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Mycobacterial Interactions with Host Cells

Olivier Neyrolles

Group Leader

The main goal of our research group is to better understand host-pathogen interactions in TB on the molecular and cellular levels, from the discovery of novel virulence genes in Mycobacterium tuberculosis to the identification of immune mechanisms involved in host defense against the pathogen, with the overall objective of proposing better strategies to control disease.


Our research aims at exploring the links between mycobacterial evolution, physiology and virulence, and between host cell metabolism and immunity to M. tuberculosis in the context of TB and TB co-infections (e.g. HIV) using a combination of global ‘omics’ approaches and candidate-based studies, from the single molecule to the whole organism level.


Our team is highly interdisciplinary, involving scientists and professors in biochemistry, microbial genetics and immunology, and works in close collaboration with other laboratories worldwide in the context of several national and international networks supported by national (e.g. Agence Nationale de la Recherche, Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale, Fondation Bettencourt-Schueller) and international (e.g. European Union H2020 program) funding bodies.

Featured article

ILC precursors differentiate into metabolically distinct ILC1-like cells during Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection

Corral D, Charton A, Krauss MZ, Blanquart E, Levillain F, Lefrançais E, Sneperger T, Vahlas Z, Girard JP, Eberl G, Poquet Y, Guéry JC, Argüello RJ, Belkaid Y, Mayer-Barber KD, Hepworth MR, Neyrolles O*, Hudrisier D*. Cell Reports 39(3):110715


Read the article here...

Selected publications

  • Marin-Franco  et al. (2020) Host-derived lipids from tuberculous pleurisy impair macrophage microbicidal-associated metabolic activity. Cell Rep
  • Dupont et al. (2020) Tuberculosis-associated IFN-I induces Siglec-1 on tunneling nanotubes and favors HIV-1 spread in macrophages. eLife
  • Souriant et al. (2019) Tuberculosis exacerbates HIV-1 infection through IL-10/STAT3-dependent tunneling nanotube formation in macrophages. Cell Rep
  • Freire*, Gutierrez* et al. (2019) An NAD+ phosphorylase toxin triggers Mycobacterium tuberculosis cell death. Mol Cell
  • Levillain*, Poquet* et al. (2017) Horizontal acquisition of a hypoxia-responsive molybdenum cofactor biosynthesis pathway contributed to Mycobacterium tuberculosis pathoadaptation. PLOS Pathog
  • Bénard et al. (2017) B cells producing type I interferon modulate macrophage polarization in tuberculosis. Am J Respir Crit Care Med
  • Troegeler et al. (2017) C-type lectin receptor DCIR modulates immunity to tuberculosis by sustaining type I interferon signaling in dendritic cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA

suicide TB.jpg

MbcT toxin induces death of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. 
When the MbcT toxin is produced in the absence of its antidote, it kills the bacteria (shown in red).
© Antonio Peixoto, Claude Gutierrez, and Olivier Neyrolles | IPBS | CNRS/UPS



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Selected publications

This is short list of our main recent contributions to mycobacterial research. Other papers and reviews are available through Pubmed


TB vaccine research

Levillain F et al. 2019. Preclinical assessment of a new live attenuated Mycobacterium tuberculosis Beijing-based vaccine for tuberculosis Vaccine


Voss G et al. 2018. Progress and challenges in TB vaccine development F1000Res


Kaufmann SHE et al. 2017. TBVAC2020: Advancing tuberculosis vaccines from discovery to clinical development Front Immunol


Scriba T et al. 2016. Vaccination against tuberculosis with whole-cell mycobacterial vaccines J Infect Dis


Innate immunity to tuberculosis, TB/HIV coinfection and other pathogens

Marin-Franco et al. 2020 Host-derived lipids from tuberculous pleurisy impair macrophage microbicidal-associated metabolic activity Cell Rep


Dupont et al. 2020. Tuberculosis-associated IFN-I induces Siglec-1 on tunneling nanotubes and favors HIV-1 spread in macrophages eLife


Souriant et al. 2019. Tuberculosis exacerbates HIV-1 infection through IL-10/STAT3-dependent tunneling nanotube formation in macrophages Cell Rep

This article was highlighted in Science


Dumas A et al. 2018. The host microbiota contributes to early protection against lung colonization by Mycobacterium tuberculosis Front Immunol


Lugo-Villarino G et al. 2018. The C-type lectin receptor DC-SIGN has an anti-inflammatory role in human M(IL-4) macrophages in response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis Front Immunol


Bénard A et al. 2017. B cells producing type I interferon modulate macrophage polarization in tuberculosis Am J Respir Crit Care Med


Troegeler A et al. 2017. C-type lectin receptor DCIR modulates immunity to tuberculosis by sustaining type I interferon  signaling in dendritic cells Proc Natl Acad Sci USA


Lastrucci C  et al. 2015. Tuberculosis is associated with expansion of a motile, permissive and immunomodulatory CD16+ monocyte population via the IL-10/STAT3 axis Cell Research


Lugo-Villarino G & O Neyrolles. 2014. Manipulation of the mononuclear phagocyte system by Mycobacterium tuberculosis Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med


Troegeler A et al. 2014. An efficient siRNA-mediated gene silencing in primary human monocytes, dendritic cells and macrophages Immunol Cell Biol


Lefèvre L*, Lugo-Villarino G* et al. 2013. The C-type lectin receptors dectin-1, MR, and SIGNR3 contribute both positively and negatively to the macrophage response to Leishmania infantum Immunity


Tanne A et al. 2009. A murine DC-SIGN homolog contributes to early host defense against Mycobacterium tuberculosis J Exp Med


Tailleux L et al. 2005. DC-SIGN induction in alveolar macrophages defines a privileged target host cell population for mycobacteria in patients with tuberculosis PLOS Med


Tailleux L et al. 2003. DC-SIGN is the major Mycobacterium tuberculosis receptor on human dendritic cells J Exp Med


Maeda N et al. 2003. The cell surface receptor DC-SIGN discriminates between Mycobacterium species through selective recognition of the mannose caps on lipoarabinomannan J Biol Chem

Mycobacterial evolution, physiology and virulence

Cai et al. 2020. A nucleotidyltransferase toxin inhibits growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis through inactivation of tRNA acceptor stems Sci Adv


Freire*, Gutierrez* et al. 2019. An NAD+ phosphorylase toxin triggers Mycobacterium tuberculosis cell death Mol Cell


Levillain F*, Poquet Y* et al. 2017. Horizontal acquisition of a hypoxia-responsive molybdenum cofactor biosynthesis pathway contributed to Mycobacterium tuberculosis pathoadaptation PLOS Pathog


Neyrolles O et al. 2015. Mycobacteria, metals, and the macrophage Immunol Rev


Gouzy A et al. 2014. Nitrogen metabolism in Mycobacterium tuberculosis physiology and virulence Nat Rev Microbiol


Gouzy A et al. 2014. Mycobacterium tuberculosis exploits asparagine to assimilate nitrogen and resist acid stress during infection PLOS Pathog


Gouzy A et al. 2013. Mycobacterium tuberculosis nitrogen assimilation and host colonization require aspartate Nat Chem Biol


Soldati T & O Neyrolles. 2012. Mycobacteria and the intraphagosomal environment: take it with a pinch of salt(s)! Traffic


Rodriguez GM & O Neyrolles. 2013. Metallobiology of tuberculosis Microbiol Spectr


Botella H et al. 2012. Metallobiology of host-pathogen interactions: an intoxicating new insight Trends Microbiol


Botella H et al. 2011. Mycobacterial P1-type ATPases mediate resistance to zinc poisoning in human macrophages Cell Host Microbe


Brodin P*, Poquet Y*, Levillain*, Peguillet I* et al. 2010. High content phenotypic cell-based visual screen identifies Mycobacterium tuberculosis acyltrehalose-containing glycolipids involved in phagosome remodeling PLOS Pathog


Becq J et al. 2007. Contribution of horizontally acquired genomic islands to the evolution of the tubercle bacilli Mol Biol Evol


Rosas-Magallanes V et al. 2006. Horizontal transfer of a virulence operon to the ancestor of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Mol Biol Evol


A nice paper you may want to read...

Neyrolles O et al. 2006. Is adipose tissue a place for Mycobacterium tuberculosis persistence? PLOS ONE



We are indebtful to our many national and international collaborators, including:


  • Sho Yamasaki Research Institute for Microbial Diseases, Osaka, Japan
  • Elsa Anes University of Lisbon, Portugal
  • David Sancho National Cardiovascular Research Centre, Madrid, Spain
  • Patrice Catty Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique, Grenoble, France
  • Brigitte Gicquel, Ludovic Tailleux, Roland Brosch, Pierre Charneau & Lluis Quintana-Murci Institut Pasteur, Paris
  • Matthias Willmans EMBL-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Imaging, Hamburg, Germany
  • Manfred Wuhrer Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands
  • Marcelo Kuroda University of California, Davis, CA, USA
  • Deepak Kaushal Tulane University School of Medicine, Covington, LA, USA
  • Luciana Balboa & Maria Carmen Sasiain Academia Nacional de Medicina, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Luiz Pedro de Carvalho The Francis Crick Institute, London, UK


Our team is supported by several grants and fellowships from:

  • European Union (FP7 & H2020)
  • European Respiratory Society
  • NIH
  • Agence Nationale de la Recherche
  • Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale
  • Agence nationale de recherche sur le sida et les hépatites virales
  • Fondation Bettencourt Schueller
  • Fondation ARC pour la recherche sur le cancer
  • Vaincre la Mucoviscidose
  • Association Gregory Lemarchal
  • Fondation Mérieux
  • ECOS-Sud exchange programme (Argentina)


Our team was officially labelled by the Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale (2016-2019)



October 2021 - Olivier Neyrolles is awarded the CNRS silver medal. Read more...

November 2020 - Olivier Neyrolles is awarded the Jacques Piraud Prize from the Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale. Read more...


October 2018 - The 2018 PEPS Prize for Pedagogical Innovation is awarded to the IMMUNOVA project (Active, interactive and flexible learning in immunology) led by Prof. Denis Hudrisier.

The IMMUNOVA project is composed of two axes: the first is the strong use of digital resources allowing the students to prepare themselves before and after the face-to-face sessions (also available online), which provides greater flexibility and learning autonomy for all students, especially those who cannot attend classes according to established schedules; for the second axis, the students are offered to conduct team projects in immunology according to different approaches (e.g., digital resource generation, interviews with researchers, 3D printing of proteins in FabLabs, conception of serious games).

Known more about the project – Watch the video!

Anthony photo.jpg

December 2017 - Dr. Anthony Troegeler is awarded the Bretesche Prize in medicine from the Toulouse Academy of sciences. 

Anthony did his PhD studies in our lab where he worked on the role of the innate immune receptor DCIR in immunity to tuberculosis. His work was published in January 2017 in Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. He will receive the Prize on December 3 at the Hôtel d'Assézat, Toulouse.

June 2017 - Dr. Yoann Rombouts is awarded the IGO Young Glycoscientist Award 2017. Read more



Dec 2016 - Dr. Olivier Neyrolles receives the Sanofi-Institut Pasteur National Junior Award in the field of neglected tropical diseases for his research into tuberculosis, during a ceremony at the Institut Pasteur, Paris. Olivier and his team contributed to understading several aspects of the complex interactions between the tuberculosis bacillus,Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and its host, including anti-mycobacterial immunity and mycobacterial evolution, physiology and virulence... Read more




Dec 2014 - Dr. Alexandre Gouzy receives the Sanofi 2014 Prize from the Toulouse Academy of Sciences

Read more



Feb 2014 - Dr. Olivier Neyrolles receives the "Coup d’élan pour la Recherche Française" Prize from the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation during a ceremony at the Institut de France, Paris, in which Madame F. Bettencourt Meyers presented the Prize. This Prize rewards teams specifically chosen for the promising nature of their research programs. The Prize recognises both the quality of the work of Olivier Neyrolles’ team and the quality of the research conducted in the Tuberculosis & Infection Biology Department at IPBS in the field of vaccine and antibiotics development.




April 2012 - Dr. Helene Botella, winner of the AXA-Academy of Sciences prize based on her work in the involvement of zinc as a natural mechanism to fight against infections Read more 



2009 - Dr. Olivier Neyrolles receives the CNRS Bronze medal Read more



We are extremely proud of our former research assistants, PhD students and post-doctoral fellows who are now continuing their career in the best labs, enterprises and institutions in life sciences!


  • Aurélien Boyancé Project manager, Evotec, Toulouse, France
  • Benjamin Raymond Post-doctoral fellow, University of Newcastle, UK
  • Yves-Marie Boudhen Post-doctoral fellow, IRIM, Montpellier, France
  • Alison Charton Research assistant, Evotec, Toulouse, France
  • Dan Corral Post-doctoral fellow, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA
  • Giulia Trimaglio Post-doctoral fellow, Institute for Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Technische Universität Dresden, Germany
  • Lucie Bernard Post-doctoral fellow, New York University, NY, USA
  • Maeva Dupont Post-doctoral fellow, University of Oxford, UK
  • Alexia Dumas Post-doctoral fellow, University College Dublin, Ireland - Present: Post-doctoral fellow, IRSD, Toulouse, France
  • Karine Pingris Research assistant, Evotec, Toulouse, France
  • André Colom Research assistant, Evotec, Toulouse, France
  • Danilo Pietretti Project officer, European Commission
  • Alan Bénard Post-doctoral fellow, University Hospital, Erlangen, Germany
  • Anthony Troegeler Scientific Attaché, UDEAR, Toulouse, France
  • Anna Grabowska Associate professor, Faculty of Medicine, Warsaw, Poland
  • Kanjana Nukdee Professor, Ubon Ratchathani University, Thailand
  • Ingrid Mercier Infotel, Toulouse, France
  • Alexandre Gouzy Post-doctoral fellow, Weill Cornell Medical College, NY, USA
  • Hélène Botella Post-doctoral fellow, Weill Cornell Medical College, NY, USA - Present: Post-doctoral fellow, Imperial College, London, UK
  • Antoine Tanne Project director, Agenus Inc., Boston, USA
  • Jichan Jang Professor, Gyeongsang National University, Jinju, South Korea
  • Chongzhen Wang Associate professor, Guilin Medical College, Guilin, China
  • Chuan Wang Lecturer, School of basic medical science, Fudan University, Shanghai, China