SysteMTb - Systems biology of Mycobacterium tuberculosis

The SysteMTb project aims at providing a rational framework to understand mycobacterial physiology during infection and to identify essential nodes that are optimal for effective therapeutic interventions.


Tuberculosis (Tb) is a re-emerging global health threat caused by Mycobacterium Tuberculosis (MTb). One third of the world’s population is infected with MTb; and new infections occur at a rate of one per second. Despite global research efforts, mechanisms underlying pathogenesis, virulence and persistence of MTb infection remain poorly understood.

MTb infection is best described as an equilibrium involving a balance of activation and suppression of host responses, orchestrated by a complex and dynamic series of interactions between multiple host and bacterial components. Simple reductionist approaches are insufficient to understand this complex biology. The core strategy underlying the SysteMTb project is that a systems biology approach intertwining experimentally-driven model development and model-driven experimentation will provide improvement in understanding this threatening bacterium and will be pivotal in designing rational strategies for preventive and therapeutic interventions. This entails the progressive elucidation and thorough analysis of the structural scaffolds and cellular wiring of MTb through the measurement of its global responses (metabolomics, lipidomics, proteomics, transcriptomics, glycomics) upon perturbations (chemical challenges, knock-out/knock-down mutants, etc.) which are relevant for infection, more specifically macrophage infection.


The grand goal of the SysteMTb project is to establish a Systems Biology framework to understand key features of MTb and its interactions with the host which in turn will provide new insights and a solid (model based) knowledge for the development of novel and cost-effective strategies to combat tuberculosis. The workflow will be structured along three main objectives in four sub-projects (SP).

Overall SysteMTb will produce for the first time an almost complete Systems Biology analysis of a microorganism under the same set of standard conditions.

More information

For more information please visit the website SysteMTb.