Detection of mycobacterial siderophores and implications for diagnostics
Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is a pervasive human pathogen that continues to kill 1.8 million people every year. Acquisition of iron within the host is vital to the pathogenicity of Mtb and to accomplish this it produces siderophores called mycobactins and carboxymycobactins. This dissertation has sought to build a simple assay for detection and quantification of mycobacterial siderophores that has potential applications in tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis. This assay has been tested and was successfully able to detect mycobactin spiked into a biological specimen. Furthermore, the theoretical level of mycobactin production that occurs in the lungs of infected patients was estimated. Samples were obtained from infected animal models of TB and human patients and tested for presence of mycobactin and carboxymycobactin. These data provided information regarding the potential use of siderophores as diagnostic biomarkers for TB.