Dr Khushboo Borah Slater B.Tech, DPhil

Research Fellow B
Bachelor of Technology (engineering), DPhil University of Oxford


Areas of specialism

Gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and Liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS); Metabolomics; Tuberculosis; Leprosy; 13C Metabolic Flux Analysis; Oxysterol metabolism; 13C, 15N, 2H isotopic labelling analysis

University roles and responsibilities

  • Vice Chair Doctoral College Conference 2021

    My qualifications

    Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) Biotechnology
    Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati India
    DPhil (Doctor of Philosophy) Plant Sciences
    University of Oxford
    Fellow of HEA
    University of Surrey


    Research interests

    Research projects


    Postgraduate research supervision



    • One-shot 13C15N-metabolic flux analysis for simultaneous quantification of carbon and nitrogen flux. Molecular Systems Biology, 2023
    • Metabolic Flux Analysis and Constraint based modelling to reveal metabolic control in rhizobia. Science Advances 2021
    • Metabolic fluxes for nutritional flexibility of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Molecular Systems Biology 2021
    • Immune cell metabolism: Oxysterol metabolism is compartment specific. Redox Biology 2020
    • Tuberculosis: Mycobacterium tuberculosis uses multiple host nitrogen sources. Cell Reports 2019
    • Leprosy: Mycobacterium leprae uses host cell glucose as a carbon source. mBio 2019
    Irundika Hk Dias, Khushboo Borah, Berivan Amin, Helen R Griffiths, Khouloud Sassi, Gérard Lizard, Ane Iriondo, Pablo Martinez-Lage (2019) Localisation of oxysterols at the sub-cellular level and in biological fluids

    Oxysterols are oxidized derivatives of cholesterol that are formed enzymatically or via reactive oxygen species or both. Cholesterol or oxysterols ingested as food are absorbed and packed into lipoproteins that are taken up by hepatic cells. Within hepatic cells, excess cholesterol is metabolised to form bile acids. The endoplasmic reticulum acts as the main organelle in the bile acid synthesis pathway. Metabolised sterols originating from this pathway are distributed within other organelles and in the cell membrane. The alterations to membrane oxysterol:sterol ratio affects the integrity of the cell membrane. The presence of oxysterols changes membrane fluidity and receptor orientation. It is well documented that hydroxylase enzymes located in mitochondria facilitate oxysterol production via an acidic pathway. More recently, the presence of oxysterols was also reported in lysosomes. Peroxisomal deficiencies favour intracellular oxysterols accumulation. Despite the low abundance of oxysterols compared to cholesterol, the biological actions of oxysterols are numerous and important. Oxysterol levels are implicated in the pathogenesis of multiple diseases ranging from chronic inflammatory diseases (atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's disease and bowel disease), cancer and numerous neurodegenerative diseases. In this article, we review the distribution of oxysterols in sub-cellular organelles and in biological fluids.

    Khushboo Borah, Martin Beyß, Axel Theorell, Huihai Wu, Piyali Basu, Tom A Mendum, Katharina Nӧh, Dany J V Beste, Johnjoe McFadden (2019) Intracellular Mycobacterium tuberculosis Exploits Multiple Host Nitrogen Sources during Growth in Human Macrophages

    Nitrogen metabolism of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is crucial for the survival of this important pathogen in its primary human host cell, the macrophage, but little is known about the source(s) and their assimilation within this intracellular niche. Here, we have developed 15N-flux spectral ratio analysis (15N-FSRA) to explore Mtb's nitrogen metabolism; we demonstrate that intracellular Mtb has access to multiple amino acids in the macrophage, including glutamate, glutamine, aspartate, alanine, glycine, and valine; and we identify glutamine as the predominant nitrogen donor. Each nitrogen source is uniquely assimilated into specific amino acid pools, indicating compartmentalized metabolism during intracellular growth. We have discovered that serine is not available to intracellular Mtb, and we show that a serine auxotroph is attenuated in macrophages. This work provides a systems-based tool for exploring the nitrogen metabolism of intracellular pathogens and highlights the enzyme phosphoserine transaminase as an attractive target for the development of novel anti-tuberculosis therapies.

    Khushboo Borah, Karina do Carmo de Vasconcelos Girardi, Tom A. Mendum, Leticia Miranda Santos Lery, Dany J. V. Beste, Flavio Alves Lara, Maria Cristina Vidal Pessolani, Johnjoe McFadden (2019) Intracellular Mycobacterium leprae Utilizes Host Glucose as a Carbon Source in Schwann Cellsdoi: 10.1128/mBio.02351-19

    New approaches are needed to control leprosy, but understanding of the biology of the causative agent Mycobacterium leprae remains rudimentary, principally because the pathogen cannot be grown in axenic culture. Here, we applied 13C isotopomer analysis to measure carbon metabolism of M. leprae in its primary host cell, the Schwann cell. We compared the results of this analysis with those of a related pathogen, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, growing in its primary host cell, the macrophage. Using 13C isotopomer analysis with glucose as the tracer, we show that whereas M. tuberculosis imports most of its amino acids directly from the host macrophage, M. leprae utilizes host glucose pools as the carbon source to biosynthesize the majority of its amino acids. Our analysis highlights the anaplerotic enzyme phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase required for this intracellular diet of M. leprae, identifying this enzyme as a potential antileprosy drug target.

    Khushboo Borah, Jacque-Lucca Kearney, Ruma Banerjee, Pankaj Vats, Huihai Wu, Sonal Dahale, Sunitha Manjari Kasibhatla, Rajendra Joshi, Bhushan Bonde, Olabisi Ojo, Ramanuj Lahiri, Diana L Williams, Johnjoe McFadden (2020) GSMN-ML- a genome scale metabolic network reconstruction of the obligate human pathogen Mycobacterium leprae

    Leprosy, caused by Mycobacterium leprae, has plagued humanity for thousands of years and continues to cause morbidity, disability and stigmatization in two to three million people today. Although effective treatment is available, the disease incidence has remained approximately constant for decades so new approaches, such as vaccine or new drugs, are urgently needed for control. Research is however hampered by the pathogen's obligate intracellular lifestyle and the fact that it has never been grown in vitro. Consequently, despite the availability of its complete genome sequence, fundamental questions regarding the biology of the pathogen, such as its metabolism, remain largely unexplored. In order to explore the metabolism of the leprosy bacillus with a long-term aim of developing a medium to grow the pathogen in vitro, we reconstructed an in silico genome scale metabolic model of the bacillus, GSMN-ML. The model was used to explore the growth and biomass production capabilities of the pathogen with a range of nutrient sources, such as amino acids, glucose, glycerol and metabolic intermediates. We also used the model to analyze RNA-seq data from M. leprae grown in mouse foot pads, and performed Differential Producibility Analysis to identify metabolic pathways that appear to be active during intracellular growth of the pathogen, which included pathways for central carbon metabolism, co-factor, lipids, amino acids, nucleotides and cell wall synthesis. The GSMN-ML model is thereby a useful in silico tool that can be used to explore the metabolism of the leprosy bacillus, analyze functional genomic experimental data, generate predictions of nutrients required for growth of the bacillus in vitro and identify novel drug targets.

    Khushboo Borah, Olivia J. Rickman, Nikol Voutsina, Isaac Ampong, Dan Gao, Emma L. Baple, Irundika HK. Dias Andrew H. Crosby, Helen R. Griffiths (2020) A quantitative LC-MS/MS method for analysis of mitochondrial -specific oxysterol metabolism

    Oxysterols are critical regulators of inflammation and cholesterol metabolism in cells. They are oxidation products of cholesterol and may be differentially metabolised in subcellular compartments and in biological fluids. New analytical methods are needed to improve our understanding of oxysterol trafficking and the molecular interplay between the cellular compartments required to maintain cholesterol/oxysterol homeostasis. Here we describe a method for isolation of oxysterols using solid phase extraction and quantification by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, applied to tissue, cells and mitochondria.

    We analysed five monohydroxysterols; 24(S)-hydroxycholesterol, 25-hydroxycholesterol, 27-hydroxycholesterol, 7α-hydroxycholesterol, 7 ketocholesterol and three dihydroxysterols 7α-24(S)dihydroxycholesterol, 7α-25dihydroxycholesterol, 7α-27dihydroxycholesterol by LC-MS/MS following reverse phase chromatography. Our new method, using Triton and DMSO extraction, shows improved extraction efficiency and recovery of oxysterols from cellular matrix. We validated our method by reproducibly measuring oxysterols in mouse brain tissue and showed that mice fed a high fat diet had significantly lower levels of 24S/25diOHC, 27diOHC and 7ketoOHC. We measured oxysterols in mitochondria from peripheral blood mononuclear cells and highlight the importance of rapid cell isolation to minimise effects of handling and storage conditions on oxysterol composition in clinical samples. In addition, in vitro cell culture systems, of THP-1 monocytes and neuronal-like SH-SH5Y cells, showed mitochondrial-specific oxysterol metabolism and profiles were lineage specific. In summary, we describe a robust and reproducible method validated for improved recovery, quantitative linearity and detection, reproducibility and selectivity for cellular oxysterol analysis. This method enables subcellular oxysterol metabolism to be monitored and is versatile in its application to various biological and clinical samples.

    Mackenzie JS, Lamprecht DA, Asmal R, Adamson JH, Borah K, Beste DJV, Lee BS, Pethe K, Rousseau S, Krieger I, Sacchettini JC, Glasgow JN, Steyn AJC (2020) Bedaquiline reprograms central metabolism to reveal glycolytic vulnerability in Mycobacterium tuberculosis

    The approval of bedaquiline (BDQ) for the treatment of tuberculosis has generated substantial interest in inhibiting energy metabolism as a therapeutic paradigm. However, it is not known precisely how BDQ triggers cell death in Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). Using 13C isotopomer analysis, we show that BDQ-treated Mtb redirects central carbon metabolism to induce a metabolically vulnerable state susceptible to genetic disruption of glycolysis and gluconeogenesis. Metabolic flux profiles indicate that BDQ-treated Mtb is dependent on glycolysis for ATP production, operates a bifurcated TCA cycle by increasing flux through the glyoxylate shunt, and requires enzymes of the anaplerotic node and methylcitrate cycle. Targeting oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) with BDQ and simultaneously inhibiting substrate level phosphorylation via genetic disruption of glycolysis leads to rapid sterilization. Our findings provide insight into the metabolic mechanism of BDQ-induced cell death and establish a paradigm for the development of combination therapies that target OXPHOS and glycolysis.

    Borah K, Rickman OJ, Voutsina N, Baple EL, Dias IH, Crosby AH, Griffiths HR (2020) Datasets of whole cell and mitochondrial oxysterols derived from THP-1, SH-SY5Y and human peripheral blood mononuclear cells using targeted metabolomics

    The raw datasets of oxysterol quantifications from whole cell and mitochondrial fractions of THP-1 monocytes and macrophages, neuronal-like SH-SH5Y cells and human peripheral blood mononuclear cells are presented. Oxysterols were quantified using a new liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) and multiple reaction monitoring analysis published in the article "A quantitative LC-MS/MS method for analysis of mitochondrial-specific oxysterol metabolism" in Redox Biology [1]. This method showed improved extraction efficiency and recovery of mono and dihydroxycholesterols from cellular matrix. The datasets derived from the three cell lines are included in the appendix. These datasets provide new information about the oxysterol distribution in THP-1 monocytes and macrophages, SH-SY5Y cells and peripheral blood mononuclear cells. These datasets can be used as a guide for oxysterol distribution in the three cell lines for future studies, and can used for future method optimization, and for comparison of oxysterol recovery with other analytical techniques.

    Carolin C. M. Schulte, Khushboo Borah, Rachel M. Wheatley, Jason J. Terpolilli, Gerhard Saalbach, Nick Crang, Daan H. de Groot, R. George Ratcliffe, Nicholas J. Kruger, Antonis Papachristodoulou, Philip S. Poole (2021) Metabolic constraints on nitrogen fixation by rhizobia in legume nodules

    Rhizobia induce nodule formation on legume roots and differentiate into bacteroids, which use plant-derived dicarboxylates as energy and electron sources for reduction of atmospheric N2 into ammonia for secretion to plants. Using heterogeneous genome-scale datasets, we reconstructed a model of bacteroid metabolism to investigate the effects of varying dicarboxylate and oxygen supply on carbon and nitrogen allocation. Modelling and 13C metabolic flux analysis in bacteroids indicate that microaerobiosis restricts the decarboxylating arm of the TCA cycle and limits ammonia assimilation into glutamate. Catabolism of dicarboxylates induces a higher oxygen demand but also a higher NADH/NAD+ ratio compared to sugars. Carbon polymer synthesis and alanine secretion by bacteroids facilitate redox balance in microaerobic nodules with alanine secretion increasing as oxygen tension decreases. Our results provide a framework for understanding fundamental constraints on rhizobial metabolism during symbiotic nitrogen fixation.

    Khushboo Borah, Tom A. Mendum, Nathaniel D. Hawkins, Jane L. Ward, Michael H. Beale, Gerald Larrouy-Maumus, Apoorva Bhatt, Martine Moulin, Michael Haertlein, Gernot Strohmeier, Harald Pichler, V. Trevor Forsyth, View ORCID ProfileStephen Noack, Celia W. (2021) Metabolic flux partitioning between the TCA cycle and glyoxylate shunt combined with a reversible methyl citrate cycle provide nutritional flexibility for Mycobacterium tuberculosis

    The utilisation of multiple host-derived carbon substrates is required by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) to successfully sustain a tuberculosis infection thereby identifying the Mtb specific metabolic pathways and enzymes required for carbon co-metabolism as potential drug targets. Metabolic flux represents the final integrative outcome of many different levels of cellular regulation that contribute to the flow of metabolites through the metabolic network. It is therefore critical that we have an in-depth understanding of the rewiring of metabolic fluxes in different conditions. Here, we employed 13C-metabolic flux analysis using stable isotope tracers (13C and 2H) and lipid fingerprinting to investigate the metabolic network of Mtb growing slowly on physiologically relevant carbon sources in a steady state chemostat. We demonstrate that Mtb is able to efficiently co-metabolise combinations of either cholesterol or glycerol along with C2 generating carbon substrates. The uniform assimilation of the carbon sources by Mtb throughout the network indicated no compartmentalization of metabolism in these conditions however there were substrate specific differences in metabolic fluxes. This work identified that partitioning of flux between the TCA cycle and the glyoxylate shunt combined with a reversible methyl citrate cycle as the critical metabolic nodes which underlie the nutritional flexibility of Mtb. These findings provide new insights into the metabolic architecture that affords adaptability of Mtb to divergent carbon substrates.

    Khushboo Borah , Helen Griffiths (2020) Oxysterol_LCMS/MS raw data_whole cell/mitochondria
    Khushboo Borah, George Ratcliffe, Nicolas J Kruger, Philip s Poole (2016) Metabolic flux analysis of nitrogen-fixing bacteria
    K Borah, T Mendum, ND Hawkins, J Ward, M Beale, G Larrouy‐Maumus, A Bhatt, M Moulin, M Haertlein, G Strohmeier, H Pichler, T Forsyth, S Noack, C Goulding, J McFdden, D Beste (2021) Metabolic fluxes for nutritional flexibility of Mycobacterium tuberculosis

    The co‐catabolism of multiple host‐derived carbon substrates is required by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) to successfully sustain a tuberculosis infection. However, the metabolic plasticity of this pathogen and the complexity of the metabolic networks present a major obstacle in identifying those nodes most amenable to therapeutic interventions. It is therefore critical that we define the metabolic phenotypes of Mtb in different conditions. We applied metabolic flux analysis using stable isotopes and lipid fingerprinting to investigate the metabolic network of Mtb growing slowly in our steady‐state chemostat system. We demonstrate that Mtb efficiently co‐metabolises either cholesterol or glycerol, in combination with two‐carbon generating substrates without any compartmentalisation of metabolism. We discovered that partitioning of flux between the TCA cycle and the glyoxylate shunt combined with a reversible methyl citrate cycle is the critical metabolic nodes which underlie the nutritional flexibility of Mtb. These findings provide novel insights into the metabolic architecture that affords adaptability of bacteria to divergent carbon substrates and expand our fundamental knowledge about the methyl citrate cycle and the glyoxylate shunt.

    Carolin C. M. Schulte†, Khushboo Borah, Rachel M. Wheatly, Jason J. Terpolilli, Gerald Salbach, Nick Crang, Dan de Groot, R. George Ratcliffe,Nicholas J. Kruger, Antonis Papachristodoulou, Philip S Poole (2021) Metabolic control of nitrogen fixation in rhizobium-legume symbioses

    Rhizobia induce nodule formation on legume roots and differentiate into bacteroids, which catabolize plant-derived dicarboxylates to reduce atmospheric N2 into ammonia. Despite the agricultural importance of this symbiosis, the mechanisms that govern carbon and nitrogen allocation in bacteroids and promote ammonia secretion to the plant are largely unknown. Using a metabolic model derived from genome-scale datasets, we show that carbon polymer synthesis and alanine secretion by bacteroids facilitate redox balance in microaerobic nodules. Catabolism of dicarboxylates induces not only a higher oxygen demand but also a higher NADH/NAD+ ratio than sugars. Modeling and 13C metabolic flux analysis indicate that oxygen limitation restricts the decarboxylating arm of the tricarboxylic acid cycle, which limits ammonia assimilation into glutamate. By tightly controlling oxygen supply and providing dicarboxylates as the energy and electron source donors for N2 fixation, legumes promote ammonia secretion by bacteroids. This is a defining feature of rhizobium-legume symbioses.

    Khushboo Borah*, Ye Xu and Johnjoe McFadden* (2021) Dissecting Host-Pathogen Interactions in TB Using Systems-Based Omic Approaches

    Tuberculosis (TB) is a devastating infectious disease that kills over a million people every year. There is an increasing burden of multi drug resistance (MDR) and extensively drug resistance (XDR) TB. New and improved therapies are urgently needed to overcome the limitations of current treatment. The causative agent, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is one of the most successful pathogens that can manipulate host cell environment for adaptation, evading immune defences, virulence, and pathogenesis of TB infection. Host-pathogen interaction is important to establish infection and it involves a complex set of processes. Metabolic cross talk between the host and pathogen is a facet of TB infection and has been an important topic of research where there is growing interest in developing therapies and drugs that target these interactions and metabolism of the pathogen in the host. Mtb scavenges multiple nutrient sources from the host and has adapted its metabolism to survive in the intracellular niche. Advancements in systems-based omic technologies have been successful to unravel host-pathogen interactions in TB. In this review we discuss the application and usefulness of omics in TB research that provides promising interventions for developing anti-TB therapies.

    Nick Crang, Khushboo Borah, Euan K James, Beatriz Jorrín, Patrick Green, Andrzej Tkacz, Alison K East, Philip S Poole (2021) Role and Regulation of Poly-3-Hydroxybutyrate in Nitrogen Fixation in Azorhizobium caulinodans

    An Azorhizobium caulinodans phaC mutant (OPS0865) unable to make poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (PHB), grows poorly on many carbon sources and cannot fix nitrogen in laboratory culture. However, when inoculated onto its host plant, Sesbania rostratathe phaC mutant consistently fixed nitrogen. Upon reisolation from S. rostrata root nodules, a suppressor strain (OPS0921) was isolated that has significantly improved growth on a variety of carbon sources and also fixes nitrogen in laboratory culture. The suppressor retains the original mutation and is unable to synthesize PHB. Genome sequencing revealed a suppressor transition mutation, G to A (position 357,354), 13 bases upstream of the ATG start codon of phaR in its putative ribosome binding site (RBS). PhaR is the global regulator of PHB synthesis but also has other roles in regulation within the cell. In comparison with the wild type, translation from the phaR native RBS is increased approximately sixfold in the phaC mutant background, suggesting that the level of PhaR is controlled by PHB. Translation from the phaR mutated RBS (RBS*) of the suppressor mutant strain (OPS0921) is locked at a low basal rate and unaffected by the phaC mutation, suggesting that RBS* renders the level of PhaR insensitive to regulation by PHB. In the original phaC mutant (OPS0865), the lack of nitrogen fixation and poor growth on many carbon sources is likely to be due to increased levels of PhaR causing dysregulation of its complex regulon, because PHB formation, per se, is not required for effective nitrogen fixation in A. caulinodans.

    Aurore C. Poirier, Dai Kuang, Bianca S. Siedler, Khushboo Borah, Mehat, Jialin Liu, Cui Tai, Xiaoli Wang, Arnoud H. M. van Vliet, Wei Ma, David R. Jenkins, John Clark, Roberto M. La Ragione, Jieming Qu, Johnjoe McFadden (2022) Development of Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification Rapid Diagnostic Assays for the Detection of Klebsiella pneumoniae and Carbapenemase Genes in Clinical Samples

    Klebsiella pneumoniae is an important pathogenic bacterium commonly associated with human healthcare and community-acquired infections. In recent years, K. pneumoniae has become a significant threat to global public and veterinary health, because of its high rates of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Early diagnosis of K. pneumoniae infection and detection of any associated AMR would help to accelerate directed therapy and reduce the risk of the emergence of multidrug-resistant isolates. In this study, we identified three target genes (yhaIepsL, and xcpW) common to K. pneumoniae isolates from both China and Europe and designed loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assays for the detection of K. pneumoniae in clinical samples. We also designed LAMP assays for the detection of five AMR genes commonly associated with K. pneumoniae. The LAMP assays were validated on a total of 319 type reference strains and clinical isolates of diverse genetic backgrounds, in addition to 40 clinical human sputum samples, and were shown to be reliable, highly specific, and sensitive. For the K. pneumoniae–specific LAMP assay, the calculated sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values (comparison with culture and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization–time of flight mass spectrometry) were all 100% on clinical isolates and, respectively, of 100%, 91%, and 90%, and 100% when tested on clinical sputum samples, while being significantly faster than the reference methods. For the blaKPC and other carbapenemases’ LAMP assays, the concordance between the LAMP results and the references methods (susceptibility tests) was 100%, on both pure cultures (n = 125) and clinical samples (n = 18). In conclusion, we developed highly sensitive and specific LAMP assays for the clinical identification of K. pneumoniae and detection of carbapenem resistance.

    Ye Xu, Pooja, Khushboo Borah (2022) Mycobacterium tuberculosis carbon and nitrogen metabolic fluxes

    Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is one of the most formidable pathogens causing tuberculosis (TB), a devastating infectious disease responsible for the highest human mortality and morbidity. The emergence of drug-resistant strains of the pathogen has increased the burden of TB tremendously and new therapeutics to overcome the problem of drug resistance are urgently needed. Metabolism of Mtb and its interactions with the host is important for its survival and virulence; this is an important topic of research where there is growing interest in developing new therapies and drugs that target these interactions and metabolism of the pathogen during infection. Mtb adapts its metabolism in its intracellular niche and acquires multiple nutrient sources from the host cell. Carbon metabolic pathways and fluxes of Mtb has been extensively researched for over a decade and is well-defined. Recently, there has been investigations and efforts to measure metabolism of nitrogen, which is another important nutrient for Mtb during infection. This review discusses our current understanding of the central carbon and nitrogen metabolism, and metabolic fluxes that are important for the survival of the TB pathogen.

    Khushboo Borah, Martin Beyß, Karina Girardi, Tom Mendum, Dany Beste, Katharina Nӧh , Flavio Lara ,Johnjoe McFadden (2022) Probing mycobacterial metabolism in tuberculosis and leprosy to identify vulnerable metabolic nodes for drug development

    Metabolism of pathogens in infectious diseases is important for their survival, virulence and pathogenesis. Mycobacterial pathogens successfully scavenge multiple host nutrient sources in the intracellular niche. It is therefore important to identify the intracellular nutrient sources and their metabolic fates in these pathogens. Metabolic phenotype of an organism is defined by metabolic fluxes. We quantified in vivo fluxes of the pathogens and probed host-bacterial metabolic cross talks in tuberculosis (TB) and leprosy using systems-based strategies and techniques of isotopic labelling, metabolic modelling and metabolic flux analysis (MFA). We show that the TB pathogen metabolizes a number of carbon and nitrogen sources in human macrophages and identified vulnerable nodes such as glutamine and serine biosynthesis as potential drug targets. Mycobacterium leprae, the leprosy causing pathogen, uses host cell glucose in infected schwann cells and the enzyme, phoenolpyruvate carboxylase is a potential drug target. Our research provides an understanding of the intracellular diets and metabolism of these important human pathogens and identified vulnerable metabolic nodes that can be used for developing innovative chemotherapies in TB and leprosy.

    Khushboo Borah (2021) GC-MS datasets for Azorhizobium Caulinodans

    GC-MS datasets of Azorhizobium caulinodans grown in isotopically labelled 20% [13C4]succinate under various growth conditions including aerobic , microaerobic, nitrogen fixing cultures and as bacteroids isolated from root nodules of Sesbania rostrata.

    Khushboo Borah Slater, Daniel Kim, Pooja Chand, Ye Xu, Hanif Shaikh and Vaishali Undale (2023) A Current Perspective on the Potential of Nanomedicine for Anti-Tuberculosis Therapy

    Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the ten infectious diseases that cause the highest amount of human mortality and morbidity. This infection, which is caused by a single pathogen, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, kills over a million people every year. There is an emerging problem of antimicrobial resistance in TB that needs urgent treatment and management. Tuberculosis treatment is complicated by its complex drug regimen, its lengthy duration and the serious side-effects caused by the drugs required. There are a number of critical issues around drug delivery and subsequent intracellular bacterial clearance. Drugs have a short lifespan in systemic circulation, which limits their activity. Nanomedicine in TB is an emerging research area which offers the potential of effective drug delivery using nanoparticles and a reduction in drug doses and side-effects to improve patient compliance with the treatment and enhance their recovery. Here, we provide a minireview of anti-TB treatment, research progress on nanomedicine and the prospects for future applications in developing innovative therapies.

    Khushboo Borah Slater, Martin Beyß, Ye Xu, Jim Barber, Catia Costa, Jane Newcombe, Axel Theorell, Melanie J Bailey, Dany J V Beste, Johnjoe McFadden & Katharina Nöh (2023) One-shot 13C15N-metabolic flux analysis for simultaneous quantification of carbon and nitrogen flux

    Metabolic flux is the final output of cellular regulation and has been extensively studied for carbon but much less is known about nitrogen, which is another important building block for living organisms. For the tuberculosis pathogen, this is particularly important in informing the development of effective drugs targeting the pathogen's metabolism. Here we performed 13C15N dual isotopic labeling of Mycobacterium bovis BCG steady state cultures, quantified intracellular carbon and nitrogen fluxes and inferred reaction bidirectionalities. This was achieved by model scope extension and refinement, implemented in a multi-atom transition model, within the statistical framework of Bayesian model averaging (BMA). Using BMA-based 13C15N-metabolic flux analysis, we jointly resolve carbon and nitrogen fluxes quantitatively. We provide the first nitrogen flux distributions for amino acid and nucleotide biosynthesis in mycobacteria and establish glutamate as the central node for nitrogen metabolism. We improved resolution of the notoriously elusive anaplerotic node in central carbon metabolism and revealed possible operation modes. Our study provides a powerful and statistically rigorous platform to simultaneously infer carbon and nitrogen metabolism in any biological system.

    Khushboo Borah Slater (2023) A Current Perspective on Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease)

    Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is an ancient chronic infectious disease that remains a major problem in the world today, infecting over 200,000 people each year, particularly affecting resource-limited and the most disadvantaged sections of society in under-developed countries of the world. Mycobacterium leprae, a slow-growing mycobacterium, causes leprosy in humans. Leprosy causes nerve damage and permanent disabilities including blindness and paralysis. People affected by leprosy face stigma and discrimination in society. Although multidrug therapy is available, millions of people are still affected by leprosy, so new vaccine, drug and disease management approaches are urgently needed for control, prevention and treatment of this disease. This chapter is a general review of leprosy, the current treatment and prevention measures and challenges that need to be addressed for complete eradication of this disease.

    Khushboo Borah Slater, Muhammad Ahmad, Aurore Poirier, Ash Stott, Bianca Sica Siedler, Matthew Brownsword, Jai Mehat, Joanna Urbaniec, Nicolas Locker, Yunlong Zhao, Roberto La Ragione, S. Ravi P. Silva, Johnjoe McFadden (2023) Development of a loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP)-based electrochemical test for rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2

    Rapid, reliable, sensitive, portable, and accurate diagnostics are required to control disease outbreaks such as COVID-19 that pose an immense burden on human health and the global economy. Here we developed a loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP)-based electrochemical test for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19. The test is based on the oxidation-reduction reaction between pyrophosphates (generated from positive LAMP reaction) and molybdate that is detected by cyclic voltammetry using inexpensive and disposable carbon screen printed electrodes. Our test showed higher sensitivity (detecting as low as 5.29 RNA copies/μL) compared to the conventional fluorescent reverse transcriptase (RT)-LAMP. We validated our tests using human serum and saliva spiked with SARS-CoV-2 RNA and clinical (saliva and nasal-pharyngeal) swab samples demonstrating 100% specificity and 93.33% sensitivity. Our assay provides a rapid, specific, and sensitive test with an electrochemical readout in less than 45 min that could be adapted for point-of-care settings.