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  • Michael D. Lundrigan, PhD

    lundreganm.jpgAssociate Professor
    Phone: (601) 984-1711

    PhD, University of Texas

    View CV

    Primary research interests

    • Microbial genetics and physiology

    Primary organism of interest

    • Mycobacterium tuberculosis

    Targets for new drug design and vaccine development against TB

    Tuberculosis has been recognized as a serious human disease for centuries and although this disease has been intensively studied it remains a major cause of death and morbidity in the world. Because of the emergence of drug resistance strains there is a continual need for new antitubercular agents, and toward that end, new drug targets. Respiratory cytochrome terminal oxidases could serve as novel drug targets for antimicrobials. This particular avenue of drug targeting has not been explored. Also, another goal is to obtain Mycobacterium tuberculosis terminal oxidase mutant strains that are attenuated in virulence and thus could serve as a basis for vaccine development.

    Iron acquisition in Mycobacterium spp

    The process of bacterial acquisition of the essential metal iron by intracellular pathogens is one of the potential drug target sites for antimicrobial chemotherapy. Genes involved in iron acquisition by the saprophytic Mycobacterium smegmatis were identified, cloned and sequenced. A transporter was identified that is involved in both the export and synthesis of an iron acquisition molecule (i.e., a “siderophore” or iron chelating molecule), perhaps by forming a complex with other biosynthetic enzymes (also identified by us). This was the first siderophore export system ever described.

    We have also identified genes, not been previously known, to be involved in biosynthesis of a second siderophore identical to the one made by TB. Characterization of these genes will complete the model of how this second siderophore is made and the role of iron acquisition in infection by M. tuberculosis.