A new high-throughput AFLP approach for identification of new genetic polymorphism in the genome of the clonal microorganism Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Braak, N van den
Soolingen, D van
Belkum, A. van
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We have here applied high-throughput amplified fragment length polymorphism (htAFLP) analysis to strains belonging to the five classical species of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex. Using 20 strains, three enzyme combinations and eight selective amplification primer pairs, 24 AFLP reactions were performed per strain. Overall, this resulted in 480 DNA fingerprints and more than 1200 htAFLP-amplified PCR fragments were visualised per strain. The cumulative dendrogram correctly clustered strains from the various species, albeit within a distance of 6.5% for most of them. The single isolate of Mycobacterium canettii presented separately at 19% distance. All over, 169 fragments (14%) appeared to be polymorphic. Sixty-eight were specific for M. canetti and forty-five for Mycobacterium bovis. For the 10 different M. tuberculosis strains included in the present analysis, 56 polymorphic markers were identified. Upon sequencing 20 of these marker regions and comparisons with the H37Rv genome sequence, 25% appeared to share homology to members of the antigenically variable PE/PPE surface protein encoding gene family confirming previous findings on the genetic heterogeneity within these genes. In addition, homologues for phage genes and insertion element-encoded genes were detected. Forty-five percent of the sequences derived from ORFs with a currently unknown function, which was corroborated by genome sequence comparison for the clinical M. tuberculosis CD 1551 isolate. Sequence variation in M. tuberculosis was assessed in more detail for a subset of these loci by newly designed PCR restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) tests and direct sequencing. Fourteen novel PCR RFLP tests were developed and twelve novel single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified, all suited for epidemiological analysis of M. tuberculosis. The tests allowed for identification of the major Mycobacterium species and M. tuberculosis variants and clones.