Pharmaceutical Research

, 36:8 | Cite as

Mycobacterium Tuberculosis and Interactions with the Host Immune System: Opportunities for Nanoparticle Based Immunotherapeutics and Vaccines

  • Raymonde B. Bekale
  • Su-Mari Du Plessis
  • Nai-Jen Hsu
  • Jyoti R. Sharma
  • Samantha L. Sampson
  • Muazzam Jacobs
  • Mervin Meyer
  • Gene D. Morse
  • Admire DubeEmail author
Expert Review
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Nanomedicine for Infectious Diseases


Tuberculosis (TB) caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis remains a deadly infectious disease. The thin pipeline of new drugs for TB, the ineffectiveness in adults of the only vaccine available, i.e. the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin vaccine, and increasing global antimicrobial resistance, has reinvigorated interest in immunotherapies. Nanoparticles (NPs) potentiate the effect of immune modulating compounds (IMC), enabling cell targeting, improved transfection of antigens, enhanced compound stability and provide opportunities for synergistic action, via delivery of multiple IMCs. In this review we describe work performed in the application of NPs towards achieving immune modulation for TB treatment and vaccination. Firstly, we present a comprehensive review of M. tuberculosis and how the bacterium modulates the host immune system. We find that current work suggest great promise of NP based immunotherapeutics as novel treatments and vaccination systems. There is need to intensify research efforts in this field, and rationally design novel NP immunotherapeutics based on current knowledge of the mycobacteriology and immune escape mechanisms employed by M. tuberculosis.


immunotherapeutic nanoparticles immunotherapy for tuberculosis Mycobacterium tuberculosis nanoparticle based host directed therapy nanoparticles and vaccination 



Arachidonic acid




Antigen presenting cells


Bacillus Calmette-Guerin




C-type lectin receptors


Core vacuole/endosome tether


Dendritic cells


Early endosomal antigen 1


Endoplasmic reticulum


Heparin binding hemagglutinin adhesion protein


Human immunodeficiency virus


Immune modulating compounds




Lysosome-associated membrane proteins


Lysobisphosphatidic acid




Latent tuberculosis infection




Mycolic acids


Multi-drug resistant tuberculosis


Major histocompatibility complex




Nod-like receptors




Non-replicating persistent


Phosphatidic acid


Pathogen associated molecular patterns




Phosphatidylinositol 5-phosphate


Phosphatidylinositol mannoside


Phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate




Pattern recognition receptors




Protein tyrosine phosphatase




Reactive oxygen and nitrogen species




Sphingosine kinase




Totally-drug resistant tuberculosis


Toll-like receptors


Vacuolar Protein Sorting 33B


World Health Organization


Extensively-drug resistant


Extensively-drug resistant tuberculosis



Research reported in this publication was supported by the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number K43TW010371-01A1 granted to AD. SLS is funded by the South African Research Chairs Initiative of the Department of Science and Technology and National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa, award number UID 86539. The authors acknowledge the SA MRC Centre for TB Research and DST/NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Tuberculosis Research for financial support for this work. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health, the SA MRC or the NRF. The authors wish to acknowledge Ms. Aaliya Tayob and Dr. Hanri Calitz for sketching figures in this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raymonde B. Bekale
    • 1
  • Su-Mari Du Plessis
    • 2
  • Nai-Jen Hsu
    • 3
  • Jyoti R. Sharma
    • 4
  • Samantha L. Sampson
    • 2
  • Muazzam Jacobs
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Mervin Meyer
    • 6
  • Gene D. Morse
    • 7
  • Admire Dube
    • 1
    Email author return OK on get
  1. 1.Discipline of Pharmaceutics, School of PharmacyUniversity of the Western CapeCape TownSouth Africa
  2. 2.NRF-DST Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Tuberculosis Research, South African Medical Research Council Centre for Tuberculosis Research, Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesStellenbosch UniversityCape TownSouth Africa
  3. 3.Division of Immunology, Department of Pathology, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa
  4. 4.National Health Laboratory ServiceJohannesburgSouth Africa
  5. 5.Immunology of Infectious Disease Research UnitSouth African Medical Research CouncilCape TownSouth Africa
  6. 6.DST/Mintek Nanotechnology Innovation Centre (NIC), Biolabels Unit, Department of BiotechnologyUniversity of the Western Cape (UWC)Cape TownSouth Africa
  7. 7.AIDS Clinical Trials Group Pharmacology Specialty Laboratory, New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical SciencesUniversity at BuffaloBuffaloUSA

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