Evasion of innate and adaptive immunity by Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Michael F. Goldberg, Neeraj K. Saini, Steven A. Porcelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Through thousands of years of reciprocal coevolution, Mycobacterium tuberculosis has become one of humanity's most successful pathogens, acquiring the ability to establish latent or progressive infection and persist even in the presence of a fully functioning immune system. The ability of M. tuberculosis to avoid immune-mediated clearance is likely to reflect a highly evolved and coordinated program of immune evasion strategies that interfere with both innate and adaptive immunity. These include the manipulation of their phagosomal environment within host macrophages, the selective avoidance or engagement of pattern recognition receptors, modulation of host cytokine production, and themanipulation of antigen presentation to prevent or alter the quality of T-cell responses. In this article we review an extensive array of published studies that have begun to unravel the sophisticated program of specific mechanisms that enable M. tuberculosis and other pathogenic mycobacteria to persist and replicate in the face of considerable immunological pressure from their hosts. Unraveling the mechanisms by which M. tuberculosis evades or modulates host immune function is likely to be of major importance for the development of more effective new vaccines and targeted immunotherapy against tuberculosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberMGM2-0005-2013
JournalMicrobiology Spectrum
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Ecology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology
  • Infectious Diseases


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