The Presence of esat-6 and cfp10 and Other Gene Orthologs of the RD 1 Region in Non-Tuberculous Mycobacteria, Mycolicibacteria, Mycobacteroides and Mycolicibacter as Possible Impediments for the Diagnosis of (Animal) Tuberculosis

Nomakorinte Gcebe*, Tiny Motlatso Hlokwe, Agnes Bouw, Anita Michel, Victor P. M. G. Rutten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The Esx-1 family proteins of the Type VII secretion systems of Mycobacterium bovis and Mycobacterium tuberculosis have been assessed and are frequently used as candidates for tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis in both humans and animals. The presence of ESAT-6 and CFP 10 proteins, which are the most immunogenic proteins of the Esx-1 system and have been widely investigated for the immunodiagnosis of tuberculosis, in some Mycobacteriaceae and in Mycobacterium leprae, poses limitations for their use in specific diagnoses of TB. As such, to improve the specificity of the ESAT-6/CFP 10-based cell-mediated immunity (CMI) assays, other proteins encoded by genes within and outside the RD 1 region of the esx-1 locus have been evaluated as candidate antigens for CMI, as well as to investigate humoral responses in combination with ESAT-6 and or CFP 10, with varying specificity and sensitivity results. Hence, in this study, we evaluated various non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), Mycolicibacterium, Mycolicibacter and Mycobacteroides species genomes available on the NCBI database for the presence and composition of the RD1 region of the esx-1 locus. In addition, we also assayed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing of Mycobacteriaceae available in our culture collection for the presence and sequence diversity of esxA and esxB genes encoding ESAT-6 and CFP 10, respectively. Whole genome sequence (WGS) data analysis revealed the presence of RD 1 gene orthologs in 70 of the over 100 published genomes of pathogenic and non- pathogenic Mycobcteriaceae other than tuberculosis. Among species evaluated from our culture collection, in addition to earlier reports of the presence of esxA and esxB in certain Mycolicibacterium, Mycolicibacterium septicum/peregrinum, Mycolicibacterium porcinum and Mycobacterium sp. N845T were also found to harbour orthologs of both genes. Orthologs of esxA only were detected in Mycobacterium brasiliensis, Mycolicibacterium elephantis and Mycolicibacterium flouroantheinivorans, whereas in Mycolicibacter engbackii, Mycolicibacterium mageritense and Mycobacterium paraffinicum, only esxB orthologs were detected. A phylogenetic analysis based on esxA and esxB sequences separated slow-growing from rapidly growing bacteria. These findings strengthen previous suggestions that esxA and esxB may be encoded in the majority of Mycobacteriaceae. The role of the Esx-1 system in both pathogenic and non-pathogenic Mycobacteriaceae needs further investigation, as these species may pose limitations to immunological assays for TB.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1151
Number of pages20
JournalMicroorganisms
Volume12
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2024

Keywords

  • CFP 10
  • ESAT-6
  • Esx-1
  • Mycobacteriaceae
  • RD1
  • tuberculosis

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