Project description:Mycobacterium africanum is endemic to West Africa and causes tuberculosis (TB). We reviewed reported cases of TB in the United States during 2004-2013 that had lineage assigned by genotype (spoligotype and mycobacterial interspersed repetitive unit variable number tandem repeats). M. africanum caused 315 (0.4%) of 73,290 TB cases with lineage assigned by genotype. TB caused by M. africanum was associated more with persons from West Africa (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 253.8, 95% CI 59.9-1,076.1) and US-born black persons (aOR 5.7, 95% CI 1.2-25.9) than with US-born white persons. TB caused by M. africanum did not show differences in clinical characteristics when compared with TB caused by M. tuberculosis. Clustered cases defined as >2 cases in a county with identical 24-locus mycobacterial interspersed repetitive unit genotypes, were less likely for M. africanum (aOR 0.1, 95% CI 0.1-0.4), which suggests that M. africanum is not commonly transmitted in the United States.
Project description:Mycobacterium africanum consists of two phylogenetically distinct lineages within the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, known as M. africanum West African 1 and M. africanum West African 2. These lineages are restricted to West Africa, where they cause up to half of human pulmonary tuberculosis. In this review we discuss the definition of M. africanum, describe the prevalence and restricted geographical distribution of M. africanum West African 1 and 2, review the occurrence of M. africanum in animals, and summarize the phenotypic differences described thus far between M. africanum and M. tuberculosis sensu stricto.
Project description:Mycobacterium africanum is thought to comprise a unique species within the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex. M. africanum has traditionally been identified by phenotypic criteria, occupying an intermediate position between M. tuberculosis and M. bovis according to biochemical characteristics. Although M. africanum isolates present near-identical sequence homology to other species of the M. tuberculosis complex, several studies have uncovered large genomic regions variably deleted from certain M. africanum isolates. To further investigate the genomic characteristics of organisms characterized as M. africanum, the DNA content of 12 isolates was interrogated by using Affymetrix GeneChip. Analysis revealed genomic regions of M. tuberculosis deleted from all isolates of putative diagnostic and biological consequence. The distribution of deleted sequences suggests that M. africanum subtype II isolates are situated among strains of "modern" M. tuberculosis. In contrast, other M. africanum isolates (subtype I) constitute two distinct evolutionary branches within the M. tuberculosis complex. To test for an association between deleted sequences and biochemical attributes used for speciation, a phenotypically diverse panel of "M. africanum-like" isolates from Guinea-Bissau was tested for these deletions. These isolates clustered together within one of the M. africanum subtype I branches, irrespective of phenotype. These results indicate that convergent biochemical profiles can be independently obtained for M. tuberculosis complex members, challenging the traditional approach to M. tuberculosis complex speciation. Furthermore, the genomic results suggest a rational framework for defining M. africanum and provide tools to accurately assess its prevalence in clinical specimens.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Understanding transmission dynamics is useful for tuberculosis (TB) control. A population-based molecular epidemiological study was conducted to determine TB transmission in Ghana. METHODS:Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) isolates obtained from prospectively sampled pulmonary TB patients between July 2012 and December 2015 were characterized using spoligotyping and standard 15-locus mycobacterial interspersed repetitive unit variable number tandem repeat (MIRU-VNTR) typing for transmission studies. RESULTS:Out of 2309 MTBC isolates, 1082 (46.9%) unique cases were identified, with 1227 (53.1%) isolates belonging to one of 276 clusters. The recent TB transmission rate was estimated to be 41.2%. Whereas TB strains of lineage 4 belonging to M. tuberculosis showed a high recent transmission rate (44.9%), reduced recent transmission rates were found for lineages of Mycobacterium africanum (lineage 5, 31.8%; lineage 6, 24.7%). CONCLUSIONS:The study findings indicate high recent TB transmission, suggesting the occurrence of unsuspected outbreaks in Ghana. The observed reduced transmission rate of M. africanum suggests other factor(s) (host/environmental) may be responsible for its continuous presence in West Africa.
Project description: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.
Project description:Mycobacterium africanum is a member of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) and an important cause of human tuberculosis in West Africa that is rarely observed elsewhere. Here we genotyped 613 MTBC clinical isolates from Ghana, and searched for associations between the different phylogenetic lineages of MTBC and patient variables. We found that 17.1% (105/613) of the MTBC isolates belonged to M. africanum, with the remaining belonging to M. tuberculosis sensu stricto. No M. bovis was identified in this sample. M. africanum was significantly more common in tuberculosis patients belonging to the Ewe ethnic group (adjusted odds ratio: 3.02; 95% confidence interval: 1.67-5.47, p<0.001). Stratifying our analysis by the two phylogenetic lineages of M. africanum (i.e. MTBC Lineages 5 and 6) revealed that this association was mainly driven by Lineage 5 (also known as M. africanum West Africa 1). Our findings suggest interactions between the genetic diversity of MTBC and human diversity, and offer a possible explanation for the geographical restriction of M. africanum to parts of West Africa.
Project description:Tuberculosis remains a public health problem and a main cause of death to humans. Both Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium africanum cause tuberculosis. In contrast to M. tuberculosis, which is geographically spread, M. africanum is restricted to West Africa. Differences have also been found in the growth rate and type of disease caused by M. africanum, globally suggesting an attenuation of this bacteria. In this study, we used the mouse model of infection to follow the dynamics of M. africanum infection in terms of bacterial burdens and tissue pathology, as well as the immune response triggered. Our findings support a lower virulence of M. africanum as compared to M. tuberculosis, including in mice lacking IFN-γ, a major protective cytokine in tuberculosis. Furthermore, the lung immune response triggered by M. africanum infection in wild-type animals was characterized by a discrete influx of leukocytes and a modest transcriptional upregulation of inflammatory mediators. Our findings contribute to elucidate the pathogenesis of M. africanum, supporting the hypothesis that this is an attenuated member of the tuberculosis-causing bacteria. Understanding the biology of M. africanum and how it interacts with the host to establish infection will have implications for our knowledge of TB and for the development of novel and better tools to control this devastating disease.
Project description:Type I interferons (IFNs, including IFN-αβ) contribute to the pathogenesis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains that induce high IFN-αβ levels. In the current study we examined the role of IFN-αβ during infection with a Mycobacterium africanum strain that induces low IFN-β levels. We infected wild-type and IFN-αβ receptor knockout mice with M. africanum and monitored bacterial growth, lung disease, and survival over 292 days. We found reduced lung bacterial burdens and less severe histopathological findings in the absence of IFN-αβ signaling. We conclude that IFN-αβ is pathogenic during chronic M. africanum infection and that the pathogenic effects may be mediated through poorer control of bacterial growth.