Optical in vivo imaging in tuberculosis research

Riti Sharan, Thushara Galbadage, Panatda Saenkham, Madeleine Moule, Preeti Sule, Ying Kong*, Jeffrey D. Cirillo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Tuberculosis remains one of the greatest challenges to global health, making the development of novel diagnostics and therapeutics for tuberculosis a high priority. However, the unique cause, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, demonstrates a number of characteristics that have hindered progress in tuberculosis research. These challenges include an unusually slow growth rate that makes traditional microbiological methods time consuming, a unique glycolipid-rich cell wall that causes bacterial aggregation and complicates enumeration of bacterial loads, and a highly variable disease progression including both acute and chronic stages of infection that can complicate in vivo studies due to variation between infected animals. One strategy that has proven to be remarkably successful in overcoming these challenges is the application of in vivo optical imaging to the study of M. tuberculosis. This approach allows the progress of an infection to be followed in individual animals over time, enabling researchers to better understand this important pathogen and assay new vaccines, treatments, and diagnostic tests more accurately. In this chapter, we discuss the techniques and tools that have been developed to facilitate application of bioluminescent and fluorescent in vivo imaging to tuberculosis research. We also summarize the progress and potential contributions of real-time imaging to the tuberculosis field. Based on recent progress, optical imaging has the potential to transform the field, leading to more rapid discovery of therapeutics, vaccines and mechanisms of pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTuberculosis Host-Pathogen Interactions
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
Number of pages46
ISBN (Electronic)9783030253813
ISBN (Print)9783030253806
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sep 2019


  • animal models
  • bacterial bioluminescence
  • bioluminescence substrates
  • codon-optimization
  • eukaryotic bioluminescence
  • fluorescent proteins
  • optical imaging
  • reporter enzyme fluorescence
  • tuberculosis


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