Differences in ability to produce the specific phenolic glycolipid-Tb (PGL-Tb) antigen among Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains have been reported. One of the explanations would be the genotypic variation between the strains. In this study, we compared the DNA fragment patterns after digestion of DNA with various restriction enzymes between the PGL-Tb producing and non-producing strains of M. tuberculosis. Three clinical isolates of M. tuberculosis producing the PGL-Tb antigen detectable by thin-layer chromatography, and M. tuberculosis H37Rv and M. bovis BCG not producing the antigen were grown in Sauton medium. The chromosomal DNA was digested with the restriction endonucleases, Eco RI, Sau3A I, BamH I, Xho I, Sma I, Pst I, Hinc II, and Bst EII. Most of the restriction enzymes used gave no clear DNA bands or no DNA fragment common just to the PGL-Tb producing strains. When DNAs were digested with Bst EII, however, there was a 13 kb DNA fragment common to the PGL-Tb producing isolates of M. tuberculosis and not present in the H37Rv strain and M. bovis BCG. This study thus suggests that there might be differences in DNA fragment patterns between the PLG-Tb producing and non-producing strains of M. tuberculosis.
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