Transcriptome analysis of mycobacteria in sputum samples of pulmonary tuberculosis patients

Citation: Sharma S, Ryndak MB, Aggarwal AN, Yadav R, Sethi S, Masih S, et al. (2017) Transcriptome analysis of mycobacteria in sputum samples of pulmonary tuberculosis patients. PLoS ONE 12(3): e0173508.
Published: March 10, 2017

Pulmonary tuberculosis, the disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, still retains a top rank among the deadliest communicable diseases. Sputum expectorated during the disease continues to be a primary diagnostic specimen and also serves as a reservoir of bacteria. The expression pattern of mycobacteria in sputum will lead to an insight into bacterial adaptation at the most highly transmissible stage of infection and can also help in identifying newer diagnostic as well as drug targets. Thus, in the present study, a whole genome microarray of Mycobacterium tuberculosis was used to elucidate the transcriptional profile of mycobacteria in the sputum samples of smear positive pulmonary tuberculosis patients. Overall, the mycobacteria in sputum appeared to be in a low energy and low replicative state as compared to in vitro grown log phase M. tb with downregulation of genes involved in ATP synthesis, aerobic respiration and translational machinery. Simultaneously, downregulation was also seen in the genes involved in secretion machinery of mycobacteria along with the downregulation of genes involved in the synthesis of phthiocerol dimycocerosate and phenol glycolipids. In contrast, the majority of the genes which showed an upregulation in sputum mycobacteria were of unknown function. Further identification of these genes may provide new insights into the mycobacterial behavior during this phase of infection and may help in deciphering candidates for development of better diagnostic and drug candidates.


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