A Major Mycobacterium tuberculosis outbreak caused by one specific genotype in a low-incidence country: Exploring gene profile virulence explanations: Exploring gene profile virulence explanations

Dorte Bek Folkvardsen*, Anders Norman, Åse Bengard Andersen, Erik Michael Rasmussen, Troels Lillebaek, Lars Jelsbak

*Corresponding author for this work

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Denmark, a tuberculosis low burden country, still experiences significant active Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) transmission, especially with one specific genotype named Cluster 2/1112-15 (C2), the most prevalent lineage in Scandinavia. In addition to environmental factors, antibiotic resistance, and human genetics, there is increasing evidence that Mtb strain variation plays a role for the outcome of infection and disease. In this study, we explore the reasons for the success of the C2 genotype by analysing strain specific polymorphisms identified through whole genome sequencing of all C2 isolates identified in Denmark between 1992 and 2014 (n = 952), and the demographic distribution of C2. Of 234 non-synonymous (NS) monomorphic SNPs found in C2 in comparison with Mtb reference strain H37Rv, 23 were in genes previously reported to be involved in Mtb virulence. Of these 23 SNPs, three were specific for C2 including a NS mutation in a gene associated with hyper-virulence. We show that the genotype is readily transmitted to different ethnicities and is also found outside Denmark. Our data suggest that strain specific virulence factor variations are important for the success of the C2 genotype. These factors, likely in combination with poor TB control, seem to be the main drivers of C2 success.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11869
JournalScientific Reports
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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