Phylogenetically informative mutations in genes implicated in antibiotic resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex
Merker M., Kohl TA., Barilar I., Andres S., Fowler PW., Chryssanthou E., Ängeby K., Jureen P., Moradigaravand D., Parkhill J., Peacock SJ., Schön T., Maurer FP., Walker T., Köser C., Niemann S.
<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:sec> <jats:title>Background</jats:title> <jats:p>A comprehensive understanding of the pre-existing genetic variation in genes associated with antibiotic resistance in the <jats:italic>Mycobacterium tuberculosis</jats:italic> complex (MTBC) is needed to accurately interpret whole-genome sequencing data for genotypic drug susceptibility testing (DST).</jats:p> </jats:sec><jats:sec> <jats:title>Methods</jats:title> <jats:p>We investigated mutations in 92 genes implicated in resistance to 21 anti-tuberculosis drugs using the genomes of 405 phylogenetically diverse MTBC strains. The role of phylogenetically informative mutations was assessed by routine phenotypic DST data for the first-line drugs isoniazid, rifampicin, ethambutol, and pyrazinamide from a separate collection of over 7000 clinical strains. Selected mutations/strains were further investigated by minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) testing.</jats:p> </jats:sec><jats:sec> <jats:title>Results</jats:title> <jats:p>Out of 547 phylogenetically informative mutations identified, 138 were classified as not correlating with resistance to first-line drugs. MIC testing did not reveal a discernible impact of a <jats:italic>Rv1979c</jats:italic> deletion shared by <jats:italic>M. africanum</jats:italic> lineage 5 strains on resistance to clofazimine. Finally, we found molecular evidence that some MTBC subgroups may be hyper-susceptible to bedaquiline and clofazimine by different loss-of-function mutations affecting a drug efflux pump subunit (MmpL5).</jats:p> </jats:sec><jats:sec> <jats:title>Conclusions</jats:title> <jats:p>Our findings underline that the genetic diversity in MTBC has to be studied more systematically to inform the design of clinical trials and to define sound epidemiologic cut-off values (ECOFFs) for new and repurposed anti-tuberculosis drugs. In that regard, our comprehensive variant catalogue provides a solid basis for the interpretation of mutations in genotypic as well as in phenotypic DST assays.</jats:p> </jats:sec>