TB Host genetics
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Division of Molecular Biology & Human Genetics


Tuberculosis Host Genetics


Functional Studies


Autophagy is a process that allows eukaryotic cells to generate nutrients under conditions of starvation by degrading damaged or obsolete organelles and proteins. In addition to this, autophagy has also been found to play a role in a number of physiological and pathophysiological processes which include regulation of the innate immune system where it aids in the clearance of intracellular pathogens such as Mtb.

Research has begun to focus on association between variations in genes encoding proteins involved in autophagy and increased susceptibility to TB. We are currently evaluating a number of autophagy-related genes for association with increased TB susceptibility in our large cohort of TB infected and control individuals.

While the identification of gene variants associated with increased susceptibility to TB is crucial, it is also important to understand the functional role these gene variants play in the disease progression. We aim to unravel the molecular determinants of impaired autophagy in TB infection. These studies include gene expression analysis of autophagy-related genes, protein-protein interaction analysis and live cell imaging using fluorescence and super resolution confocal microscopy.