Behra PRK, Pettersson BMF, Ramesh M, Dasgupta S, Kirsebom LA
Sci Rep 9 (1) 19259 [2019-12-00; online 2019-12-17]
Nontuberculous mycobacteria, NTM, are of growing concern and among these members of the Mycobacterium mucogenicum (Mmuc) and Mycobacterium neoaurum (Mneo) clades can cause infections in humans and they are resistant to first-line anti-tuberculosis drugs. They can be isolated from different ecological niches such as soil, tap water and ground water. Mycobacteria, such as Mmuc and Mneo, are classified as rapid growing mycobacteria, RGM, while the most familiar, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, belongs to the slow growing mycobacteria, SGM. Modern "omics" approaches have provided new insights into our understanding of the biology and evolution of this group of bacteria. Here we present comparative genomics data for seventeen NTM of which sixteen belong to the Mmuc- and Mneo-clades. Focusing on virulence genes, including genes encoding sigma/anti-sigma factors, serine threonine protein kinases (STPK), type VII (ESX genes) secretion systems and mammalian cell entry (Mce) factors we provide insight into their presence as well as phylogenetic relationship in the case of the sigma/anti-sigma factors and STPKs. Our data further suggest that these NTM lack ESX-5 and Mce2 genes, which are known to affect virulence. In this context, Mmuc- and Mneo-clade members lack several of the genes in the glycopeptidolipid (GLP) locus, which have roles in colony morphotype appearance and virulence. For the M. mucogenicum type strain, Mmuc T, we provide RNASeq data focusing on mRNA levels for sigma factors, STPK, ESX proteins and Mce proteins. These data are discussed and compared to in particular the SGM and fish pathogen Mycobacterium marinum. Finally, we provide insight into as to why members of the Mmuc- and Mneo-clades show resistance to rifampin and isoniazid, and why MmucT forms a rough colony morphotype.