Mycobacterial cell wall: A source of successful targets for old and new drugs

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40 Scopus citations


Eighty years after the introduction of the first antituberculosis (TB) drug, the treatment of drug-susceptible TB remains very cumbersome, requiring the use of four drugs (isoniazid, rifampicin, ethambutol and pyrazinamide) for two months followed by four months on isoniazid and rifampicin. Two of the drugs used in this "short"-course, six-month chemotherapy, isoniazid and ethambutol, target the mycobacterial cell wall. Disruption of the cell wall structure can enhance the entry of other TB drugs, resulting in a more potent chemotherapy. More importantly, inhibition of cell wall components can lead to mycobacterial cell death. The complexity of the mycobacterial cell wall offers numerous opportunities to develop drugs to eradicate Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of TB. In the past 20 years, researchers from industrial and academic laboratories have tested new molecules to find the best candidates that will change the face of TB treatment: drugs that will shorten TB treatment and be efficacious against active and latent, as well as drug-resistant TB. Two of these new TB drugs block components of the mycobacterial cell wall and have reached phase 3 clinical trial. This article reviews TB drugs targeting the mycobacterial cell wall in use clinically and those in clinical development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2278
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Discovery
  • Drug resistance
  • Mode of action
  • Target
  • Toxicity
  • Tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Instrumentation
  • General Engineering
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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