Microbe Profile: Mycobacterium tuberculosis: Humanity's deadly microbial foe

Microbiology (Reading). 2018 Apr;164(4):437-439. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.000601. Epub 2018 Feb 21.


Mycobacterium tuberculosis is an expert and deadly pathogen, causing the disease tuberculosis (TB) in humans. It has several notable features: the ability to enter non-replicating states for long periods and cause latent infection; metabolic remodelling during chronic infection; a thick, waxy cell wall; slow growth rate in culture; and intrinsic drug resistance and antibiotic tolerance. As a pathogen, M. tuberculosis has a complex relationship with its host, is able to replicate inside macrophages, and expresses diverse immunomodulatory molecules. M. tuberculosis currently causes over 1.8 million deaths a year, making it the world's most deadly human pathogen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / biosynthesis
  • Macrophages / microbiology
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / classification
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / pathogenicity
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / physiology*
  • Tuberculosis / immunology
  • Tuberculosis / microbiology*


  • Immunologic Factors