The Mycobacterium smegmatis genome contains six operons designated mce (mammalian cell entry). These operons, which encode membrane and exported proteins, are highly conserved in pathogenic and non-pathogenic mycobacteria. Although the function of the Mce protein family has not yet been established in Mycobacterium smegmatis, the requirement of the mce4 operon for cholesterol utilization and uptake by Mycobacterium tuberculosis has recently been demonstrated. In this study, we report the construction of an M. smegmatis knock-out mutant deficient in the expression of all six mce operons. The consequences of these mutations were studied by analyzing physiological parameters and phenotypic traits. Differences in colony morphology, biofilm formation and aggregation in liquid cultures were observed, indicating that mce operons of M. smegmatis are implicated in the maintenance of the surface properties of the cell. Importantly, the mutant strain showed reduced cholesterol uptake when compared to the parental strain. Further cholesterol uptake studies using single mce mutant strains showed that the mutation of operon mce4 was reponsible for the cholesterol uptake failure detected in the sextuple mce mutant. This finding demonstrates that mce4 operon is involved in cholesterol transport in M. smegmatis.
Cell envelope; Mce operons; Mycobacterium smegmatis; Mycobacterium tuberculosis attenuation
The Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) consists of closely related species that cause tuberculosis in both humans and animals. This illness, still today, remains to be one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality throughout the world. The mycobacteria enter the host by air, and, once in the lungs, are phagocytated by macrophages. This may lead to the rapid elimination of the bacillus or to the triggering of an active tuberculosis infection. A large number of different virulence factors have evolved in MTBC members as a response to the host immune reaction. The aim of this review is to describe the bacterial genes/proteins that are essential for the virulence of MTBC species, and that have been demonstrated in an in vivo model of infection. Knowledge of MTBC virulence factors is essential for the development of new vaccines and drugs to help manage the disease toward an increasingly more tuberculosis-free world.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis; virulence factors; virulence; pathogen; virulence genes
Prospection of cellulose-degrading bacteria in natural environments allows the identification of novel cellulases and hemicellulases that could be useful in second-generation bioethanol production. In this work, cellulolytic bacteria were isolated from decaying native forest soils by enrichment on cellulose as sole carbon source. There was a predominance of Gram positive isolates that belonged to the phyla Proteobacteria and Firmicutes. Many primary isolates with cellulolytic activity were not pure cultures. From these consortia, isolation of pure constituents was attempted in order to test the hypothesis whether microbial consortia are needed for full degradation of complex substrates. Two isolates, CB1-2-A-5 and VG-4-A-2, were obtained as the pure constituents of CB1-2 and VG-4 consortia, respectively. Based on 16S RNA sequence, they could be classified as Variovorax paradoxus and Paenibacillus alvei. Noteworthy, only VG-4 consortium showed measurable xylan degrading capacity and signs of filter paper degradation. However, no xylan or filter paper degrading capacities were observed for the pure cultures isolated from it, suggesting that other members of this consortium were necessary for these hydrolyzing activities. Our results indicated that Paenibacillus sp. and Variovorax sp. as well as VG-4 consortium, might be a useful source of hydrolytic enzymes. Moreover, although Variovorax sp. had been previously identified in metagenomic studies of cellulolytic communities, this is the first report on the isolation and characterization of this microorganism as a cellulolytic genus.
Cellulolytic bacteria; variovorax; paenibacillus; soil
Mycobacterium bovis is the causative agent of tuberculosis in cattle but also infects other animals, including humans. Previous studies in cattle have demonstrated that the protection induced by BCG is not complete. In order to improve the protection efficacy of BCG, in this study we overexpressed Ag85B in a BCG Pasteur strain, by using an expression system based on the use of an auxotrophic strain for the leucine amino acid, and complementation with leuD. We found that vaccination of cattle with BCG overexpressing Ag85B induced higher production of IL-17 and IL-4 mRNA upon purified protein derivative (PPDB) stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) than vaccination with BCG. Moreover, the IL-17 mRNA expression after vaccination negatively correlated with disease severity resulting from a subsequent challenge with M. bovis, suggesting that this cytokine is a potential biomarker of cattle protection against bovine tuberculosis. Importantly, vaccination with the recombinant BCG vaccine protected cattle better than the wild-type BCG Pasteur.
The limited efficacy of the BCG vaccine for tuberculosis, coupled with emerging information suggesting that it is poorly protective against newly emerging strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis such as the W-Beijing isolates, makes it paramount to search for more potent alternatives. One such class of candidates is attenuated mutants derived from M. tuberculosis itself. We demonstrate here, in an initial short term assay, that mutants derived from disruption of the mce genes of the bacillus were highly protective in guinea pigs exposed by low dose aerosol infection with the virulent W-Beijing isolate SA161. This protection was demonstrated by a significant reduction in the numbers of bacilli harvested from the lungs, and dramatic improvements in lung histopathology.
Tuberculosis; Vaccination; Guinea pig; Attenuated mutants
The generation of efficient candidate vaccines against bovine tuberculosis will contribute to the control of this zoonotic disease. Rationally attenuated Mycobacterium bovis strains generated by knockout of virulence genes are promising candidate vaccines. However, to be effective, these candidate vaccines should at least maintain the immunological properties of their virulent parental M. bovis strains. Therefore, the aim of this study was to obtain an M. bovis strain deleted in the mce2 genes and evaluate the effect of the mutation on the immunological profile elicited by the bacteria in cattle. We showed that the activation of CD4+ T cells in cattle inoculated with the mutant strain was equivalent to that in animals inoculated with the parental strain. Moreover, after in vitro stimulation, peripheral blood mononuclear cells from animals inoculated with the mutant produced higher levels of mRNA Th-1 cytokines than the parental strain. Therefore, these results indicate that the mce2 mutant is a promising candidate vaccine against bovine tuberculosis.
The P27-P55 (lprG-Rv1410c) operon is crucial for the survival of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of human tuberculosis, during infection in mice. P55 encodes an efflux pump that has been shown to provide Mycobacterium smegmatis and Mycobacterium bovis BCG with resistance to several drugs, while P27 encodes a mannosylated glycoprotein previously described as an antigen that modulates the immune response against mycobacteria. The objective of this study was to determine the individual contribution of the proteins encoded in the P27-P55 operon to the resistance to toxic compounds and to the cell wall integrity of M. tuberculosis.
In order to test the susceptibility of a mutant of M. tuberculosis H37Rv in the P27-P55 operon to malachite green, sodium dodecyl sulfate, ethidium bromide, and first-line antituberculosis drugs, this strain together with the wild type strain and a set of complemented strains were cultivated in the presence and in the absence of these drugs. In addition, the malachite green decolorization rate of each strain was obtained from decolorization curves of malachite green in PBS containing bacterial suspensions.
The mutant strain decolorized malachite green faster than the wild type strain and was hypersensitive to both malachite green and ethidium bromide, and more susceptible to the first-line antituberculosis drugs: isoniazid and ethambutol. The pump inhibitor reserpine reversed M. tuberculosis resistance to ethidium bromide. These results suggest that P27-P55 functions through an efflux-pump like mechanism. In addition, deletion of the P27-P55 operon made M. tuberculosis susceptible to sodium dodecyl sulfate, suggesting that the lack of both proteins causes alterations in the cell wall permeability of the bacterium. Importantly, both P27 and P55 are required to restore the wild type phenotypes in the mutant.
The results clearly indicate that P27 and P55 are functionally connected in processes that involve the preservation of the cell wall and the transport of toxic compounds away from the cells.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis; lprG; P55; P27
In many regions of the world, wild mammals act as reservoir of Mycobacterium bovis, a situation that prevents the eradication of bovine tuberculosis. In order to observe whether a strain isolated from a wild boar, previously tested as highly virulent in a mice model, is also virulent in cattle, we performed cattle experimental inoculation with this strain
Groups of Friesian calves were either infected with the wild boar strain M. bovis 04-303 or with the bovine strain NCTC10772 as a control. We found that antigen-specific IFN-γ release in whole blood samples occurred earlier in animals infected with M. bovis 04-303. Both M. bovis strains resulted in a positive skin test, with animals infected with the wild boar isolate showing a stronger response. These results and the presence of more severe organ lesions, with granuloma and pneumonic areas in cattle demonstrate that the wild boar isolate is more virulent than the NCTC10772 strain. Additionally, we tested the infectivity of the M. bovis strains in guinea pigs and found that M. bovis 04-303 had the highest pathogenicity.
M. bovis strains isolated from wild boars may be pathogenic for cattle, producing TB lesions.
boars; tuberculosis; bovines; Mycobacterium bovis
A total of 143 Mycobacterium bovis isolates of pigs, from the most productive swine area in Argentina, were typed by spoligotyping. Twenty-two different spoligotypes were identified, and 133 (93%) isolates were grouped into 12 clusters. One of them, designed SB0140, was the most frequent because it held 83 (58%) isolates. This spoligotype also grouped 362 (43%) out of 841 isolates from previously typed cattle and, thus, constitutes the most frequent in our country. In addition, 135 (94%) isolates revealed spoligotypes identical to those of cattle, showing an epidemiological link. On the other hand, there were seven novel spoligotypes, six of which were also unique since they had only one isolate each. This study aimed to identify the spoligotypes of M. bovis isolated from pigs to contribute to a better understanding of the distribution of bovine tuberculosis in the main productive area of Argentina.
Enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) and enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) are two categories of E. coli strains associated with human disease. A major virulence factor of both pathotypes is the expression of a type three secretion system (TTSS), responsible for their ability to adhere to gut mucosa causing a characteristic attaching and effacing lesion (A/E). The TTSS translocates effector proteins directly into the host cell that subvert mammalian cell biochemistry.
We examined synthetic peptides designed to inhibit the TTSS. CoilA and CoilB peptides, both representing coiled-coil regions of the translocator protein EspA, and CoilD peptide, corresponding to a coiled–coil region of the needle protein EscF, were effective in inhibiting the TTSS dependent hemolysis of red blood cells by the EPEC E2348/69 strain. CoilA and CoilB peptides also reduced the formation of actin pedestals by the same strain in HEp-2 cells and impaired the TTSS-mediated protein translocation into the epithelial cell. Interestingly, CoilA and CoilB were able to block EspA assembly, destabilizing the TTSS and thereby Tir translocation. This blockage of EspA polymerization by CoilA or CoilB peptides, also inhibited the correct delivery of EspB and EspD as detected by immunoblotting. Interestingly, electron microscopy of bacteria incubated with the CoilA peptide showed a reduction of the length of EspA filaments.
Our data indicate that coiled-coil peptides can prevent the assembly and thus the functionality of the TTSS apparatus and suggest that these peptides could provide an attractive tool to block EPEC and EHEC pathogenesis.
The exported repetitive protein (erp) gene encodes a secreted 36-kDa protein with a central domain containing several proline-glycine-leucine-threonine-serine (PGLTS) repeats. It has been demonstrated that erp is a virulence-associated factor since the disruption of this gene impairs the growth of Mycobacterium bovis and Mycobacterium tuberculosis in mice.
In order to elucidate the function of Erp we searched for Erp-binding proteins from M. tuberculosis by using a bacterial two-hybrid system. Our results indicate that Erp interacts specifically with two putative membrane proteins, Rv1417 and Rv2617c. Further analysis revealed that the latter two interact with each other, indicating that Rv1417, Rv2617c and Erp are connected through multiple interactions. While Rv1417 is disseminated in several Actinomycetales genera, orthologues of Rv2617c are exclusively present in members of the M. tuberculosis complex (MTC). The central and amino-terminal regions of Erp were determined to be involved in the interaction with Rv1417 and Rv2627c. Erp forms from Mycobacterium smegmatis and Mycobacterium leprae were not able to interact with Rv2617c in two-hybrid assays. Immunolocalization experiments showed that Rv1417 and Rv2617c are found on the cell membrane and Erp on the bacterial cell wall. Finally, comparative genomics and expression studies revealed a possible role of Rv1417 in riboflavin metabolism.
We identified interactive partners of Erp, an M. tuberculosis protein involved in virulence, which will be the focus of future investigation to decipher the function of the Erp family protein.
mce3 is one of the four virulence-related mce operons of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In a previous work we showed that the overexpression of Mce3R in Mycobacterium smegmatis and M. tuberculosis abolishes the expression of lacZ fused to the mce3 promoter, indicating that Mce3R represses mce3 transcription.
We obtained a knockout mutant strain of M. tuberculosis H37Rv by inserting a hygromycin cassette into the mce3R gene. The mutation results in a significant increase in the expression of mce3 genes either in vitro or in a murine cell macrophages line as it was determined using promoter-lacZ fusions in M. tuberculosis. The abundance of mce1, mce2 and mce4 mRNAs was not affected by this mutation as it was demonstrated by quantitative RT-PCR. The mce3R promoter activity in the presence of Mce3R was significantly reduced compared with that in the absence of the regulator, during the in vitro culture of M. tuberculosis.
Mce3R repress the transcription of mce3 operon and self regulates its own expression but does not affect the transcription of mce1, mce2 and mce4 operons of M. tuberculosis.
The highly homologous PE_PGRS (Proline-glutamic acid_polymorphic GC-rich repetitive sequence) genes are members of the PE multigene family which is found only in mycobacteria. PE genes are particularly abundant within the genomes of pathogenic mycobacteria where they seem to have expanded as a result of gene duplication events. PE_PGRS genes are characterized by their high GC content and extensive repetitive sequences, making them prone to recombination events and genetic variability.
Comparative sequence analysis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis genes PE_PGRS17 (Rv0978c) and PE_PGRS18 (Rv0980c) revealed a striking genetic variation associated with this typical tandem duplicate. In comparison to the M. tuberculosis reference strain H37Rv, the variation (named the 12/40 polymorphism) consists of an in-frame 12-bp insertion invariably accompanied by a set of 40 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that occurs either in PE_PGRS17 or in both genes. Sequence analysis of the paralogous genes in a representative set of worldwide distributed tubercle bacilli isolates revealed data which supported previously proposed evolutionary scenarios for the M. tuberculosis complex (MTBC) and confirmed the very ancient origin of "M. canettii" and other smooth tubercle bacilli. Strikingly, the identified polymorphism appears to be coincident with the emergence of the post-bottleneck successful clone from which the MTBC expanded. Furthermore, the findings provide direct and clear evidence for the natural occurrence of gene conversion in mycobacteria, which appears to be restricted to modern M. tuberculosis strains.
This study provides a new perspective to explore the molecular events that accompanied the evolution, clonal expansion, and recent diversification of tubercle bacilli.
The Direct Repeat locus of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC) is a member of the CRISPR (Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) sequences family. Spoligotyping is the widely used PCR-based reverse-hybridization blotting technique that assays the genetic diversity of this locus and is useful both for clinical laboratory, molecular epidemiology, evolutionary and population genetics. It is easy, robust, cheap, and produces highly diverse portable numerical results, as the result of the combination of (1) Unique Events Polymorphism (UEP) (2) Insertion-Sequence-mediated genetic recombination. Genetic convergence, although rare, was also previously demonstrated. Three previous international spoligotype databases had partly revealed the global and local geographical structures of MTC bacilli populations, however, there was a need for the release of a new, more representative and extended, international spoligotyping database.
The fourth international spoligotyping database, SpolDB4, describes 1939 shared-types (STs) representative of a total of 39,295 strains from 122 countries, which are tentatively classified into 62 clades/lineages using a mixed expert-based and bioinformatical approach. The SpolDB4 update adds 26 new potentially phylogeographically-specific MTC genotype families. It provides a clearer picture of the current MTC genomes diversity as well as on the relationships between the genetic attributes investigated (spoligotypes) and the infra-species classification and evolutionary history of the species. Indeed, an independent Naïve-Bayes mixture-model analysis has validated main of the previous supervised SpolDB3 classification results, confirming the usefulness of both supervised and unsupervised models as an approach to understand MTC population structure. Updated results on the epidemiological status of spoligotypes, as well as genetic prevalence maps on six main lineages are also shown. Our results suggests the existence of fine geographical genetic clines within MTC populations, that could mirror the passed and present Homo sapiens sapiens demographical and mycobacterial co-evolutionary history whose structure could be further reconstructed and modelled, thereby providing a large-scale conceptual framework of the global TB Epidemiologic Network.
Our results broaden the knowledge of the global phylogeography of the MTC complex. SpolDB4 should be a very useful tool to better define the identity of a given MTC clinical isolate, and to better analyze the links between its current spreading and previous evolutionary history. The building and mining of extended MTC polymorphic genetic databases is in progress.
In recent years various novel DNA typing methods have been developed which are faster and easier to perform than the current internationally standardized IS6110 restriction fragment length polymorphism typing method. However, there has been no overview of the utility of these novel typing methods, and it is largely unknown how they compare to previously published methods. In this study, the discriminative power and reproducibility of nine recently described PCR-based typing methods for Mycobacterium tuberculosis were investigated using the strain collection of the interlaboratory study of Kremer et al. (J. Clin. Microbiol. 37:2607-2618, 1999). This strain collection contains 90 M. tuberculosis complex and 10 non-M. tuberculosis complex mycobacterial strains, as well as 31 duplicated DNA samples to assess reproducibility. The highest reproducibility was found with variable numbers of tandem repeat typing using mycobacterial interspersed repetitive units (MIRU VNTR) and fast ligation-mediated PCR (FLiP), followed by second-generation spoligotyping, ligation-mediated PCR (LM-PCR), VNTR typing using five repeat loci identified at the Queens University of Belfast (QUB VNTR), and the Amadio speciation PCR. Poor reproducibility was associated with fluorescent amplified fragment length polymorphism typing, which was performed in three different laboratories. The methods were ordered from highest discrimination to lowest by the Hunter-Gaston discriminative index as follows: QUB VNTR typing, MIRU VNTR typing, FLiP, LM-PCR, and spoligotyping. We conclude that both VNTR typing methods and FLiP typing are rapid, highly reliable, and discriminative epidemiological typing methods for M. tuberculosis and that VNTR typing is the epidemiological typing method of choice for the near future.
Genetic differences between Mycobacterium bovis and M. tuberculosis were identified. We found (i) a deletion of Rv3479 specific to M. bovis, (ii) that the rpfA gene is shortened to various extents in M. bovis, and (iii) an insertion in Rv0648 and a duplication of lppA common in M. tuberculosis complex isolates.
The direct repeat (DR) region is a singular locus of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis
complex genome. This region consists of 36 bp repetitive sequences separated by
non-repetitive unique spacer sequences. Around this region there are several genes
coding for proteins of unknown function. To determine whether the M. smegmatis, M.
avium, M. marinum and M. leprae genomes contain sequences and ORFs similar to
those of the DR locus of the M. tuberculosis complex, we analysed the corresponding
regions in these species. As a first step, some conserved genes that flank the DR genes
[Rv2785c (rpsO), Rv2786c (ribF), Rv2790c (ltp1 ), Rv2793c (truB), Rv2800, Rv2825,
Rv2828, Rv2831 (echA16 ), Rv2838 (rbfA) and Rv2845 (proS )] were used as markers
to locate the corresponding orthologues in M. smegmatis, M. avium, M. marinum and
M. leprae in silico. Most of these M. tuberculosis marker genes have highly similar
orthologues located in the same order and orientation in the other mycobacteria. In
contrast, no orthologues were found for ORFs Rv2801–Rv2824, suggesting that these
genes are unique to M. tuberculosis within the genus Mycobacterium.We observed that
in M. smegmatis and M. avium, Rv2800 and Rv2825 are adjacent.
This observation was experimentally confirmed by PCR. In conclusion, as the DR locus and the ORFs
around it are absent in M. smegmatis and M. avium and, as it is possible that these
species are older than M. tuberculosis, we postulated that the DR locus was acquired
by the M. tuberculosis complex species or by an ancestor bacterium.
Th1 immune response is essential in the protection against mycobacterial intracellular pathogens. Lipoproteins trigger both humoral and cellular immune responses and may be candidate protective antigens. We studied in BALB/c mice the immunogenicity and the protection offered by the recombinant 27-kDa Mycobacterium tuberculosis lipoprotein and the corresponding DNA vaccine. Immunization with the 27-kDa antigen resulted in high titers of immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) and IgG2a with a typical Th1 profile and a strong delayed hypersensitivity response. A strong proliferation response was observed in splenocytes, and significant nitric oxide production and gamma interferon secretion but not interleukin 10 secretion were measured. Based on these criteria, the 27-kDa antigen induced a typical Th1-type immune response thought to be necessary for protection. Surprisingly, in 27-kDa-vaccinated mice (protein or DNA vaccines) challenged by M. tuberculosis H37Rv or BCG strains, there was a significant increase in the numbers of CFU in the spleen compared to that for control groups. Furthermore, the protection provided by BCG or other mycobacterial antigens was completely abolished once the 27-kDa antigen was added to the vaccine preparations. This study indicates that the 27-kDa antigen has an adverse effect on the protection afforded by recognized vaccines. We are currently studying how the 27-kDa antigen modulates the mouse immune response.
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.
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.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis; spoligotyping
The Mycobacterium bovis P55 gene, located downstream from the gene that encodes the immunogenic lipoprotein P27, has been characterized. The gene was identical to the open reading frame of the Rv1410c gene in the genome of Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv, annotated as a probable drug efflux protein. Genes similar to P55 were present in all species of the M. tuberculosis complex and other mycobacteria such as Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium avium. By Western blotting, P55 was located in the membrane fraction of M. bovis. When transformed into Mycobacterium smegmatis after cloning, P55 conferred aminoglycoside and tetracycline resistance. The levels of resistance to streptomycin and tetracycline conferred by P55 were decreased in the presence of the protonophore carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone and the pump inhibitors verapamil and reserpine. M. smegmatis cells expressing the plasmid-encoded P55 accumulated less tetracycline than the control cells. We conclude that P55 is a membrane protein implicated in aminoglycoside and tetracycline efflux in mycobacteria.
Spoligotyping is a major tool for molecular typing of Mycobacterium bovis. This technique is based on the polymorphism of spacers that separate direct repeats (DRs) in the M. tuberculosis complex DR region. Numerous M. bovis strains show a lack of several spacers which appears as a gap in the spoligotyping pattern. To determine whether these gaps contain alternative spacers not included in the spoligotyping membrane, PCRs using primers that hybridize to the spacers adjacent to the gaps were performed. Comparing the sizes of products obtained by PCR with those deduced from spoligotyping patterns, fragments were selected and sequenced to look for alternative spacers. Upon analysis of the sequences, five alternative spacers were detected, although deletions of spacers are mainly responsible for the observed gaps. The alternative spacers, which are more frequent in M. bovis than in M. tuberculosis, may contribute to increased M. bovis differentiation.
The presence of a 500-bp fragment which amplifies a region from the genome of Mycobacterium bovis (J. G. Rodriguez, G. A. Meija, P. Del Portillo, M. E. Patarroyo, and L. A. Murillo, Microbiology 141:2131–2138, 1995) was evaluated by carrying out PCR on 121 M. bovis isolates. The M. bovis strains, previously characterized by culture and biochemical tests, were isolated from cattle in different regions of Argentina, Mexico, and Colombia. Four additional strains isolated from sea lions that belong to the M. tuberculosis complex were also included in the study. All of the isolates tested were PCR positive, rendering the expected 500-bp band and giving a correlation of 100% with previous microbiological characterization. Southern blot analysis revealed a common band of 1,800 bp and a polymorphic high-molecular-mass hybridization pattern. The results show that this assay may be useful for diagnosis and identification of M. bovis in cattle.
To study possible nosocomial transmission of multidrug-resistant (MDR) Mycobacterium tuberculosis, strain types and other information on 24, mostly human immunodeficiency virus-positive patients, were collected. Isolates from 11 patients had identical IS6110 restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) patterns as well as spoligotype patterns and resistance profiles. Noticeably, nine other isolates from related cases also exhibited identical spoligotypes but slightly different RFLP patterns. These results indicate that for some MDR strains, the evolutionary clock of IS6110 RFLP may run too fast for reliable interpretation of strain typing results over a period of a few years.
Two hundred twenty-four Mycobacterium bovis isolates, mainly from South American countries, were typed by spoligotyping, and 41 different spoligotypes were identified. A total of 202 M. bovis isolates (90%) were grouped into 19 different clusters. The largest cluster contained 96 isolates (42.8%) on the basis of the most frequently observed spoligotype, spoligotype 34. Nineteen M. bovis isolates from humans in Argentina had spoligotypes and polymorphic GC-rich repetitive sequence (PGRS) types that represented the most common types found among isolates from cattle. All five isolates from Uruguay and three of the six isolates from Paraguay had spoligotypes that were also detected for isolates from Argentina. The spoligotypes of isolates from Brazil, Costa Rica, and Mexico and of some of the isolates from Paraguay could not be found in Argentina. A total of 154 M. bovis isolates were selected in order to compare the discriminative power of spoligotyping and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis with direct repeat (DR) and PGRS probes. By spoligotyping, 31 different types were found, while AluI-digested DR probe-associated RFLP analysis identified 42 types, and RFLP analysis with the PGRS probe also detected 42 types; these were partly independent of the DR types. By combining the results obtained by spoligotyping and by RFLP analysis with the DR and PGRS probes, 88 different types were obtained. Although the differentiation of M. bovis by spoligotyping was less discriminatory than differentiation by RFLP analysis with the DR and PGRS probes, spoligotyping is easier to perform and its results are easier to interpret. Therefore, for the purpose of typing of M. bovis isolates, spoligotyping could be performed first and the isolates could be grouped into clusters and then analyzed by RFLP analysis with the DR and PGRS probes.