Understanding drug resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis requires an integrated analysis of strain lineages, mutations and gene expression. Previously, we reported the differential expression of esxG, esxH, infA, groES, rpmI, rpsA and lipF genes in a sensitive M. tuberculosis strain and in a multidrug-resistant clinical isolate. Here, we have evaluated the expression of these genes in 24 clinical isolates that belong to different lineages and have different drug resistance profiles. In vitro, growth kinetics analysis showed no difference in the growth of the clinical isolates, and thus drug resistance occurred without a fitness cost. However, a quantitative reverse transcription PCR analysis of gene expression revealed high variability among the clinical isolates, including those with similar drug resistance profiles. Due to the complexity of gene regulation pathways and the wide diversity of M. tuberculosis lineages, the use of gene expression as a molecular signature for drug resistance is not straightforward. Therefore, we recommend that the expression of M. tuberculosis genes be performed individually, and baseline expression levels should be verified among several different clinical isolates, before any further applications of these findings.
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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology