Interaction of Mycobacterium tuberculosis with the host: consequences for vaccine development

APMIS. 2009 May;117(5-6):440-57. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0463.2009.02458.x.


Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB), remains a major worldwide health problem that causes more than 2 million deaths annually. In addition, an estimated 2 billion people are latently infected with M. tuberculosis. The bacterium is one of the oldest human pathogens and has evolved complex strategies for survival. Therefore, to be successful in the high endemic regions, any future TB vaccine strategy will have to be tailored in accordance with the resulting complexity of the TB infection and anti-mycobacterial immune response. In this review, we will discuss what is presently known about the interaction of M. tuberculosis with the immune system, and how this knowledge is used in new and more advanced vaccine strategies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Apoptosis
  • BCG Vaccine / immunology
  • Clinical Trials, Phase II as Topic
  • Drug Design
  • Global Health
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / physiology
  • Interleukins / physiology
  • Macrophage Activation
  • Macrophages / microbiology
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / immunology*
  • Phagocytosis
  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition / physiology
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis / epidemiology
  • Tuberculosis / immunology
  • Tuberculosis / microbiology*
  • Tuberculosis / prevention & control
  • Tuberculosis Vaccines / immunology*
  • Vaccines, Subunit / immunology
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / immunology


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • BCG Vaccine
  • Interleukins
  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition
  • Tuberculosis Vaccines
  • Vaccines, Subunit
  • Vaccines, Synthetic
  • Interferon-gamma