Tuberculosis genes expressed during persistence and reactivation in the resistant rabbit model

Tuberculosis (Edinb). 2009 Jan;89(1):17-21. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2008 Oct 23.


As previously published, after aerosol infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv, New Zealand white rabbits established infection with active bacillary replication, but later contained disease to a paucibacillary state through an effective adaptive response consistent with latency. Despite the heterogeneity among outbred rabbits, the resistant response was uniform. Immunosuppression resulted in reactivation with increased lung bacillary burden. Using this rabbit model, we isolated bacillary RNA from infected rabbit lungs and assessed transcriptional profiles of bacillary genes using RT-PCR to examine genes differentially regulated during active replication, persistence, steroid-induced reactivation, and post-steroid immune reconstitution. Genes involved in hypoxia response (fdxA), resuscitation promoting factors (rpfB), and DNA repair pathways (Rv2191) may be important in bacillary persistence. Further investigation into these gene pathways is warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dexamethasone / therapeutic use
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial / genetics*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Lung / microbiology*
  • Models, Animal
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / genetics*
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / metabolism
  • Rabbits
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis / genetics*
  • Tuberculosis / immunology


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Dexamethasone