Dr Teresa Cortes

Assistant Professor


Keppel Street
United Kingdom


Teresa Cortes joined the School in June 2015 funded by a Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) to study how translational regulation contributes to biological adaptation in the human pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Prior to the establishment of her research group, Teresa was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Division of Mycobacterial Research at the National Institute for Medical Research. Her research focused on the development of sequence-based transcriptomics in M. tuberculosis within a European consortium aimed at the establishment of a systems biology framework for research on M. tuberculosis. 


Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases
Department of Pathogen Molecular Biology


Tuberculosis (TB) Centre


Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of human tuberculosis, is a successful pathogen than can persist in an individual host for decades in an asymptomatic state. Despite the fact that adaptive responses of M. tuberculosis have been extensively studied at the transcriptional level, the mechanisms underlying this persistence in the host are still poorly understood. Furthermore, the emergence of drug resistant tuberculosis makes the development of effective new treatments an urgent challenge. Understanding the ability of M. tuberculosis to switch between replicating and non-replicating states during infection and disease is central to this search for improved treatments.

The number of copies of a protein produced by a cell is generally viewed as being determined by the number of mRNA transcripts, but recent findings suggest that ‘specialised ribosomes’ can modify proteome profiles by preferential translation of particular mRNA subsets, particularly in response to stress. I recently demonstrated that M. tuberculosis differs from other bacterial pathogens in expressing a greater number of transcripts that lack a sequence for ribosomal recognition. In Escherichia coli, only a few of these transcripts have been described and they are selectively translated by specialised ribosomes.

My main research interest is to investigate the role of translation regulation in the adaptive response of M. tuberculosis and its contribution to differential susceptibility to drugs that target ribosomal activities. We are investigating the importance of selective translation of particular mRNAs subsets using cutting-edge experimental techniques combined with bioinformatics analyses. 

Research Area
Drug resistance
Molecular biology
Disease and Health Conditions
Infectious disease

Selected Publications

Delayed effects of transcriptional responses in Mycobacterium tuberculosis exposed to nitric oxide suggest other mechanisms involved in survival.
Cortes, T. ; Schubert, O.T. ; Banaei-Esfahani, A. ; Collins, B.C. ; Aebersold, R. ; Young, D.B. ;
Sci Rep
Structural characterization of CYP144A1 - a cytochrome P450 enzyme expressed from alternative transcripts in Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Chenge, J. ; Kavanagh, M.E. ; Driscoll, M.D. ; McLean, K.J. ; Young, D.B. ; Cortes, T. ; Matak-Vinkovic, D. ; Levy, C.W. ; Rigby, S.E. ; Leys, D. ; Abell, C. ; Munro, A.W. ;
Sci Rep
Genomic mapping of cAMP receptor protein (CRPMt) in Mycobacterium tuberculosis: relation to transcriptional start sites and the role of CRPMt as a transcription factor
Kahramanoglou, C.; Cortes, T.; Matange, N.; Hunt, D.M.; Visweswariah, S.S.; Young, D.B.; Buxton, R.S.
Nucleic acids research
Induced ectopic expression of HigB toxin in Mycobacterium tuberculosis results in growth inhibition, reduced abundance of a subset of mRNAs and cleavage of tmRNA
Schuessler, D.L.; Cortes, T.; Fivian‐Hughes, A.S.; Lougheed, K.E.; Harvey, E.; Buxton, R.S.; Davis, E.O.; Young, D.B.
Molecular microbiology
Mapping of Genotype–Phenotype Diversity among Clinical Isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis by Sequence-Based Transcriptional Profiling
Rose, G.; Cortes, T.; Comas, I.; Coscolla, M.; Gagneux, S.; Young, D.B.
Genome Biology and Evolution
A Small RNA Encoded in the Rv2660c Locus of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Is Induced during Starvation and Infection
Houghton, J.; Cortes, T.; Schubert, O.; Rose, G.; Rodgers, A.; Croix, M.D.S.; Aebersold, R.; Young, D.B.; Arnvig, K.B.
PloS one
Genome-wide Mapping of Transcriptional Start Sites Defines an Extensive Leaderless Transcriptome in Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Cortes, T. ; Schubert, O.T. ; Rose, G. ; Arnvig, K.B. ; Comas, I. ; Aebersold, R. ; Young, D.B. ;
Cell Reports
See all Dr Teresa Cortes's Publications