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1.  Natural Transposon Mutagenesis of Clinical Isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis: How Many Genes Does a Pathogen Need? 
Journal of Bacteriology  2005;187(19):6726-6732.
Transposable elements can affect an organism's fitness through the insertional inactivation of genes and can therefore be used to identify genes that are nonessential for growth in vitro or in animal models. However, these models may not adequately represent the genetic requirements during chains of human infection. We have therefore conducted a genome-wide survey of transposon mutations in Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates from cases of human infection, identifying the precise, base-specific insertion sites of the naturally occurring transposable element IS6110. Of 294 distinct insertions mapped to the strain H37Rv genome, 180 were intragenic, affecting 100 open reading frames. The number of genes carrying IS6110 in clinical isolates, and hence apparently not essential for infection and transmission, is very much lower than the estimates of nonessential genes derived from in vitro studies. This suggests that most genes in M. tuberculosis play a significant role in human infection chains. IS6110 insertions were underrepresented in genes associated with virulence, information pathways, lipid metabolism, and membrane proteins but overrepresented in multicopy genes of the PPE family, genes of unknown function, and intergenic sequences. Population genomic analysis of isolates recovered from an organism's natural habitat is an important tool for determining the significance of genes or classes of genes in the natural biology of an organism.
PMCID: PMC1251597  PMID: 16166535
2.  Infection of Acanthamoeba castellanii with Mycobacterium bovis and M. bovis BCG and Survival of M. bovis within the Amoebae 
Survival of Mycobacterium bovis after ingestion by protozoa would provide an environmental reservoir for infection of cattle. We have shown that M. bovis survived ingestion by Acanthamoeba castellanii. In contrast, two strains of M. bovis BCG did not survive well within Acanthamoeba.
PMCID: PMC165183  PMID: 12839822
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.  Evolutionary Relationships among Strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis with Few Copies of IS6110 
Journal of Bacteriology  2003;185(8):2555-2562.
Molecular typing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis by using IS6110 shows low discrimination when there are fewer than five copies of the insertion sequence. Using a collection of such isolates from a study of the epidemiology of tuberculosis in London, we have shown a substantial degree of congruence between IS6110 patterns and both spoligotype and PGRS type. This indicates that the IS6110 types mainly represent distinct families of strains rather than arising through the convergent insertion of IS6110 into favored positions. This is supported by identification of the genomic sites of the insertion of IS6110 in these strains. The combined data enable identification of the putative evolutionary relationships of these strains, comprising three lineages broadly associated with patients born in South Asia (India and Pakistan), Africa, and Europe, respectively. These lineages appear to be quite distinct from M. tuberculosis isolates with multiple copies of IS6110.
PMCID: PMC152614  PMID: 12670980
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.  Molecular Epidemiology of Tuberculosis in Malaysia 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1999;37(5):1265-1268.
Molecular typing with IS6110 was applied to Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates from all parts of Malaysia. The degree of clustering increased with patient age, suggesting that reactivation may contribute to clustering. Identical banding patterns were also obtained for isolates from widely separate regions. Therefore, the use of clustering as a measure of recent transmission must be treated with caution. Strains related to the Beijing family were common in Peninsular Malaysia but were less common in Sabah and Sarawak, while a distinct group of strains comprised nearly 40% of isolates from East Malaysia but such strains were rare in Peninsular Malaysia. Single-copy strains, common in South and Southeastern Asia, constituted nearly 20% of isolates from the peninsula but were virtually absent in East Malaysia. The marked geographical difference in the prevailing strains indicates not only a restricted dissemination of M. tuberculosis but also a considerable degree of stability in the banding patterns.
PMCID: PMC84747  PMID: 10203468

Results 1-6 (6)