New compounds in works for tuberculosis

There's new evidence to support the theory that the enzyme protein kinase G offers a promising target in the fight against tuberculosis. The enzyme is secreted by the microbe that triggers TB and is believed to provide essential protection for the bug from the host's immune system, which tracks down and kills most pathogens. Scientists say they have a compound that can block the protein, but were worried about interfering with the action of other proteins also secreted by the microbe. Using X-ray crystallography, the researchers were able to pinpoint the exact method of inhibition and determined that it was unique to that one protein.

"Since we now know exactly what the requirements should be for a good blocker and how to avoid interference with host kinases, we should now be able to rationally design compounds that are highly effective against PknG," said lead author Jean Pieters, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Basle in Switzerland.

- read the report on the TB research from AFP