This video describes using bioluminescently-labelled microbes to rapidly and non-invasively screen for antimicrobial compounds. While this technology is routinely used for other microbes, we have only recently developed the technique for use in TB research. As members of the Imaging TB Consortium* coordinated by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/), and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, TB Drug Accelerator Program (2008-2012), myself (University of Auckland) and my colleagues (in particular, Dr Nuria Andreu & Dr Brian Robertson, Imperial College London) developed bioluminescent mycobacteria (published in the journal PLoSOne) useful for rapid anti-TB drug screening. Our constructs (available through the not-for-profit repository Addgene) and assays are now being used by both academic and commercial TB drug discovery groups. Our collaborators led by Tanya Parish (Queen Mary University of London) are using fluorescently-labelled bacteria to achieve a similar aim.
*Imaging TB Consortium members: Ulrich Schaible [Forschungszentrum Borstel]; Andrea Zelmer, Theresa Ward and Gregory J. Bancroft [London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine]; Paul Carroll, Lise Schreuder Julian Muwanguzi-Karugaba and Tanya Parish [Queen Mary University of London]; Jorge Ripoll [Institute of Electronic Structure and Laser, Heraklion]; Nuria Andreu, Taryn Fletcher, Siouxsie Wiles and Brian Robertson [Imperial College London].