MHF TOP PICKS FOR JANUARY
Every month, we at the Mueller Health Foundation like to showcase interesting news and updates in the field of tuberculosis. Below are our top 3 picks for January:
- Genome Assembly Tool Could Spur the Development of New Treatments for Tuberculosis
Researchers have developed a novel genome assembly tool that could
spur the development of new treatments for tuberculosis and other
bacterial infections. The new tool, which to date has created an improved
genome map of one tuberculosis strain called H37Rv, could also be used
for other TB strains as well as other types of bacteria. This new pipeline
tool, dubbed Bact-Builder, combines common open-source genome
assembly programs into a novel and easy-to-use tool which is freely
available on GitHub. Having an easy way to sequence all TB strains
accurately is even more important, because strain comparison could
provide more insight into why some strains are more contagious than
others or why some are more difficult to cure. These findings in turn can
then inform improved and more tailored treatment options for patients.
To learn more about the research, you can access the full paper at:
- Study Find that Immune-evading Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Prevents Inflammatory Responses by Hijacking the Host’s Ubiquitin
A recently published article by the Chinese Academy of Sciences in
Beijing revealed that triple specificity protein phosphatase (ptpB)
secreted by Mycobacterium tuberculosis inhibits pyroptosis and the
release of cytokines by macrophages, allowing M. tuberculosis to invade
the immune system. Overall, the results from the study revealed that the
effector protein ptpB secreted by M. tuberculosis binds to ubiquitin in
host cells and dephosphorylates phosphatidylinositols, inhibiting the
cleavage of the N-terminal of gasdermin D. This prevents pyroptosis and
the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines, allowing M. tuberculosis to
escape the host’s immune system. The findings of the study can help to
shed light on the mechanisms through which immune-evading
tuberculosis might be infecting the host. To learn more, you can read the
DID YOU KNOW?
In the foothills of South Mountain Park located near Phoenix, Arizona a structure called the “Mystery Castle” was built in the 1930s and still exists today. The castle was built by Boyce Luther Gulley for his daughter Mary Lou Gulley.
After learning he had tuberculosis, Gulley moved from Seattle to the Phoenix area. Knowing he would ultimately succumb to the disease, Gulley wanted to build the castle as a way to be remembered by his family. Shortly after arriving in Phoenix, he began building the castle from found or inexpensive materials.
The castle is said to be held together by a combination of mortar, cement, calcium, and goat milk. The sprawling 18-room, three story castle is also built from a wide range of materials – stone, adobe, automobile parts, salvaged rail tracks from a mine, telephone poles, and many other items. It features a chapel, cantina, and a dungeon.
Gulley passed away in 1945 and Mary Lou and her mother moved into the castle and soon started offering tours of the unique building. Although parts of the castle remain unfinished, and electricity and plumbing were not added until 1992, Mary Lou spent her entire life living in the castle. She passed away in 2010 and the castle is now maintained by the Mystery Castle Foundation and offers tours until this day.