Morita Awarded Grant to Study Vulnerability of TB Cell Wall

Morita Awarded Grant to Study Vulnerability of TB Cell Wall

September 14, 2016

Yasu Morita, microbiology, has been awarded a renewable $40,000 biomedical research grant from the American Lung Association for a project, “Cell wall biogenesis in Mycobacterium tuberculosis: towards identifying druggable cell envelope proteins.”

He explains, “Developing new TB drugs is particularly challenging because the bacteria that cause the disease have impermeable cell walls that block antibiotics. These cell walls contain a unique set of compounds categorized as glycolipids. Having shown that changing the structure of these glycolipids increases the antibiotic sensitivity of TB bacteria, our goal is to identify a protein involved in the production of glycolipids that can be targeted by new drugs. We have identified a novel protein, which is involved in this process. We will investigate whether this protein is essential for the growth of TB bacteria and if it is located within the surface of the cell wall, making it an ideal drug target.”