Tuberculosis, an ancient disease of mankind, remains one of the major infectious causes of human death. We examine newly discovered facets of tuberculosis pathogenesis and explore the evolution of its causative organism Mycobacterium tuberculosis from soil dweller to human pathogen. M. tuberculosis has coevolved with the human host to evade and exploit host macrophages and other immune cells in multiple ways. Though the host can often clear infection, the organism can cause transmissible disease in enough individuals to sustain itself. Tuberculosis is a near-perfect paradigm of a host-pathogen relationship, and that may be the challenge to the development of new therapies for its eradication.
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