Several mycobacterial strains, such as Mycobacterium flavescens, Mycobacterium gastri, Mycobacterium neoaurum, Mycobacterium parafortuitum, Mycobacterium peregrinum, Mycobacterium phlei, Mycobacterium smegmatis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and Mycobacterium vaccae, were found to grow on carbon monoxide (CO) as the sole source of carbon and energy. These bacteria, except for M. tuberculosis, also utilized methanol as the sole carbon and energy source. A CO dehydrogenase (CO-DH) assay, staining by activity of CO-DH, and Western blot analysis using an antibody raised against CO-DH of Mycobacterium sp. strain JC1 (formerly Acinetobacter sp. strain JC1 [J. W. Cho, H. S. Yim, and Y. M. Kim, Kor. J. Microbiol. 23:1-8, 1985]) revealed that CO-DH is present in extracts of the bacteria prepared from cells grown on CO. Ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RubisCO) activity was also detected in extracts prepared from all cells, except M. tuberculosis, grown on CO. The mycobacteria grown on methanol, except for M. gastri, which showed hexulose phosphate synthase activity, did not exhibit activities of classic methanol dehydrogenase, hydroxypyruvate reductase, or hexulose phosphate synthase but exhibited N,N-dimethyl-4-nitrosoaniline-dependent methanol dehydrogenase and RuBisCO activities. Cells grown on methanol were also found to have dihydroxyacetone synthase. Double immunodiffusion revealed that the antigenic sites of CO-DHs, RuBisCOs, and dihydroxyacetone synthases in all mycobacteria tested are identical with those of the Mycobacterium sp. strain JC1 enzymes.
In mycobacteria, CycA a D-serine, L- and D-alanine, and glycine transporter also functions in the uptake of D-cycloserine, an important second-line anti-tubercular drug. A single nucleotide polymorphism identified in the cycA gene of BCG was hypothesized to contribute to the increased resistance of Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) to D-cycloserine compared to wild-type Mycobacterium tuberculosis or Mycobacterium bovis. Working along these lines, a merodiploid strain of BCG expressing Mycobacterium tuberculosis CycA was generated and found to exhibit increased susceptibility to D-cycloserine albeit not to the same extent as wild-type Mycobacterium tuberculosis or Mycobacterium bovis. In addition, recombinant Mycobacterium smegmatis strains expressing either Mycobacterium tuberculosis or Mycobacterium bovis CycA but not BCG CycA were rendered more susceptible to D-cycloserine. These findings support the notion that CycA-mediated uptake in BCG is impaired as a result of a single nucleotide polymorphism; however, the partial contribution of this impairment to D-cycloserine resistance suggests the involvement of additional genetic lesions in this phenotype.
Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays which are based on species- or type-specific glycolipids antigens and in which rabbit antisera are prepared with homologous strains are capable of distinguishing among serological variants of the Mycobacterium avium-Mycobacterium intracellulare-Mycobacterium scrofulaceum complex, Mycobacterium chelonei subspecies chelonei and abscessus, Mycobacterium simiae I and II, Mycobacterium kansasii, Mycobacterium szulgai, Mycobacterium xenopi, and Mycobacterium fortuitum biovariant peregrinum. The immunoreactive glycolipids can be divided into two classes. Those resistant to alkali, the C-mycoside glycopeptidolipids, are present in the M. avium-M. intracellulare-M. scrofulaceum, the M. chelonei subspecies chelonei and abscessus, and the M. simiae I and II complexes and in M. fortuitum biovariant peregrinum. The alkali-labile glycolipid antigens, the lipooligosaccharides, are present in M. kansasii, M. szulgai, and M. xenopi. In one study, the combination of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and alkaline susceptibility was compared with seroagglutination in the identification of 60 clinical isolates of nontuberculous mycobacteria: 45 showed perfect concordance, 9 could be narrowed to one, two, or three possibilities, and the rest did not correspond. In a second study involving 43 clinical isolates that were untypable by seroagglutination or were autoagglutinable, the results of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and thin-layer chromatography of glycolipid antigens were compared: 21 showed clear concordance. The results demonstrate that enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay is particularly useful in assessing the antigenicity of lipids, and sensitivity, ease, and rapidity recommend it as an adjunct to seroagglutination and thin-layer chromatography for the identification of nontuberculous mycobacteria.
Because of the rising incidence of clinical mycobacterial infections and the difficulty in identification and characterization of mycobacteria at the subspecies and serovar levels, a technique for differentiation that could be performed quickly and with relatively little equipment and expense was developed. Lysis and fractionation of mycobacteria by matrix solid-phase dispersion followed by thin-layer chromatography were used to produce chemotype profiles of the lipid and glycolipid components of each isolate. Organisms tested included Mycobacterium scrofulaceum, Mycobacterium phlei, Mycobacterium smegmatis, Mycobacterium flavescens, Mycobacterium kansasii, Mycobacterium bovis, 11 isolates of Mycobacterium gordonae, 10 serovars of Mycobacterium avium, and four strains of Mycobacterium paratuberculosis. A relative retention (Rx) value was established for each visible band on the chromatographs by comparison with a band common to all organisms tested. The chemotype profiles produced were different for every separate species and serovar sampled. These findings suggest that matrix solid-phase dispersion and subsequent thin-layer chromatography may have the sensitivity and flexibility to characterize and identify mycobacteria at the species and subspecies levels and potentially to identify clinical isolates of mycobacteria that have been difficult to identify by standard means. The technique has certain advantages over current biochemical, immunologic, and genetic methods because it is relatively simple to perform, is inexpensive, and requires a small amount of bacterial sample.
Most of environmental mycobacteria have been previously demonstrated to resist free-living amoeba with subsequent increased virulence and resistance to antibiotics and biocides. The Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) comprises of environmental organisms that inhabit a wide variety of ecological niches and exhibit a significant degree of genetic variability. We herein studied the intra-ameobal location of all members of the MAC as model organisms for environmental mycobacteria.
Type strains for M. avium, Mycobacterium intracellulare, Mycobacterium chimaera, Mycobacterium colombiense, Mycobacterium arosiense, Mycobacterium marseillense, Mycobacterium timonense and Mycobacterium bouchedurhonense were co-cultivated with the free-living amoeba Acanthamoeba polyphaga strain Linc-AP1. Microscopic analyses demonstrated the engulfment and replication of mycobacteria into vacuoles of A. polyphaga trophozoites. Mycobacteria were further entrapped within amoebal cysts, and survived encystment as demonstrated by subculturing. Electron microscopy observations show that, three days after entrapment into A. polyphaga cysts, all MAC members typically resided within the exocyst.
Combined with published data, these observations indicate that mycobacteria are unique among amoeba-resistant bacteria, in residing within the exocyst.
We evaluated a new line probe assay (LiPA) kit to identify Mycobacterium species and to detect mutations related to drug resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. A total of 554 clinical isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (n = 316), Mycobacterium avium (n = 71), Mycobacterium intracellulare (n = 51), Mycobacterium kansasii (n = 54), and other Mycobacterium species (n = 62) were tested with the LiPA kit in six hospitals. The LiPA kit was also used to directly test 163 sputum specimens. The results of LiPA identification of Mycobacterium species in clinical isolates were almost identical to those of conventional methods. Compared with standard drug susceptibility testing results for the clinical isolates, LiPA showed a sensitivity and specificity of 98.9% and 97.3%, respectively, for detecting rifampin (RIF)-resistant clinical isolates; 90.6% and 100%, respectively, for isoniazid (INH) resistance; 89.7% and 96.0%, respectively, for pyrazinamide (PZA) resistance; and 93.0% and 100%, respectively, for levofloxacin (LVX) resistance. The LiPA kit could detect target species directly in sputum specimens, with a sensitivity of 85.6%. Its sensitivity and specificity for detecting RIF-, PZA-, and LVX-resistant isolates in the sputum specimens were both 100%, and those for detecting INH-resistant isolates were 75.0% and 92.9%, respectively. The kit was able to identify mycobacterial bacilli at the species level, as well as drug-resistant phenotypes, with a high sensitivity and specificity.
Mycobacterium simiae is a non-tuberculosis mycobacterium causing pulmonary infections in both immunocompetent and imunocompromized patients. We announce the draft genome sequence of M. simiae DSM 44165T. The 5,782,968-bp long genome with 65.15% GC content (one chromosome, no plasmid) contains 5,727 open reading frames (33% with unknown function and 11 ORFs sizing more than 5000 -bp), three rRNA operons, 52 tRNA, one 66-bp tmRNA matching with tmRNA tags from Mycobacterium avium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium bovis, Mycobacterium microti, Mycobacterium marinum, and Mycobacterium africanum and 389 DNA repetitive sequences. Comparing ORFs and size distribution between M. simiae and five other Mycobacterium species M. simiae clustered with M. abscessus and M. smegmatis. A 40-kb prophage was predicted in addition to two prophage-like elements, 7-kb and 18-kb in size, but no mycobacteriophage was seen after the observation of 106
M. simiae cells. Fifteen putative CRISPRs were found. Three genes were predicted to encode resistance to aminoglycosides, betalactams and macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin B. A total of 163 CAZYmes were annotated. M. simiae contains ESX-1 to ESX-5 genes encoding for a type-VII secretion system. Availability of the genome sequence may help depict the unique properties of this environmental, opportunistic pathogen.
Mycobacterium simiae draft genome; non-tuberculous mycobacteria; SOLiD
A new DNA probe assay (INNO LiPA Mycobacteria; Innogenetics, Ghent, Belgium) for the simultaneous identification, by means of reverse hybridization and line-probe technology, of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, Mycobacterium kansasii, Mycobacterium xenopi, Mycobacterium gordonae, the species of the Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC), Mycobacterium scrofulaceum, and Mycobacterium chelonae was evaluated on a panel of 238 strains including, besides representatives of all the taxa identifiable by the system, a number of other mycobacteria, some of which are known to be problematic with the only other commercial DNA probe system (AccuProbe; Gen-Probe, San Diego, Calif.), and two nocardiae. The new kit, which includes a control probe reacting with the whole genus Mycobacterium, correctly identified 99.6% of the strains tested; the one discrepancy, which remained unresolved, concerned an isolate identified as MAC intermediate by INNO LiPA Mycobacteria and as Mycobacterium intracellulare by AccuProbe. In five cases, because of an imperfect checking of hybridization temperature, a very slight, nonspecific, line was visible which was no longer evident when the test was repeated. Two strains whose DNA failed amplification at the first attempt were regularly identified when the test was repeated. Interestingly, the novel kit dodged all the pitfalls presented by the strains giving anomalous reactions with AccuProbe. A unique feature of INNO LiPA Mycobacteria is its ability to recognize different subgroups within the species M. kansasii and M. chelonae, while the declared overlapping reactivity of probe 4 with some M. kansasii and Mycobacterium gastri organisms and of probe 9 with MAC, Mycobacterium haemophilum, and Mycobacterium malmoense, may furnish a useful aid for their identification. The turnaround time of the method is approximately 6 h, including a preliminary PCR amplification.
The CapitalBio Mycobacterium identification microarray system is a rapid system for the detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The performance of this system was assessed with 24 reference strains, 486 Mycobacterium tuberculosis clinical isolates, and 40 clinical samples and then compared to the “gold standard” of DNA sequencing. The CapitalBio Mycobacterium identification microarray system showed highly concordant identification results of 100% and 98.4% for Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC) and nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of the CapitalBio Mycobacterium identification array for identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates were 99.6% and 100%, respectively, for direct detection and identification of clinical samples, and the overall sensitivity was 52.5%. It was 100% for sputum, 16.7% for pleural fluid, and 10% for bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, respectively. The total assay was completed in 6 h, including DNA extraction, PCR, and hybridization. The results of this study confirm the utility of this system for the rapid identification of mycobacteria and suggest that the CapitalBio Mycobacterium identification array is a molecular diagnostic technique with high sensitivity and specificity that has the capacity to quickly identify most mycobacteria.
A new crystalline reagent for nitrate reductase tests was compared with standard liquid reagents on 437 strains of mycobacteria. The results for isolates of Mycobacterium avium complex, Mycobacterium kansasii, Mycobacterium gordonae, Mycobacterium scrofulaceum, Mycobacterium fortuitum, and Mycobacterium chelonei agreed 100% with the expected results. Of the 177 Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates, 4 were negative by the conventional method. Two of these four isolates were positive with the new reagent. Of the positive nitrate tests carried out with liquid reagents, 42% flashed instantly or faded in color; none of the tests carried out with the new crystalline reagent flashed or faded. A stronger color reaction was seen for 28% of the positive tests with the new reagent.
MICs of linezolid in broth microdilutions were tested against 341 slowly growing nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) belonging to 15 species. The proposed linezolid susceptibility MICs for all Mycobacterium marinum, Mycobacterium szulgai, Mycobacterium kansasii, Mycobacterium malmoense, and Mycobacterium xenopi isolates and for 90% of Mycobacterium gordonae and Mycobacterium triplex isolates were ≤8 μg/ml. Linezolid has excellent therapeutic potential against most species of NTM.
Three cases of feline atypical mycobacteriosis from different geographical regions in North America were characterized by large clusters of filamentous bacteria visible on hematoxylin-and-eosin-stained tissue sections. PCR amplification demonstrated the presence of Mycobacterium-specific nucleic acid in samples of skin lesions from these cases. PCR-assisted cloning and DNA sequence analysis of a 541-bp length of the Mycobacterium 16S rRNA gene generated DNA sequences which were >95% identical, suggesting that the three isolates were closely related. Two of the sequences were 99% identical and may represent the same species. Alignment with comparable 16S rRNA gene sequences from 66 Mycobacterium species and partially characterized isolates highlighted similarities (>94%) with Mycobacterium bohemicum, Mycobacterium haemophilum, Mycobacterium ulcerans, Mycobacterium avium subsp. avium, and isolate IWGMT 90242. Parsimony analysis of sequence data suggested relatedness to M. leprae. Significant molecular genetic and pathobiological differences between these three similar isolates and other known species of mycobacteria suggested that the organisms may not have been described previously and that these cases may represent a new form of mycobacterial disease in cats. We suggest the term “Mycobacterium visibilis” to describe the organism from which the two nearly identical sequences were obtained.
The classical Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MtbC) subspecies include Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium africanum (subtypes I and II), Mycobacterium bovis (along with the attenuated M. bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin [BCG]), and Mycobacterium microti; increasingly recognized MtbC groupings include Mycobacterium bovis subsp. caprae and “Mycobacterium tuberculosis subsp. canettii.” Previous investigations have documented each MtbC subspecies as a source of animal and/or human tuberculosis. However, study of these organisms is hindered by the lack of a single protocol that quickly and easily differentiates all of the MtbC groupings. Towards this end we have developed a rapid, simple, and reliable PCR-based MtbC typing method that makes use of MtbC chromosomal region-of-difference deletion loci. Here, seven primer pairs (which amplify within the loci 16S rRNA, Rv0577, IS1561′, Rv1510, Rv1970, Rv3877/8, and Rv3120) were run in separate but simultaneous reactions. Each primer pair either specifically amplified a DNA fragment of a unique size or failed, depending upon the source mycobacterial DNA. The pattern of amplification products from all of the reactions, visualized by agarose gel electrophoresis, allowed immediate identification either as MtbC composed of M. tuberculosis (or M. africanum subtype II), M. africanum subtype I, M. bovis, M. bovis BCG, M. caprae, M. microti, or “M. canettii” or as a Mycobacterium other than MtbC (MOTT). This MtbC PCR typing panel provides an advanced approach to determine the subspecies of MtbC isolates and to differentiate them from clinically important MOTT species. It has proven beneficial in the management of Mycobacterium collections and may be applied for practical clinical and epidemiological use.
Motility in mycobacteria was described for the first time in 1999. It was reported that Mycobacterium smegmatis and Mycobacterium avium could spread on the surface of solid growth medium by a sliding mechanism and that the presence of cell wall glycopeptidolipids was essential for motility. We recently reported that Mycobacterium vaccae can also spread on growth medium surfaces; however, only smooth colonies presented this property. Smooth colonies of M. vaccae do not produce glycopeptidolipids but contain a saturated polyester that is absent in rough colonies. Here, we demonstrate that Mycobacterium chubuense, Mycobacterium gilvum, Mycobacterium obuense, and Mycobacterium parafortuitum, which are phylogenetically related to M. vaccae, are also motile. Such motility is restricted to smooth colonies, since natural rough mutants are nonmotile. Thin-layer chromatography analysis of the content of cell wall lipids confirmed the absence of glycopeptidolipids. However, compounds like the above-mentioned M. vaccae polyester were detected in all the strains but only in smooth colonies. Scanning electron microscopy showed great differences in the arrangement of the cells between smooth and rough colonies. The data obtained suggest that motility is a common property of environmental mycobacteria, and this capacity correlates with the smooth colonial morphotype. The species studied in this work do not contain glycopeptidolipids, so cell wall compounds or extracellular materials other than glycopeptidolipids are implicated in mycobacterial motility. Furthermore, both smooth motile and rough nonmotile variants formed biofilms on glass and polystyrene surfaces.
Although commercially available DNA probes for identification of mycobacteria have been investigated with large numbers of strains, nothing is known about the ability of these probes to identify less frequently encountered species. We analyzed, with INNO LiPA MYCOBACTERIA (Innogenetics) and with GenoType Mycobacterium (Hein), 317 strains, belonging to 136 species, 61 of which had never been assayed before. INNO LiPA misidentified 20 taxa, the majority of which cross-reacted with the probes specific for Mycobacterium fortuitum and the Mycobacterium avium-Mycobacterium intracellulare-Mycobacterium scrofulaceum group. GenoType misidentified 28 taxa, most of which cross-reacted with M. intracellulare and M. fortuitum probes; furthermore, eight species were not recognized as members of the genus Mycobacterium. Among 54 strains investigated with AccuProbe (Gen-Probe), cross-reactions were detected for nine species, with the probes aiming at the M. avium complex being most involved in cross-reactions.
We have isolated and identified the biotype of environmental mycobacteria from the expectorate of leprosy patients, their contacts, their drinking water supply and also from the sputa samples of tuberculosis patients. 78% of the isolates from lepromatous leprosy patients and their contacts wereMycobacterium fortuitum- chelonae complex (MFC), 9%Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC), 9%Mycobacterium scrofulaceum and 4% wereMycobacterium smegmatis. Among the isolates from tuberculosis patients 63% belonged toM. fortuitum- chelonae complex, 19% toM. avium complex, 12% toMycobacterium Kansasii and 6% toM. smegmatis. All the isolates were multi-drug resistant when tested for sensitivity total of 21 drugs. TheMycobacterium fortuitum-chelonae complex organisms from leprosy contacts were more sensitive to rifampicin than those isolated from lepromatous leprosy and tuberculosis patients. Among 23 isolates from leprosy patients one isolate was resistant to 20 drugs, one isolate to 17 drugs and another isolate was resistant to 13 drugs. Among the 18 isolates from drinking water supply six showed resistance to more than 12 drugs. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and subsequent hybridisation with specific probes confirmed all the isolated strains as nontuberculous mycobacteria (Using genus primers and probe sensitivity 100%) and none asM. tuberculosis, suggesting that PCR could be used to rapidly identify mycobacteria at the genus level and to rule out tuberculosis in leprosy patients at an early stage to decide on appropriate course of therapy.
Environmental mycobacteria; leprosy; tuberculosis; drug resistance
MycoProtease-DB is an online MS SQL and CGI-PERL driven relational database that domiciles protease information of
Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) complex and Nontuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM), whose complete genome sequence is
available. Our effort is to provide comprehensive information on proteases of 5 strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (H37Rv, H37Ra,
CDC1551, F11 and KZN 1435), 3 strains of Mycobacterium bovis (AF2122/97, BCG Pasteur 1173P2 and BCG Tokyo 172) and 4 strains
of NTM (Mycobacterium avium 104, Mycobacterium smegmatis MC2 155, Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis K-10 and Nocardia
farcinica IFM 10152) at gene, protein and structural level. MycoProtease-DB currently hosts 1324 proteases, which include 906
proteases from MTB complex with 237distinct proteases & 418 from NTM with 404 distinct proteases. Flexible database design and
easy expandability & retrieval of information are the main features of MycoProtease-DB. All the data were validated with various
online resources and published literatures for reliable serving as comprehensive resources of various Mycobacterial proteases.
The Database is publicly available at http://www.bicjbtdrc-mgims.in/MycoProtease-DB/
Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex; Database; Protease; NTM
Mycobacterium abscessus is a member of the Rapidly Growing Mycobacterium (RGM). The incidence of Mycobacterium abscessus infections has steadily been increasing over the last decade. We report the case of an epidural abscess caused by Mycobacterium abscessus. RGM’s have infrequently been reported as spinal infections and we found no prior cases reporting M. abscessus as the definitive etiologic agent of an epidural abscess.
A 50 year old female presented with significant back pain and was found to have an epidural abscess by magnetic resonance imaging. The abscess was drained via needle. Initial cultures were negative for bacterial pathogens, and the patient was discharged to a skilled nursing facility for empiric antibiotic treatment. Eventually the culture grew Mycobacterium abscessus. The patient had unfortunately left the nursing facility and was lost to follow up.
Mycobacterium abscessus is an increasingly recognized pathogen with particular risk factors that physicians should be aware of. Central nervous system infections are rare, but do occur. Treatment is difficult, though multiple antibiotic regimens have been reported successful. Surgical debridement is often needed.
Mycobacterium abscessus; epidural abscess; osteomyelitis
Microcosm studies were conducted to evaluate the survival and performance of a recently discovered polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-degrading Mycobacterium sp. when this organism was added to sediment and water from a pristine ecosystem. Microcosms inoculated with the Mycobacterium sp. showed enhanced mineralization, singly and as components in a mixture, of 2-methylnaphthalene, phenanthrene, pyrene, and benzo[alpha]pyrene. Studies utilizing pyrene as the sole added PAH showed that the Mycobacterium sp. survived in microcosms for 6 weeks both with and without preexposure to PAH and mineralized multiple doses of pyrene. Pyrene mineralization rates for sterilized microcosms inoculated with the Mycobacterium sp. showed that competition with indigenous microorganisms did not adversely affect survival of or pyrene degradation by the Mycobacterium sp. Pyrene mineralization by the Mycobacterium sp. was not enhanced by inorganic nutrient enrichment and was hindered by organic nutrient enrichment, which appeared to result from overgrowth of indigenous bacteria. This study demonstrates the versatility of the PAH-degrading Mycobacterium sp. and expands its potential applications to include the degradation of two-, three-, four-, and five-ringed PAHs in sediments.
The in vitro susceptibility of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium bovis, Mycobacterium africanum, Mycobacterium avium, Mycobacterium fortuitum, and Mycobacterium chelonae (M. chelonei) to ticarcillin in combination with calvulanic acid (CA) was studied by the agar dilution method. All the M. tuberculosis, M. bovis, and M. africanum strains were inhibited at a ticarcillin concentration of 32 micrograms/ml or lower in combination with 5 micrograms of CA. M. chelonae and M. avium strains proved resistant to more than 128 micrograms of ticarcillin plus 5 micrograms of CA per ml. M. fortuitum strains needed 128 micrograms of ticarcillin plus 5 micrograms of CA to inhibit approximately 30% of the isolates.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis rapidly reduces nitrate, leading to the accumulation of nitrite. This characteristic served for the past 40 years to differentiate M. tuberculosis from other members of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC), such as Mycobacterium bovis (non-BCG [referred to here as simply “M. bovis”]), Mycobacterium bovis BCG, Mycobacterium africanum, or Mycobacterium microti. Here, a narG deletion in M. tuberculosis showed that rapid nitrite accumulation of M. tuberculosis is mediated by narGHJI. Analysis of narG mutants of M. bovis and M. bovis BCG showed that, as in M. tuberculosis, nitrite accumulation was mediated by narGHJI, and no other nitrate reductase was involved. However, in contrast to M. tuberculosis, accumulation was delayed for several days. Comparison of the narGHJI promoter revealed that, at nucleotide −215 prior to the start codon of narG, M. tuberculosis carried a thymine residue, whereas the bovine mycobacteria carried a cytosine residue. Using LightCycler technology we examined 62 strains of M. tuberculosis, M. bovis, M. bovis BCG, M. microti, and M. africanum and demonstrated that this single nucleotide polymorphism was specific for M. tuberculosis. For further differentiation within the MTBC, we included, by using LightCycler technology, the previously described analysis of oxyR polymorphism, which is specific for the bovine mycobacteria, and the RD1 polymorphism, which is specific for M. bovis BCG. Based on these results, we suggest a LightCycler format for rapid and unambiguous diagnosis of M. tuberculosis, M. bovis, and M. bovis BCG.
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis is genetically similar to other members of the Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC), some of which are nonpathogenic and widespread in the environment. We have utilized an M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis whole-genome microarray representing over 95% of the predicted coding sequences to examine the genetic conservation among 10 M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis isolates, two isolates each of Mycobacterium avium subsp. silvaticum and Mycobacterium avium subsp. avium, and a single isolate each of both Mycobacterium intracellulare and Mycobacterium smegmatis. Genomic DNA from each isolate was competitively hybridized with DNA from M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis K10, and open reading frames (ORFs) were classified as present, divergent, or intermediate. None of the M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis isolates had ORFs classified as divergent. The two M. avium subsp. avium isolates had 210 and 135 divergent ORFs, while the two M. avium subsp. silvaticum isolates examined had 77 and 103 divergent ORFs. Similarly, 130 divergent ORFs were identified in M. intracellulare. A set of 97 ORFs were classified as divergent or intermediate in all of the nonparatuberculosis MAC isolates tested. Many of these ORFs are clustered together on the genome in regions with relatively low average GC content compared with the entire genome and contain mobile genetic elements. One of these regions of sequence divergence contained genes homologous to a mammalian cell entry (mce) operon. Our results indicate that closely related MAC mycobacteria can be distinguished from M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis by multiple clusters of divergent ORFs.
The surface-exposed lipids of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium avium, Mycobacterium kansasii, Mycobacterium gastri, Mycobacterium smegmatis, and Mycobacterium aurum were isolated by gentle mechanical treatment of cells with glass beads. Analysis of the exposed lipids demonstrated a selective location of classes of ubiquitous lipids on the surfaces of mycobacteria. While phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylinositol mannosides were exposed in all the species examined, dimycoloyl trehalose ("cord factor") was identified in the surface components of M. aurum only. Furthermore, monomycoloyl trehaloses and triacylglycerides were identified in the surface-exposed lipids of M. avium and M. smegmatis but not in those of the other mycobacterial species examined. The species- and type-species specific lipids were present on the mycobacterial cell surface: phenolic glycolipids, dimycocerosates of phthiocerols, and lipooligosaccharides were identified in the surface-exposed materials of M. tuberculosis (Canetti), M. kansasii, and M. gastri, whereas glycopeptidolipids were identified in the outermost lipid constituents of M. avium and M. smegmatis. This difference in the surface exposure of lipids of various mycobacterial species may reflect differences in their cell envelope organizations. Brief treatments of M. tuberculosis with Tween 80 prior to the use of glass beads led to erosion of regions of the capsule to expose gradually both cord factor and other lipids on the cell surface of the tubercle bacillus, demonstrating that the latter lipids are buried more deeply in the cell envelope and leading to the proposal of a scheme for the location of the capsular lipids of the tubercle bacillus.
MICs of clarithromycin against 324 clinical isolates belonging to eight species of slowly growing nontuberculous mycobacteria were determined by using a broth microdilution system. Isolates were inoculated into twofold drug dilutions in Middlebrook 7H9 broth (pH corrected to 7.4) and then incubated at 30 degrees C for 7 days for Mycobacterium marinum and for 14 days for all other species. The MIC for 90% of the strains (MIC90) was less than or equal to 0.5 micrograms/ml for isolates of Mycobacterium gordonae (6 strains), Mycobacterium scrofulaceum (5 strains), Mycobacterium szulgai (6 strains), and Mycobacterium kansasii (35 strains). MICs for M. marinum (25 strains) and Mycobacterium avium complex (237 strains) were higher, but 100% and 89% of the strains, respectively, were susceptible to less than or equal to 4 micrograms/ml. In contrast, MICs for five of six M. simiae strains were greater than 8 micrograms/ml, and the range of MICs for Mycobacterium nonchromogenicum varied from less than or equal to 0.125 to 8 micrograms/ml. For the 237 isolates of M. avium complex, the MIC50 was 2 micrograms/ml and the MIC90 was 8 micrograms/ml. MICs for most isolates (77%) were in the 1- to 4-micrograms/ml range. For the 80 isolates in this group known to be from AIDS patients, the MIC50 was 4 micrograms/ml and the MIC90 was 8 micrograms/ml. These MIC studies combined with preliminary clinical trials suggest that clarithromycin may be useful for drug therapy of most species of the slowly growing nontuberculous mycobacteria except M. simiae.
The extracytoplasmic function (ECF) sigma factors constitute a diverse group of alternative sigma factors that have been demonstrated to regulate gene expression in response to environmental conditions in several bacterial species. Genes encoding an ECF sigma factor of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium avium, and Mycobacterium smegmatis, designated sigE, were cloned and analyzed. Southern blot analysis demonstrated the presence of a single copy of this gene in these species and in Mycobacterium bovis BCG, Mycobacterium leprae, and Mycobacterium fortuitum. Sequence analysis showed the sigE gene to be highly conserved among M. tuberculosis, M. avium, M. smegmatis, and M. leprae. Recombinant M. tuberculosis SigE, when combined with core RNA polymerase from M. smegmatis, reconstituted specific RNA polymerase activity on sigE in vitro, demonstrating that this gene encodes a functional sigma factor. Two in vivo transcription start sites for sigE were also identified in M. smegmatis and M. bovis BCG. Comparison of wild-type M. smegmatis with a sigE mutant strain demonstrated decreased survival of the mutant under conditions of high-temperature heat shock, acidic pH, exposure to detergent, and oxidative stress. An inducible protective response to oxidative stress present in the wild type was absent in the mutant. The mycobacterial SigE protein, although nonessential for viability in vitro, appears to play a role in the ability of these organisms to withstand a variety of stresses.