Trained immunity contributes to the prevention of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection, a novel role of autophagy

Jie Zhou, Jingzhu Lv, Chelsea Carlson, Hui Liu, Hongtao Wang, Tao Xu, Fengjiao Wu, Chuanwang Song, Xiaojing Wang, Ting Wang, Zhongqing Qian

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis) is the pathogen which causes tuberculosis (TB), a significant human public health threat. Co-infection of M. tuberculosis and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), emergence of drug resistant M. tuberculosis, and failure to develop highly effective TB vaccines have limited control of the TB epidemic. Trained immunity is an enhanced innate immune response which functions independently of the adaptive/acquired immune system and responds non-specifically to reinfection with invading agents. Recently, several studies have found trained immunity has the capability to control and eliminate M. tuberculosis infection. Over the past decades, however, the consensus was adaptive immunity is the only protective mechanism by which hosts inhibit M. tuberculosis growth. Furthermore, autophagy plays an essential role in the development of trained immunity. Further investigation of trained immunity, M. tuberculosis infection, and the role of autophagy in this process provide new possibilities for vaccine development. In this review, we present the general characteristics of trained immunity and autophagy. We additionally summarize several examples where initiation of trained immunity contributes to the prevention of M. tuberculosis infection and propose future directions for research in this area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)578-588
Number of pages11
JournalEmerging Microbes and Infections
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • autophagy
  • epigenetic reprogramming
  • mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • trained immunity
  • vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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