Impact of Genetic Diversity on the Biology of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Complex Strains.

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Impact of Genetic Diversity on the Biology of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Complex Strains.

Microbiol Spectr. 2016 Nov;4(6):

Authors: Niemann S, Merker M, Kohl T, Supply P

Tuberculosis (TB) remains the most deadly bacterial infectious disease worldwide. Its treatment and control are threatened by increasing numbers of multidrug-resistant (MDR) or nearly untreatable extensively drug-resistant (XDR) strains. New concepts are therefore urgently needed to understand the factors driving the TB epidemics and the spread of different strain populations, especially in association with drug resistance. Classical genotyping and, more recently, whole-genome sequencing (WGS) revealed that the world population of tubercle bacilli is more diverse than previously thought. Several major phylogenetic lineages can be distinguished, which are associated with their sympatric host population. Distinct clonal (sub)populations can even coexist within infected patients. WGS is now used as the ultimate approach for differentiating clinical isolates and for linking phenotypic to genomic variation from lineage to strain levels. Multiple lines of evidence indicate that the genetic diversity of TB strains translates into pathobiological consequences, and key molecular mechanisms probably involved in differential pathoadaptation of some main lineages have recently been identified. Evidence also accumulates on molecular mechanisms putatively fostering the emergence and rapid expansion of particular MDR and XDR strain groups in some world regions. However, further integrative studies will be needed for complete elucidation of the mechanisms that allow the pathogen to infect its host, acquire multidrug resistance, and transmit so efficiently. Such knowledge will be key for the development of the most effective new diagnostics, drugs, and vaccination strategies.

PMID: 27837742 [PubMed - in process]