Protein Profiling of a Lung Infection in a 500-Year-Old Mummy

Mycobacterium tuberculosis Bacteria, the Cause of TB Scanning electron micrograph of Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria, which cause TB. Credit: NIAIDI am fascinated by all the ways that scientists are taking sensitive techniques and using them to look into our past. For example, scientists constructed the entire genome of Yersinia pestis, the caustive agent of the Black Death, from teeth and bone samples of plague victims from the 14th century. Without methods like polymerase chain reaction (PCR), such an analysis could not be performed. My fellow blogger Terri discussed how a postmortem autopsy of Ozti, a mummy found in the Alps, used modern techniques to learn not only what color his eyes were but that he suffered from Lyme disease. In a recent PLOS ONE article, Corthals et al. took this analysis of preserved human remains further to determine if a mummy from the Andes in Argentina may have suffered from an active lung infection, testing for an immune response by protein profiling. Continue reading “Protein Profiling of a Lung Infection in a 500-Year-Old Mummy”