Public Defence: Alemayehu Godana Birhanu

M.Sc. Alemayehu Godana Birhanu at Institute of Clinical Medicine will be defending the thesis “Unveiling phenotypic differences among the genetically conserved Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex: Characterization of proteomes and post-translational modifications” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

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Photo: Marta Gómez Muñoz

Trial Lecture – time and place

See Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Professor Sun Nyunt Wai, Department of Molecular Biology
  • Umeå University
  • Second opponent: Researcher Tuula Anneli Nyman, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor Trygve Brauns Leergaard, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Professor Peter Gaustad, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Professor Tone Tønjum, University of Oslo


Members of the genetically conserved Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) exhibit vast discrepancies in clinical outcome and epidemiological behaviour. Bacterial factors that contribute to these phenotypic variabilities remain elusive.

We hypothesize that qualitative and quantitative differences in the abundance of proteins and their post-translational modifications (PTMs) may contribute to MTBC phenotypic diversity. The study analyzed the proteomic and PTM profiles (acetylation and glycosylation) among members of the MTBC using liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS).

Comparative proteomic analysis of the MTBC lineages revealed significantly different abundances of proteins involved in virulence, growth and bioenergetics. The PTM study provides the first report on O-acetylation and N-glycosylation of MTBC proteins.

The study presents a comprehensive proteomic and PTM map of MTBC and demonstrated the presence of significant differences among different lineages. These new discoveries will enable a better understanding of the pathogen with new potential for identification of novel drug targets and vaccine candidates, as well as efficient diagnostics for TB disease.

Additional information

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Published May 27, 2019 4:31 PM - Last modified June 14, 2019 1:40 PM