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Ethambutol has long been part of the standard therapy for tuberculosis. MArc Bramkamp and his team now describe how the antibiotic acts on the bacterium that causes the disease: It specifically inhibits growth of the cell wall from the cell poles.


Excerpt from LMU press release of February 7, 2017:

Lock-out on the building site

Tuberculosis, which is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, remains one of the ten most frequent causes of premature death worldwide. Every year, approximately 1.5 million people succumb to the bacterial infection, which primarily affects the lungs. Effective treatment of tuberculosis requires adherence to a demanding therapeutic regime over a long period. Thus patients must regularly take a combination of as many as four antibiotics for up to four months. One of these first-line drugs is ethambutol. Although the compound has been in use for many years, the mechanism underlying its effects on mycobacterial growth has remained unclear. Now a research team led by Marc Bramkamp has carried out a detailed investigation of the drug’s mode of action, using super-resolution microscopy to visualize the impact of the antibiotic on cells. mBio 2017

LMU press release