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2.  Molecular Analysis of the embCAB Locus and embR Gene Involved in Ethambutol Resistance in Clinical Isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in France 
Modification of codon 306 in embB is regarded as the main mechanism leading to ethambutol (ETB) resistance in clinical isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. However, numerous mutations elsewhere in the embCAB locus and in embR, a putative transcriptional activator of this locus, have been reported to be involved in ETB resistance. Here, we investigated the diversity of nucleotide variations observed in embCAB and embR in M. tuberculosis complex isolates from France. These regions were sequenced in 71 ETB-resistant (ETB-R) and 60 ETB-susceptible (ETB-S) clinical isolates of known phylogenetic lineages. The 131 isolates had 12 mutations corresponding to phylogenetic markers. Among the 60 ETB-S isolates, only 3 (5%) had nonsynonymous mutations that were not phylogenetic markers. Among the 71 ETB-R isolates, 98% had mutations in embCAB that likely contribute to ETB resistance: 70% had mutations located in embB codon 306, 406, or 497; 13% had mutations located outside these three positions between codons 296 and 426; and 15% had mutations corresponding to mutations in the embC-embA intergenic region. We found a strong association between resistance to ETB and the presence of mutations in embB and the embC-embA intergenic region (P < 0.001). In contrast, the mutations detected in embC and embA were not involved in ETB resistance, and no mutation was detected in embR. These results strongly suggest that the sensitivity of diagnostic assays for detecting ETB resistance based on testing of embB codon 306 can be increased by testing of the embB region between codons 296 and 497 and by including the embC-embA intergenic region between positions −8 and −21.
PMCID: PMC4505224  PMID: 26033726
3.  Genetic diversity and molecular epidemiology of multidrug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Minas Gerais State, Brazil 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2015;15:306.
We aimed to characterize the genetic diversity of drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTb) clinical isolates and investigate the molecular epidemiology of multidrug-resistant (MDR) tuberculosis from Minas Gerais State, Brazil.
One hundred and four MTb clinical isolates were assessed by IS6110-RFLP, 24-locus mycobacterial interspersed repetitive units variable-number tandem repeats (MIRU-VNTR), TB-SPRINT (simultaneous spoligotyping and rifampicin-isoniazid drug-resistance mutation analysis) and 3R-SNP-typing (analysis of single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the genes involved in replication, recombination and repair functions).
Fifty-seven different IS6110-RFLP patterns were found, among which 50 had unique patterns and 17 were grouped into seven clusters. The discriminatory index (Hunter and Gaston, HGDI) for RFLP was 0.9937. Ninety-nine different MIRU-VNTR patterns were found, 95 of which had unique patterns and nine isolates were grouped into four clusters. The major allelic diversity index in the MIRU-VNTR loci ranged from 0.6568 to 0.7789. The global HGDI for MIRU-VNTR was 0.9991. Thirty-two different spoligotyping profiles were found: 16 unique patterns (n = 16) and 16 clustered profiles (n = 88). The HGDI for spoligotyping was 0.9009. The spoligotyped clinical isolates were phylogenetically classified into Latin-American Mediterranean (66.34 %), T (14.42 %), Haarlem (5.76 %), X (1.92 %), S (1.92 %) and U (unknown profile; 8.65 %). Among the U isolates, 77.8 % were classified further by 3R-SNP-typing as 44.5 % Haarlem and 33.3 % LAM, while the 22.2 % remaining were not classified. Among the 104 clinical isolates, 86 were identified by TB-SPRINT as MDR, 12 were resistant to rifampicin only, one was resistant to isoniazid only, three were susceptible to both drugs, and two were not successfully amplified by PCR. A total of 42, 28 and eight isolates had mutations in rpoB positions 531, 526 and 516, respectively. Correlating the cluster analysis with the patient data did not suggest recent transmission of MDR-TB.
Although our results do not suggest strong transmission of MDR-TB in Minas Gerais (using a classical 100 % MDR-TB identical isolates cluster definition), use of a smoother cluster definition (>85 % similarity) does not allow us to fully eliminate this possibility; hence, around 20–30 % of the isolates we analyzed might be MDR-TB transmission cases.
PMCID: PMC4521345  PMID: 26231661
MDR-TB; Molecular epidemiology; Spoligotyping; MIRU-VNTR; IS6110-RFLP; Minas Gerais; Brazil
4.  Genomics and Machine Learning for Taxonomy Consensus: The Mycobacterium tuberculosis Complex Paradigm 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(7):e0130912.
Infra-species taxonomy is a prerequisite to compare features such as virulence in different pathogen lineages. Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex taxonomy has rapidly evolved in the last 20 years through intensive clinical isolation, advances in sequencing and in the description of fast-evolving loci (CRISPR and MIRU-VNTR). On-line tools to describe new isolates have been set up based on known diversity either on CRISPRs (also known as spoligotypes) or on MIRU-VNTR profiles. The underlying taxonomies are largely concordant but use different names and offer different depths. The objectives of this study were 1) to explicit the consensus that exists between the alternative taxonomies, and 2) to provide an on-line tool to ease classification of new isolates. Genotyping (24-VNTR, 43-spacers spoligotypes, IS6110-RFLP) was undertaken for 3,454 clinical isolates from the Netherlands (2004-2008). The resulting database was enlarged with African isolates to include most human tuberculosis diversity. Assignations were obtained using TB-Lineage, MIRU-VNTRPlus, SITVITWEB and an algorithm from Borile et al. By identifying the recurrent concordances between the alternative taxonomies, we proposed a consensus including 22 sublineages. Original and consensus assignations of the all isolates from the database were subsequently implemented into an ensemble learning approach based on Machine Learning tool Weka to derive a classification scheme. All assignations were reproduced with very good sensibilities and specificities. When applied to independent datasets, it was able to suggest new sublineages such as pseudo-Beijing. This Lineage Prediction tool, efficient on 15-MIRU, 24-VNTR and spoligotype data is available on the web interface “TBminer.” Another section of this website helps summarizing key molecular epidemiological data, easing tuberculosis surveillance. Altogether, we successfully used Machine Learning on a large dataset to set up and make available the first consensual taxonomy for human Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex. Additional developments using SNPs will help stabilizing it.
PMCID: PMC4496040  PMID: 26154264
5.  Validation of a Microbead-Based Format for Spoligotyping of Legionella pneumophila 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2014;52(7):2410-2415.
A 42-plex clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)-based typing technique (spoligotyping) was recently developed at the French National Reference Center for Legionella. It allows the subtyping of the Legionella pneumophila sequence type 1/Paris pulsotype. In this report, we present the transfer of the membrane-based spoligotyping technique to a microbead-based multiplexed format. This microbead-based high-throughput assay uses devices such as Luminex 200 or the recently launched Magpix system (Luminex Corp., Austin, TX). We designated this new technique LP-SPOL (for L. pneumophila spoligotyping). We used two sets of samples previously subtyped by the membrane-based spoligotyping method to set up and validate the transfer on the two microbead-based systems. The first set of isolates (n = 56) represented the whole diversity of the CRISPR patterns known to date. These isolates were used for transfer setup (determination of spacer cutoffs for both devices). The second set of isolates (n = 245) was used to validate the transfer to the two microbead-based systems. The results obtained by the Luminex 200 system were 100% concordant with those obtained by the Magpix system for the 2 sets of isolates. In total, 10 discrepant results were observed when comparing the membrane-based method to the microbead-based method. These discrepancies were further resolved by repeating either the membrane-based or the microbead-based assay. This new assay is expected to play an emerging role for surveillance of L. pneumophila, starting with one of the most frequent genotypes, the sequence type 1/Paris pulsotype. However, the generalization of this typing method to all L. pneumophila strains is not feasible, since not all L. pneumophila strains contain CRISPRs.
PMCID: PMC4097685  PMID: 24759720
6.  Molecular epidemiology of tuberculosis in Sicily, Italy: what has changed after a decade? 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:602.
We aimed to investigate the molecular epidemiology of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) isolates in the province of Palermo, Sicily, Italy, by characterizing 183 isolates identified in the years 2004–2012. A comparison with 104 MTBC strains identified in the same geographic area in the years 1994–2000 was also carried out.
One hundred eighty-three MTBC isolates identified in Palermo, Italy, in the years 2004–2012 were analyzed by spoligotyping and the 24 mycobacterial interspersed repetitive unit (MIRU)-variable-number tandem-repeat (VNTR) method typing. Susceptibility testing to streptomycin, isoniazid, rifampin and ethambutol was also performed. Furthermore, the spoligotyping dataset obtained from 104 MTBC isolates identified from 1994 to 2000 was reanalyzed. Distribution into lineages and clustering of isolates in the two periods was compared.
One hundred seventy-seven out of the 183 isolates of MTBC submitted to molecular typing were fully characterized. Of these, 108 were from Italian-born and 69 from foreign-born individuals. Eleven different lineages and 35 families-subfamilies were identified with the most represented lineages being Haarlem (26.5%), T (19.2%), LAM (13.6%) and S (8.5%). Except for the Haarlem lineage, where isolates from foreign-born patients were overrepresented, the distribution of isolates in the families belonging to the Euro-American clone reflected the proportions of the two subpopulations. A total of 27 (15.2%) strains were clustered and three clusters were mixed. Approximately 25% of the 183 MTBC isolates under study proved to be resistant to at least one antiTB drug, with only three isolates categorized as multidrug resistant (MDR). When MTBC isolates identified in the years 1994–2000 were reanalyzed, lineages T (30.8%), LAM (29.8%), Haarlem (16.3%) and S (13.5%) proved to be predominant. No MTBC isolates belonging to CAM, U, CAS, Turkish and Ural lineages were identified.
A wide heterogeneity was detected among the MTBC strains isolated in the years 2004–2012. Six lineages were not present among the isolates of the period 1994–2000. Comparison between distribution of lineages in the two consecutive periods depicts rapid and deep changes in the TB epidemiology in Palermo, Italy. An universal and continued laboratory-based surveillance of TB in Sicily is required.
PMCID: PMC4241219  PMID: 25407589
Tuberculosis; Sicily; Epidemiology; Spoligotyping; MIRU-VNTR
7.  Beijing Lineage of MDR Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Bulgaria, 2007–2011 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2014;20(11):1899-1901.
To assess the spread of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis Beijing genotype among patients with multidrug-resistant and extensively resistant tuberculosis in Bulgaria, we genotyped 188 (72%) of 261 microbiologically confirmed resistant isolates obtained during 2007–2011. The estimated prevalence of the Beijing genotype among these patients was 3.2%.
PMCID: PMC4214304  PMID: 25340498
tuberculosis; MDR TB; XDR TB; genotype; tuberculosis and other mycobacteria; Bulgaria; Beijing lineage
8.  Strain Classification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Isolates in Brazil Based on Genotypes Obtained by Spoligotyping, Mycobacterial Interspersed Repetitive Unit Typing and the Presence of Large Sequence and Single Nucleotide Polymorphism 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e107747.
Rio de Janeiro is endemic for tuberculosis (TB) and presents the second largest prevalence of the disease in Brazil. Here, we present the bacterial population structure of 218 isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, derived from 186 patients that were diagnosed between January 2008 and December 2009. Genotypes were generated by means of spoligotyping, 24 MIRU-VNTR typing and presence of fbpC103, RDRio and RD174. The results confirmed earlier data that predominant genotypes in Rio de Janeiro are those of the Euro American Lineages (99%). However, we observed differences between the classification by spoligotyping when comparing to that of 24 MIRU-VNTR typing, being respectively 43.6% vs. 62.4% of LAM, 34.9% vs. 9.6% of T and 18.3% vs. 21.5% of Haarlem. Among isolates classified as LAM by MIRU typing, 28.0% did not present the characteristic spoligotype profile with absence of spacers 21 to 24 and 32 to 36 and we designated these conveniently as “LAM-like”, 79.3% of these presenting the LAM-specific SNP fbpC103. The frequency of RDRio and RD174 in the LAM strains, as defined both by spoligotyping and 24 MIRU-VNTR loci, were respectively 11% and 15.4%, demonstrating that RD174 is not always a marker for LAM/RDRio strains. We conclude that, although spoligotyping alone is a tool for classification of strains of the Euro-American lineage, when combined with MIRU-VNTRs, SNPs and RD typing, it leads to a much better understanding of the bacterial population structure and phylogenetic relationships among strains of M. tuberculosis in regions with high incidence of TB.
PMCID: PMC4196770  PMID: 25314118
9.  Multidrug Resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis: A Retrospective katG and rpoB Mutation Profile Analysis in Isolates from a Reference Center in Brazil 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e104100.
Multidrug resistance is a critical factor in tuberculosis control. To gain better understanding of multidrug resistant tuberculosis in Brazil, a retrospective study was performed to compare genotypic diversity and drug resistance associated mutations in Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates from a national reference center.
Methods and Findings
Ninety-nine multidrug resistant isolates from 12 Brazilian states were studied. Drug-resistance patterns were determined and the rpoB and katG genes were screened for mutations. Genotypic diversity was investigated by IS6110-RFLP and Luminex 47 spoligotyping. Mutations in rpoB and katG were seen in 91% and 93% of the isolates, respectively. Codon 315 katG mutations occurred in 82.8% of the isolates with a predominance of the Ser315Thr substitution. Twenty-five isolates were clustered in 11 groups with identical IS6110-RFLP patterns while 74 showed unique patterns with no association between mutation frequencies or susceptibility profiles. The most prevalent spoligotyping lineages were LAM (47%), T (17%) and Haarlen (12%). The Haarlen lineage showed a higher frequency of codon 516 rpoB mutations while codon 531 mutations prevailed in the other isolates.
Our data suggest that there were no major multidrug resistant M. tuberculosis strains transmitted among patients referred to the reference center, indicating an independent acquisition of resistance. In addition, drug resistance associated mutation profiles were well established among the main spoligotyping lineages found in these Brazilian multidrug resistant isolates, providing useful data for patient management and treatment.
PMCID: PMC4122415  PMID: 25093512
10.  Optimizing multiplex SNP-based data analysis for genotyping of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):572.
Multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) is a powerful tool to identify genomic polymorphisms. We have previously developed a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and large sequence polymorphisms (LSP)-based MLPA assay using a read out on a liquid bead array to screen for 47 genetic markers in the Mycobacterium tuberculosis genome. In our assay we obtain information regarding the Mycobacterium tuberculosis lineage and drug resistance simultaneously. Previously we called the presence or absence of a genotypic marker based on a threshold signal level. Here we present a more elaborate data analysis method to standardize and streamline the interpretation of data generated by MLPA. The new data analysis method also identifies intermediate signals in addition to classification of signals as positive and negative. Intermediate calls can be informative with respect to identifying the simultaneous presence of sensitive and resistant alleles or infection with multiple different Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains.
To validate our analysis method 100 DNA isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis extracted from cultured patient material collected at the National TB Reference Laboratory of the National Center for Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia were tested by MLPA. The data generated were interpreted blindly and then compared to results obtained by reference methods. MLPA profiles containing intermediate calls are flagged for expert review whereas the majority of profiles, not containing intermediate calls, were called automatically. No intermediate signals were identified in 74/100 isolates and in the remaining 26 isolates at least one genetic marker produced an intermediate signal.
Based on excellent agreement with the reference methods we conclude that the new data analysis method performed well. The streamlined data processing and standardized data interpretation allows the comparison of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis MLPA results between different experiments. All together this will facilitate the implementation of the MLPA assay in different settings.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-572) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4117977  PMID: 25001491
Mycobacterium tuberculosis; MLPA; Data analysis; SNP typing; MAGPIX; Drug resistance; MTBC lineage; Republic of Georgia
11.  Tuberculosis-Spoligo-Rifampin-Isoniazid Typing: an All-in-One Assay Technique for Surveillance and Control of Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis on Luminex Devices 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2013;51(11):3527-3534.
As a follow-up of the “spoligoriftyping” development, we present here an extension of this technique which includes the detection of isoniazid resistance-associated mutations in a new 59-plex assay, i.e., tuberculosis-spoligo-rifampin-isoniazid typing (TB-SPRINT), running on microbead-based multiplexed systems. This assay improves the synergy between clinical microbiology and epidemiology by providing (i) mutation-based prediction of drug resistance profiles for patient treatment and (ii) genotyping data for tuberculosis (TB) surveillance. This third-generation microbead-based high-throughput assay for TB runs on the Luminex 200 system and on the recently launched MagPix system (Luminex, Austin, TX). Spoligotyping patterns obtained by the TB-SPRINT method were 100% (n = 85 isolates; 3,655/3,655 spoligotype data points) concordant with those obtained by microbead-based and membrane-based spoligotyping. Genetic drug susceptibility typing provided by the TB-SPRINT method was 100% concordant with resistance locus sequencing (n = 162 for rpoB gene sequencing and n = 76 for katG and inhA sequencing). Considering phenotypic drug susceptibility testing (DST) as the reference method, the sensitivity and specificity of TB-SPRINT regarding Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (n = 162 isolates) rifampin resistance were both 100%, and those for isoniazid resistance were 90.4% (95% confidence interval, 85 to 95%) and 100%, respectively. Used routinely in national TB reference and specialized laboratories, the TB-SPRINT assay should simultaneously improve personalized medicine and epidemiological surveillance of multidrug-resistant (MDR) TB. This assay is expected to play an emerging role in public health in countries with heavy burdens of MDR TB and/or HIV/TB coinfection. Application of this assay directly to biological samples, as well as development for extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB detection by inclusion of second-line antituberculosis drug-associated mutations, is under development. With bioinformatical methods and data mining to reduce the number of targets to the most informative ones, locally adapted formats of this technique can easily be developed everywhere.
PMCID: PMC3889729  PMID: 23966495
12.  “Spoligoriftyping,” a Dual-Priming-Oligonucleotide-Based Direct-Hybridization Assay for Tuberculosis Control with a Multianalyte Microbead-Based Hybridization System 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2012;50(10):3172-3179.
We developed “spoligoriftyping,” a 53-plex assay based on two preexisting methods, the spoligotyping and “rifoligotyping” assays, by combining them into a single assay. Spoligoriftyping allows simultaneous spoligotyping (i.e., clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat [CRISPR]-based genotyping) and characterization of the main rifampin drug resistance mutations on the rpoB hot spot region in a few hours. This test partly uses the dual-priming-oligonucleotide (DPO) principle, which allows simultaneous efficient amplifications of rpoB and the CRISPR locus in the same sample. We tested this method on a set of 114 previously phenotypically and genotypically characterized multidrug-resistant (MDR) Mycobacterium tuberculosis or drug-susceptible M. tuberculosis DNA extracted from clinical isolates obtained from patients from Bulgaria, Nigeria, and Germany. We showed that our method is 100% concordant with rpoB sequencing results and 99.95% (3,911/3,913 spoligotype data points) correlated with classical spoligotyping results. The sensitivity and specificity of our assay were 99 and 100%, respectively, compared to those of phenotypic drug susceptibility testing. Such assays pave the way to the implementation of locally and specifically adapted methods of performing in a single tube both drug resistance mutation detection and genotyping in a few hours.
PMCID: PMC3457427  PMID: 22814456
14.  Combined Species Identification, Genotyping, and Drug Resistance Detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Cultures by MLPA on a Bead-Based Array 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43240.
The population structure of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is typically clonal therefore genotypic lineages can be unequivocally identified by characteristic markers such as mutations or genomic deletions. In addition, drug resistance is mainly mediated by mutations. These issues make multiplexed detection of selected mutations potentially a very powerful tool to characterise Mycobacterium tuberculosis. We used Multiplex Ligation-dependent Probe Amplification (MLPA) to screen for dispersed mutations, which can be successfully applied to Mycobacterium tuberculosis as was previously shown. Here we selected 47 discriminative and informative markers and designed MLPA probes accordingly to allow analysis with a liquid bead array and robust reader (Luminex MAGPIX technology). To validate the bead-based MLPA, we screened a panel of 88 selected strains, previously characterised by other methods with the developed multiplex assay using automated positive and negative calling. In total 3059 characteristics were screened and 3034 (99.2%) were consistent with previous molecular characterizations, of which 2056 (67.2%) were directly supported by other molecular methods, and 978 (32.0%) were consistent with but not directly supported by previous molecular characterizations. Results directly conflicting or inconsistent with previous methods, were obtained for 25 (0.8%) of the characteristics tested. Here we report the validation of the bead-based MLPA and demonstrate its potential to simultaneously identify a range of drug resistance markers, discriminate the species within the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, determine the genetic lineage and detect and identify the clinically most relevant non-tuberculous mycobacterial species. The detection of multiple genetic markers in clinically derived Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains with a multiplex assay could reduce the number of TB-dedicated screening methods needed for full characterization. Additionally, as a proportion of the markers screened are specific to certain Mycobacterium tuberculosis lineages each profile can be checked for internal consistency. Strain characterization can allow selection of appropriate treatment and thereby improve treatment outcome and patient management.
PMCID: PMC3423362  PMID: 22916230
15.  A Molecular Epidemiological and Genetic Diversity Study of Tuberculosis in Ibadan, Nnewi and Abuja, Nigeria 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e38409.
Nigeria has the tenth highest burden of tuberculosis (TB) among the 22 TB high-burden countries in the world. This study describes the biodiversity and epidemiology of drug-susceptible and drug-resistant TB in Ibadan, Nnewi and Abuja, using 409 DNAs extracted from culture positive TB isolates.
Methodology/Principal Findings
DNAs extracted from clinical isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex were studied by spoligotyping and 24 VNTR typing. The Cameroon clade (CAM) was predominant followed by the M. africanum (West African 1) and T (mainly T2) clades. By using a smooth definition of clusters, 32 likely epi-linked clusters related to the Cameroon genotype family and 15 likely epi-linked clusters related to other “modern” genotypes were detected. Eight clusters concerned M. africanum West African 1. The recent transmission rate of TB was 38%. This large study shows that the recent transmission of TB in Nigeria is high, without major regional differences, with MDR-TB clusters. Improvement in the TB control programme is imperative to address the TB control problem in Nigeria.
PMCID: PMC3377642  PMID: 22723859
16.  CRISPR Typing and Subtyping for Improved Laboratory Surveillance of Salmonella Infections 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e36995.
Laboratory surveillance systems for salmonellosis should ideally be based on the rapid serotyping and subtyping of isolates. However, current typing methods are limited in both speed and precision. Using 783 strains and isolates belonging to 130 serotypes, we show here that a new family of DNA repeats named CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) is highly polymorphic in Salmonella. We found that CRISPR polymorphism was strongly correlated with both serotype and multilocus sequence type. Furthermore, spacer microevolution discriminated between subtypes within prevalent serotypes, making it possible to carry out typing and subtyping in a single step. We developed a high-throughput subtyping assay for the most prevalent serotype, Typhimurium. An open web-accessible database was set up, providing a serotype/spacer dictionary and an international tool for strain tracking based on this innovative, powerful typing and subtyping tool.
PMCID: PMC3356390  PMID: 22623967
17.  Spoligotyping of Mycobacterium africanum, Burkina Faso 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2012;18(1):117-119.
Using Ziehl-Neelsen–positive slides collected from tuberculosis diagnostic centers in Burkina Faso, we showed that 20% of 80 spoligotyping-positive DNA samples had a characteristic Mycobacterium africanum–specific genomic signature. This result suggests that M. africanum is still present in Burkina Faso at almost the same prevalence as 15–20 years ago.
PMCID: PMC3310091  PMID: 22257494
Mycobacterium africanum; Burkina Faso; spoligotyping; bacteria; tuberculosis and other mycobacteria
18.  Using affinity propagation for identifying subspecies among clonal organisms: lessons from M. tuberculosis 
BMC Bioinformatics  2011;12:224.
Classification and naming is a key step in the analysis, understanding and adequate management of living organisms. However, where to set limits between groups can be puzzling especially in clonal organisms. Within the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC), the etiological agent of tuberculosis (TB), experts have first identified several groups according to their pattern at repetitive sequences, especially at the CRISPR locus (spoligotyping), and to their epidemiological relevance. Most groups such as "Beijing" found good support when tested with other loci. However, other groups such as T family and T1 subfamily (belonging to the "Euro-American" lineage) correspond to non-monophyletic groups and still need to be refined. Here, we propose to use a method called Affinity Propagation that has been successfully used in image categorization to identify relevant patterns at the CRISPR locus in MTC.
To adequately infer the relative divergence time between strains, we used a distance method inspired by the recent evolutionary model by Reyes et al. We first confirm that this method performs better than the Jaccard index commonly used to compare spoligotype patterns. Second, we document the support of each spoligotype family among the previous classification using affinity propagation on the international spoligotyping database SpolDB4. This allowed us to propose a consensus assignation for all SpolDB4 spoligotypes. Third, we propose new signatures to subclassify the T family.
Altogether, this study shows how the new clustering algorithm Affinity Propagation can help building or refining clonal organims classifications. It also describes well-supported families and subfamilies among M. tuberculosis complex, especially inside the modern "Euro-American" lineage.
PMCID: PMC3126747  PMID: 21635750
asexual organisms; species delineation; epidemiology; DR locus; Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR)
19.  The use of microbead-based spoligotyping for Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex to evaluate the quality of the conventional method: Providing guidelines for Quality Assurance when working on membranes 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2011;11:110.
The classical spoligotyping technique, relying on membrane reverse line-blot hybridization of the spacers of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis CRISPR locus, is used world-wide (598 references in Pubmed on April 8th, 2011). However, until now no inter-laboratory quality control study had been undertaken to validate this technique. We analyzed the quality of membrane-based spoligotyping by comparing it to the recently introduced and highly robust microbead-based spoligotyping. Nine hundred and twenty-seven isolates were analyzed totaling 39,861 data points. Samples were received from 11 international laboratories with a worldwide distribution.
The high-throughput microbead-based Spoligotyping was performed on CTAB and thermolyzate DNA extracted from isolated Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC) strains coming from the genotyping participating centers. Information regarding how the classical Spoligotyping method was performed by center was available. Genotype discriminatory analyses were carried out by comparing the spoligotypes obtained by both methods. The non parametric U-Mann Whitney homogeneity test and the Spearman rank correlation test were performed to validate the observed results.
Seven out of the 11 laboratories (63 %), perfectly typed more than 90% of isolates, 3 scored between 80-90% and a single center was under 80% reaching 51% concordance only. However, this was mainly due to discordance in a single spacer, likely having a non-functional probe on the membrane used. The centers using thermolyzate DNA performed as well as centers using the more extended CTAB extraction procedure. Few centers shared the same problematic spacers and these problematic spacers were scattered over the whole CRISPR locus (Mostly spacers 15, 14, 18, 37, 39, 40).
We confirm that classical spoligotyping is a robust method with generally a high reliability in most centers. The applied DNA extraction procedure (CTAB or thermolyzate) did not affect the results in this study. However performance was center-dependent, suggesting that training is a key component in quality assurance of spoligotyping. Overall, no particular spacer yielded a higher degree of deviating results, suggesting that errors occur randomly either in the process of re-using membranes, or during the reading of the results and transferring of data from the film to a digital file. Last, the performance of the microbead-based method was excellent as previously shown by Cowan et al. (J. Clin. Microbiol. 2004) and Zhang et al. (J. Med. Microbiol. 2009) and demonstrated the proper detection of spacer 15 that is known to occasionally give weak signals in the classical spoligotyping.
PMCID: PMC3107175  PMID: 21527037
20.  A first assessment of the genetic diversity of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex in Cambodia 
Cambodia is among the 22 high-burden TB countries, and has one of the highest rates of TB in South-East Asia. This study aimed to describe the genetic diversity among clinical Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC) isolates collected in Cambodia and to relate these findings to genetic diversity data from neighboring countries.
We characterized by 24 VNTR loci genotyping and spoligotyping 105 Mycobacterium tuberculosis clinical isolates collected between 2007 and 2008 in the region of Phnom-Penh, Cambodia, enriched in multidrug-resistant (MDR) isolates (n = 33).
Classical spoligotyping confirmed that the East-African Indian (EAI) lineage is highly prevalent in this area (60%-68% respectively in whole sample and among non-MDR isolates). Beijing lineage is also largely represented (30% in whole sample, 21% among non-MDR isolates, OR = 4.51, CI95% [1.77, 11.51]) whereas CAS lineage was absent. The 24 loci MIRU-VNTR typing scheme distinguished 90 patterns with only 13 multi-isolates clusters covering 28 isolates. The clustering of EAI strains could be achieved with only 8 VNTR combined with spoligotyping, which could serve as a performing, easy and cheap genotyping standard for this family. Extended spoligotyping suggested relatedness of some unclassified "T1 ancestors" or "Manu" isolates with modern strains and provided finer resolution.
The genetic diversity of MTC in Cambodia is driven by the EAI and the Beijing families. We validate the usefulness of the extended spoligotyping format in combination with 8 VNTR for EAI isolates in this region.
PMCID: PMC3062598  PMID: 21299851
21.  First Insight into Genetic Diversity of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis Complex in Albania Obtained by Multilocus Variable-Number Tandem-Repeat Analysis and Spoligotyping Reveals the Presence of Beijing Multidrug-Resistant Isolates ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2009;47(5):1581-1584.
We characterized a set of 100 Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex clinical isolates from tuberculosis (TB) patients in Albania, typing them with a 24-locus variable-number tandem-repeat-spoligotyping scheme. Depending on the cluster definition, 43 to 49 patients were distributed into 15 to 16 clusters which were likely to be epidemiologically linked, indicative of a recent transmission rate of 28 to 34%. This result suggests that TB is under control in Albania. However, two multidrug-resistant (MDR) Beijing genotypes harboring the same S531A mutation on the rpoB gene were also found, suggesting a potential recent transmission of MDR TB. Three brand new genotypes, Albania-1 to Albania-3, are also described.
PMCID: PMC2681852  PMID: 19279172
22.  Application of Sensitive and Specific Molecular Methods To Uncover Global Dissemination of the Major RDRio Sublineage of the Latin American-Mediterranean Mycobacterium tuberculosis Spoligotype Family▿ ‡ 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2008;46(4):1259-1267.
The Latin American-Mediterranean (LAM) family of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is believed to be the cause of ∼15% of tuberculosis cases worldwide. Previously, we defined a prevalent sublineage of the LAM family in Brazil by a single characteristic genomic deletion designated RDRio. Using the Brazilian strains, we pinpoint an Ag85C103 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (screened by restriction fragment length polymorphism [RFLP] analysis) that correctly identified all LAM family strains. Importantly, all RDRio strains concomitantly possessed the RD174 deletion. These genetic signatures, along with a newly developed multiplex PCR for rapid differentiation between “wild-type” and RDRio strains, were then used to analyze an international collection of M. tuberculosis strains. RDRio M. tuberculosis was identified from four continents involving 11 countries. Phylogenetic analysis of the IS6110-RFLP patterns from representative RDRio and LAM strains from Brazil, along with all representative clusters from a South African database, confirmed their genetic relatedness and transcontinental transmission. The Ag85C103 SNP RFLP, as compared to results obtained using a PCR method targeting a LAM-restricted IS6110 element, correctly identified 99.8% of LAM spoligotype strains. Together, these tests were more accurate than spoligotyping at categorizing strains with indefinable spoligotypes and segregated true LAM strains from those with convergent spoligotypes. The fact that RDRio strains were identified worldwide highlights the importance of this LAM family sublineage and suggests that this strain is a global threat that should be specifically targeted by public health resources. Our provision of simple and robust molecular methods will assist the evaluation of the LAM family and the RDRio sublineage.
PMCID: PMC2292928  PMID: 18234868
23.  Use of cluster-graphs from spoligotyping data to study genotype similarities and a comparison of three indices to quantify recent tuberculosis transmission among culture positive cases in French Guiana during a eight year period 
French Guiana has the highest tuberculosis (TB) burden among all French departments, with a strong increase in the TB incidence over the last few years. It is now uncertain how best to explain this incidence. The objective of this study was to compare three different methods evaluating the extent of recent TB transmission in French Guiana.
We conducted a population-based molecular epidemiology study of tuberculosis in French Guiana based on culture-positive TB strains (1996 to 2003, n = 344) to define molecular relatedness between isolates, i.e. potential transmission events. Phylogenetic relationships were inferred by comparing two methods: a "cluster-graph" method based on spoligotyping results, and a minimum spanning tree method based on both spoligotyping and variable number of tandem DNA repeats (VNTR). Furthermore, three indices attempting to reflect the extent of recent TB transmission (RTIn, RTIn-1 and TMI) were compared.
Molecular analyses showed a total amount of 120 different spoligotyping patterns and 273 clinical isolates (79.4%) that were grouped in 49 clusters. The comparison of spoligotypes from French Guiana with an international spoligotype database (SpolDB4) showed that the majority of isolates belonged to major clades of M. tuberculosis (Haarlem, 22.6%; Latin American-Mediterranean, 23.3%; and T, 32.6%). Indices designed to quantify transmission of tuberculosis gave the following values: RTIn = 0.794, RTIn-1 = 0.651, and TMI = 0.146.
Our data showed a high number of Mycobacterium tuberculosis clusters, suggesting a high level of recent TB transmission, nonetheless an estimation of transmission rate taking into account cluster size and mutation rate of genetic markers showed a low ongoing transmission rate (14.6%). Our results indicate an endemic mode of TB transmission in French Guiana, with both resurgence of old spatially restricted genotypes, and a significant importation of new TB genotypes by migration of TB infected persons from neighgouring high-incidence countries.
PMCID: PMC2375894  PMID: 18410681
24.  Assessment of Population Structure and Major Circulating Phylogeographical Clades of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Complex in Bangladesh Suggests a High Prevalence of a Specific Subclade of Ancient M. tuberculosis Genotypes▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2007;45(11):3791-3794.
Spoligotyping was performed to study the population structure of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex strains (n = 224) from Bangladesh. Strains were split into principal genetic group 1 (PGG 1 [75.0%]) and PGG 2 and 3 (25%). Forty-nine strains with a new spoligotype signature and considered as south or southeast Asian-linked emerging clones were designated as “Matlab type.”
PMCID: PMC2168514  PMID: 17804653
25.  Assessment of Mycobacterial Interspersed Repetitive Unit-QUB Markers To Further Discriminate the Beijing Genotype in a Population-Based Study of the Genetic Diversity of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Clinical Isolates from Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, Japan▿ †  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2007;45(11):3606-3615.
The present investigation focused on genetic diversity and drug resistance of 101 Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains isolated between July 2003 and February 2005 in the Okinawa prefecture, Ryukyu Islands, Japan. A high rate of clustering (87%, eight clusters, 2 to 69 strains/cluster) was observed upon spoligotyping; most of it was due to the lower discriminatory power of this method for the Beijing lineage (n = 72; 71.3% of the isolates). The remaining diversity was limited to seven clusters (two to five isolates/cluster), with the following distribution of major lineages: ill-defined T (n = 13; 12.8%), ancestral East African-Indian (n = 6; 5.9%), Haarlem (n = 4; 4%), Latin American-Mediterranean (n = 2; 2%), X1 (n = 1; 1%), and a total absence of the central Asian clade. Three remaining strains could not be classified on the basis of their spoligotype pattern and were labeled “unknown.” Subtyping with mycobacterial interspersed repetitive units (MIRUs) in association with additional QUB minisatellites was performed to discriminate among the Beijing strains. Based on an “in-house” spoligotyping/MIRU database (n = 694 Beijing strains), eight highly discriminative MIRU loci for Beijing strains were selected (loci numbered 10, 16, 23, 26, 27, 31, 39, and 40). The highest discriminatory power (h) observed in our sample (n = 72; M-26, 0.385; M-10, 0.38; M-31, 0.255; M-16, 0.238) was too low, and 73.6% of the Beijing strains from Okinawa remained clustered. Typing of Beijing strains with additional QUB loci (with the exception of “one-copy” QUB-1451) resulted in higher discriminatory powers: QUB-11b, 0.68; QUB-11a, 0.656; QUB-26, 0.644; QUB-18, 0.553; QUB-4156, 0.5; and QUB-1895, 0.453. A definitive algorithm on the use of QUB markers to subtype Beijing isolates in expanded studies would shed light on their hypervariability, which may sometimes blur recognition between epidemiologically linked Beijing isolates. The total absence of multiple drug resistance among Beijing isolates from Okinawa, as well as the relatively older ages of the patients (majority above 60 years), shows that tuberculosis (TB) is a declining disease in Okinawa, and an adequate TB control program has successfully avoided both the emergence and the spread of multidrug-resistant TB in this insular setting.
PMCID: PMC2168487  PMID: 17898160

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