Cronan, M.R., Tobin, D.M. (2014) Fit for consumption: zebrafish as a model for tuberculosis. Disease models & mechanisms. 7:777-784.
Despite efforts to generate new vaccines and antibiotics for tuberculosis, the disease remains a public health problem worldwide. The zebrafish Danio rerio has emerged as a useful model to investigate mycobacterial pathogenesis and treatment. Infection of zebrafish with Mycobacterium marinum, the closest relative of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, recapitulates many aspects of human tuberculosis. The zebrafish model affords optical transparency, abundant genetic tools and in vivo imaging of the progression of infection. Here, we review how the zebrafish-M. marinum system has been deployed to make novel observations about the role of innate immunity, the tuberculous granuloma, and crucial host and bacterial genes. Finally, we assess how these findings relate to human disease and provide a framework for novel strategies to treat tuberculosis.