Tuberculosis (TB), caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), remains a serious global health problem in the 21st century because of its high mortality. Mtb is an extremely successful human-adapted pathogen that displays a multifactorial ability to control the host immune response and to evade killing by drugs, resulting in the breakdown of BCG vaccine-conferred anti-TB immunity and development of multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) Mtb. Although genetic components of the genomes of the Mtb complex strains are highly conserved, showing over 99% similarity to other bacterial genera, recently accumulated evidence suggests that the genetic diversity of the Mtb complex strains has implications for treatment outcomes, development of MDR/XDR Mtb, BCG vaccine efficacy, transmissibility, and epidemiological outbreaks. Thus, new insights into the pathophysiological features of the Mtb complex strains are required for development of novel vaccines and for control of MDR/XDR Mtb infection, eventually leading to refinement of treatment regimens and the health care system. Many studies have focused on the differential identification of Mtb complex strains belonging to different lineages because of differences in their virulence and geographical dominance. In this review, we discuss the impact of differing genetic characteristics among Mtb complex strains on vaccine efficacy, treatment outcome, development of MDR/XDR Mtb strains, and epidemiological outbreaks by focusing on the best-adapted human Mtb lineages. We further explore the rationale for differential identification of Mtb strains for more effective control of TB in clinical and laboratory settings by scrutinizing current diagnostic methods.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology