Tuberculosis (TB) is still an important global threat and although the causing organism has been discovered long ago, effective prevention strategies are lacking. Mycobacterium tuberculosis
(MTB) is a unique pathogen with a complex host interaction. Understanding the immune responses upon infection with MTB is crucial for the development of new vaccination strategies and therapeutic targets for TB. Recently, it has been proposed that sensing bacterial nucleic acid in antigen-presenting cells via intracellular pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) is a central mechanism for initiating an effective host immune response. Here, we summarize key findings of the impact of mycobacterial RNA sensing for innate and adaptive host immunity after MTB infection, with emphasis on endosomal toll-like receptors (TLRs) and cytosolic sensors such as NLRP3 and RLRs, modulating T-cell differentiation through IL-12, IL-21, and type I interferons. Ultimately, these immunological pathways may impact immune memory and TB vaccine efficacy. The novel findings described here may change our current understanding of the host response to MTB and potentially impact clinical research, as well as future vaccination design. In this review, the current state of the art is summarized, and an outlook is given on how progress can be made.
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