proteins function. Furthermore it is not known whether the patter ns of modification will change during different growth phases, during nutrient starvation, during hypoxia, and whether these patterns of modification will differ between the different forms of M. tuberculosis. Changes in the patterns of protein modificat ion may provide novel insights into mechanisms regulating bacterial growth. Such information may enable the identification of pathways regulating latent infection, pathogenicity and virulence. These modified proteins will be important targets for the de signs of novel anti-tuberculosis drugs and may be candidates for the design of new anti-tuberculosis vaccines.
S-AFRIKA-Program for forskningsamarbeid med Sør- Afrika