Mycobacterium tuberculosis whole genome sequencing provides insights into the Manila strain and drug-resistance mutations in the Philippines.

Research paper by Jody E JE Phelan, Dodge R DR Lim, Satoshi S Mitarai, Paola Florez PF de Sessions, Ma Angelica A MAA Tujan, Lorenzo T LT Reyes, Inez Andrea P IAP Medado, Alma G AG Palparan, Ahmad Nazri Mohamed ANM Naim, Song S Jie, Edelwisa E Segubre-Mercado, Beatriz B Simoes, Susana S Campino, Julius C JC Hafalla, Yoshiro Y Murase, et al.

Indexed on: 10 Apr '20Published on: 28 Jun '19Published in: Scientific Reports


The Philippines has a high incidence of tuberculosis disease (TB), with an increasing prevalence of multidrug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MDR-TB) strains making its control difficult. Although the M. tuberculosis "Manila" ancient lineage 1 strain-type is thought to be prevalent in the country, with evidence of export to others, little is known about the genetic diversity of circulating strains. By whole genome sequencing (WGS) 178 isolates from the Philippines National Drug Resistance Survey, we found the majority (143/178; 80.3%) belonged to the lineage 1 Manila clade, with the minority belonging to lineages 4 (European-American; n = 33) and 2 (East Asian; n = 2). A high proportion were found to be multidrug-resistant (34/178; 19.1%), established through highly concordant laboratory drug susceptibility testing and in silico prediction methods. Some MDR-TB isolates had near identical genomic variation, providing potential evidence of transmission. By placing the Philippine isolates within a phylogeny of global M. tuberculosis (n > 17,000), we established that they are genetically similar to those observed outside the country, including a clade of Manila-like strain-types in Thailand. An analysis of the phylogeny revealed a set of ~200 SNPs that are specific for the Manila strain-type, and a subset can be used within a molecular barcode. Sixty-eight mutations known to be associated with 10 anti-TB drug resistance were identified in the Philippine strains, and all have been observed in other populations. Whilst nine putative streptomycin resistance conferring markers in gid (8) and rrs (1) genes appear to be novel and with functional consequences. Overall, this study provides an important baseline characterisation of M. tuberculosis genetic diversity for the Philippines, and will fill a gap in global datasets and aid the development of a nation-wide database for epidemiological studies and clinical decision making. Further, by establishing a molecular barcode for detecting Manila strains it will assist with the design of diagnostic tools for disease control activities.

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