The rise and fall of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis genome.

Unité des Infections Bactériennes Invasives, Département Infection et Epidémiologie, Pasteur Institute, Paris, France.
Trends in Microbiology (Impact Factor: 9.81). 04/2011; 19(4):156-61. DOI: 10.1016/j.tim.2010.12.008
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT When studied from the perspective of non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) it is apparent that Mycobacterium tuberculosis has undergone a biphasic evolutionary process involving genome expansion (gene acquisition and duplication) and reductive evolution (deletions). This scheme can instruct descriptive and experimental studies that determine the importance of ancestral events (including horizontal gene transfer) in shaping the present-day pathogen. For example, heterologous complementation in an NTM can test the functional importance of M. tuberculosis-specific genetic insertions. An appreciation of both phases of M. tuberculosis evolution is expected to improve our fundamental understanding of its pathogenicity and facilitate the evaluation of novel diagnostics and vaccines.

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