Terpene Nucleosides as Specific Diagnostic Markers of Tuberculosis

March 20, 2015

David Young and a team within Branch Moody’s lab at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital together with collaborators at the KwaZulu-Nata Research Institute for Tuberculosis & HIV in South Africa recently established a structure of the previously unknown molecule, N6-tuberculosinyladenosine (N6-TbAd), yielded from an in vivo biotransformed 1-TbAd molecule. 

In the paper recently accepted at Chemistry and Biology, the group demonstrates that this recently identified compound, 1-tuberculosinyladenosine (1-TbAd), accumulates to comprise greater than 1 percent of all Mycobacterium tuberculosis lipids.  These intact biosynthetic genes, observed only within the MTB complex bacteria, are not detected among other medically important pathogens, environmental bacterial and vaccine strains.  With no substantially similar known molecules in nature, the discovery and in vivo detection these two terpene nucleosides support their development as specific diagnostic markers of tuberculosis infection.