Epigallocatechin gallate can inhibit the growth of a tuberculosis-causing bacteria strain
An antioxidant found in the green tea plant could become key to tackling tuberculosis one day, a team of international scientists led by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has found.
Through laboratory investigations, the team led by NTU Professor Gerhard Grüber discovered how the prominent compound, known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), can inhibit the growth of a tuberculosis-causing bacteria strain.
The EGCG does so by binding to an enzyme that provides biological energy for cellular activity. The process results in a dip in the amount of energy the bacteria has for its cellular processes vital for growth and stability, such as cell wall formation.
The team, which includes NTU Associate Professor Roderick Bates, National University of Singapore (NUS) Professor Thomas Dick, and collaborators from the US and New Zealand, also identified the exact sites on the enzyme at which the EGCG needs to bind to in order to affect energy production in the bacterial cell.
These findings could pave the way for the creation of novel drugs to combat tuberculosis, one of the most deadly infectious diseases in the world.
The NTU-led team is now looking at optimising the activity of EGCG for increased efficiency and potency in fighting the tuberculosis bacteria. Their ultimate goal is to develop a drug cocktail that will tackle multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.