Chapter 44 : Mycobacterium tuberculosis Virulence and Evolution

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Mycobacterium tuberculosis Virulence and Evolution, Page 1 of 2

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Tuberculosis (TB) was declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization in 1993, and the international scientific community is now making tremendous efforts to develop new antimycobacterial drugs and a new anti-TB vaccine, more effective than the Mycobacterium bovis BCG vaccine currently used in most parts of the world. Some actinobacteria form branching filaments resembling the mycelia of fungi and were originally classified as ''Actinomycetes.'' The future development of a new anti-TB vaccine, and of new antimycobacterial drugs, would probably benefit from a more detailed understanding of Mycobacterium tuberculosis virulence and evolution, including an explanation of how a bacterium that was probably initially saprophytic evolved to become a major, potentially lethal, microbial pathogen. Two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), in gyrA codon 95 and in katG codon 463, have been used to reconstruct the evolutionary history of the M. tuberculosis complex. The evolution of the M. tuberculosis complex thus appears to have been mostly clonal, with DNA duplications, inversions, and deletions. Restriction fragment length polymorphism studies take advantage of the presence in M. tuberculosis of insertion elements located at various positions in the genome in different strains. DNA fingerprinting techniques have been extensively used for clustering mycobacterial genotypes, studying M. tuberculosis transmission, characterizing outbreaks, and improving clinical management. Global searches for mycobacterial virulence genes have been carried out by screening libraries of M. tuberculosis mutants in mice and in macrophages, at both the cellular and the subcellular levels.

Citation: Neyrolles O, Gicquel B. 2008. Mycobacterium tuberculosis Virulence and Evolution, p 535-541. In Baquero F, Nombela C, Cassell G, Gutiérrez-Fuentes J (ed), Evolutionary Biology of Bacterial and Fungal Pathogens. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815639.ch44
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Image of Figure 1.
Figure 1.

Evolution of the M. tuberculosis complex. RD, region of difference; TbD, M. tuberculosis–specific deletion; katG, single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) katG463 CTG (Leu)→CGG(Arg); gyrA, SNP gyrA95 ACC(Thr)→AGC(Ser). (Adapted from Marmiesse et al., 2004.)

Citation: Neyrolles O, Gicquel B. 2008. Mycobacterium tuberculosis Virulence and Evolution, p 535-541. In Baquero F, Nombela C, Cassell G, Gutiérrez-Fuentes J (ed), Evolutionary Biology of Bacterial and Fungal Pathogens. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815639.ch44
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