In vitro gene expression dissected: Chemostat surgery for Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Brian W. James, Joanna Bacon, Tobias Hampshire, Kim Morley, Phillip Marsh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


A unique approach, combining defined and reproducible in vitro models with DNA microarrays, has been developed to study environmental modulation of mycobacterial gene expression. The gene expression profiles of samples of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, from independent chemostat cultures grown under defined and reproducible conditions, were found to be highly correlated. This approach is now being used to study the effect of relevant stimuli, such as limited oxygen availability, on mycobacterial gene expression. A modification of the chemostat culture system, enabling large-volume controlled batch culture, has been developed to study starvation survival. Cultures of M. tuberculosis have been maintained under nutrient-starved conditions for extended periods, with 106-107 bacilli surviving in a culturable state after 100 days. The design of the culture system has made it possible to control the environment and collect multiple time-course samples to study patterns of gene expression. These studies demonstrate that it is possible to perform long-term studies and obtain reproducible expression data using controlled and defined in vitro models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-347
Number of pages3
JournalComparative and Functional Genomics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2002


  • Chemostat culture
  • Gene expression
  • Latency
  • Microarray
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis


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