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1.  Molecular Epidemiology of Tuberculosis: Current Insights 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2006;19(4):658-685.
Molecular epidemiologic studies of tuberculosis (TB) have focused largely on utilizing molecular techniques to address short- and long-term epidemiologic questions, such as in outbreak investigations and in assessing the global dissemination of strains, respectively. This is done primarily by examining the extent of genetic diversity of clinical strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. When molecular methods are used in conjunction with classical epidemiology, their utility for TB control has been realized. For instance, molecular epidemiologic studies have added much-needed accuracy and precision in describing transmission dynamics, and they have facilitated investigation of previously unresolved issues, such as estimates of recent-versus-reactive disease and the extent of exogenous reinfection. In addition, there is mounting evidence to suggest that specific strains of M. tuberculosis belonging to discrete phylogenetic clusters (lineages) may differ in virulence, pathogenesis, and epidemiologic characteristics, all of which may significantly impact TB control and vaccine development strategies. Here, we review the current methods, concepts, and applications of molecular approaches used to better understand the epidemiology of TB.
PMCID: PMC1592690  PMID: 17041139
2.  Definition of the Beijing/W Lineage of Mycobacterium tuberculosis on the Basis of Genetic Markers 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2004;42(9):4040-4049.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis Beijing genotype strains are highly prevalent in Asian countries and in the territory of the former Soviet Union. They are increasingly reported in other areas of the world and are frequently associated with tuberculosis outbreaks and drug resistance. Beijing genotype strains, including W strains, have been characterized by their highly similar multicopy IS6110 restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) patterns, deletion of spacers 1 to 34 in the direct repeat region (Beijing spoligotype), and insertion of IS6110 in the genomic dnaA-dnaN locus. In this study the suitability and comparability of these three genetic markers to identify members of the Beijing lineage were evaluated. In a well-characterized collection of 1,020 M. tuberculosis isolates representative of the IS6110 RFLP genotypes found in The Netherlands, strains of two clades had spoligotypes characteristic of the Beijing lineage. A set of 19 Beijing reference RFLP patterns was selected to retrieve all Beijing strains from the Dutch database. These reference patterns gave a sensitivity of 98.1% and a specificity of 99.7% for identifying Beijing strains (defined by spoligotyping) in an international database of 1,084 strains. The usefulness of the reference patterns was also assessed with large DNA fingerprint databases in two other European countries and for identification strains from the W lineage found in the United States. A standardized definition for the identification of M. tuberculosis strains belonging to the Beijing/W lineage, as described in this work, will facilitate further studies on the spread and characterization of this widespread genotype family of M. tuberculosis strains.
PMCID: PMC516354  PMID: 15364987
3.  Snapshot of Moving and Expanding Clones of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Their Global Distribution Assessed by Spoligotyping in an International Study†  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2003;41(5):1963-1970.
The present update on the global distribution of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex spoligotypes provides both the octal and binary descriptions of the spoligotypes for M. tuberculosis complex, including Mycobacterium bovis, from >90 countries (13,008 patterns grouped into 813 shared types containing 11,708 isolates and 1,300 orphan patterns). A number of potential indices were developed to summarize the information on the biogeographical specificity of a given shared type, as well as its geographical spreading (matching code and spreading index, respectively). To facilitate the analysis of hundreds of spoligotypes each made up of a binary succession of 43 bits of information, a number of major and minor visual rules were also defined. A total of six major rules (A to F) with the precise description of the extra missing spacers (minor rules) were used to define 36 major clades (or families) of M. tuberculosis. Some major clades identified were the East African-Indian (EAI) clade, the Beijing clade, the Haarlem clade, the Latin American and Mediterranean (LAM) clade, the Central Asian (CAS) clade, a European clade of IS6110 low banders (X; highly prevalent in the United States and United Kingdom), and a widespread yet poorly defined clade (T). When the visual rules defined above were used for an automated labeling of the 813 shared types to define nine superfamilies of strains (Mycobacterium africanum, Beijing, M. bovis, EAI, CAS, T, Haarlem, X, and LAM), 96.9% of the shared types received a label, showing the potential for automated labeling of M. tuberculosis families in well-defined phylogeographical families. Intercontinental matches of shared types among eight continents and subcontinents (Africa, North America, Central America, South America, Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia, and the Far East) are analyzed and discussed.
PMCID: PMC154710  PMID: 12734235
4.  Spoligologos: A Bioinformatic Approach to Displaying and Analyzing Mycobacterium tuberculosis Data 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2002;8(11):1306-1309.
Spacer oligonucleotide (spoligotyping) analysis is a rapid polymerase chain reaction–based method of DNA fingerprinting the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex. We examined spoligotype data using a bioinformatic tool (sequence logo analysis) to elucidate undisclosed phylogenetic relationships and gain insights into the global dissemination of strains of tuberculosis. Logo analysis of spoligotyping data provides a simple way to describe a fingerprint signature and may be useful in categorizing unique spoligotypes patterns as they are discovered. Large databases of DNA fingerprint information, such as those from the U.S. National Tuberculosis Genotyping and Surveillance Network and the European Concerted Action on Tuberculosis, contain information on thousands of strains from diverse regions. The description of related spoligotypes has depended on exhaustive listings of the individual spoligotyping patterns. Logo analysis may become another useful graphic method of visualizing and presenting spoligotyping clusters from these databases.
PMCID: PMC2738554  PMID: 12453361
tuberculosis; DNA fingerprinting; bioinformatics; spoligotyping
5.  Global Distribution of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Spoligotypes 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2002;8(11):1347-1349.
We present a short summary of recent observations on the global distribution of the major clades of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, the causative agent of tuberculosis. This global distribution was defined by data-mining of an international spoligotyping database, SpolDB3. This database contains 11,708 patterns from as many clinical isolates originating from more than 90 countries. The 11,708 spoligotypes were clustered into 813 shared types. A total of 1,300 orphan patterns (clinical isolates showing a unique spoligotype) were also detected.
PMCID: PMC2738532  PMID: 12453368
Mycobacterium tuberculosis; spoligotyping
6.  Worldwide Occurrence of Beijing/W Strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis: A Systematic Review 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2002;8(8):843-849.
Strains of the Beijing/W genotype family of Mycobacterium tuberculosis have caused large outbreaks of tuberculosis, sometimes involving multidrug resistance. This genetically highly conserved family of M. tuberculosis strains predominates in some geographic areas. We have conducted a systematic review of the published reports on these strains to determine their worldwide distribution, spread, and association with drug resistance. Sixteen studies reported prevalence of Beijing strains defined by spoligotyping; another 10 used other definitions. Beijing strains were most prevalent in Asia but were found worldwide. Associations with drug resistance varied: in New York, Cuba, Estonia, and Vietnam, Beijing strains were strongly associated with drug resistance, but elsewhere the association was weak or absent. Although few reports have measured trends in prevalence, the ubiquity of the Beijing strains and their frequent association with outbreaks and drug resistance underline their importance.
PMCID: PMC2732522  PMID: 12141971
Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Beijing family; molecular epidemiology; resistance; spread

Results 1-6 (6)