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J Clin Microbiol. 1995 Apr;33(4):840-4.

Differentiation of strains in Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex by DNA sequence polymorphisms, including rapid identification of M. bovis BCG.

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  • Infectious Diseases Section, Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center, North Carolina 27705, USA.


The Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex includes M. tuberculosis, M. bovis, M. microti, and M. africanum. Seven strains of the M. tuberculosis complex were sequenced in a region of about 300 bp which contains multiple 15-bp tandem repeats and which is part of a 1,551-bp open reading frame. Four distinct sequences were obtained, each defining a sequevar. A sequevar includes the strain or strains with a given sequence. The type strain M. tuberculosis TMC 102 (H37Rv) was designated sequevar MED-G. When compared to MED-G, sequevar LONG had an insertion of one 15-bp tandem repeat and sequevar SHORT had a deletion of one tandem repeat. Sequevar MED-C had a G-->C substitution, coding for the conservative change Ser-->Thr. BanI cuts only sequevar MED-C at the site of the substitution. PCR-restriction enzyme analysis was used to determine the sequevars of 92 M. tuberculosis complex strains. All 23 M. bovis BCG strains belonged to sequevar MED-C. The M. africanum type strain was sequevar SHORT. The remaining 68 strains of M. tuberculosis, M. bovis (not BCG), and M. microti were sequevars LONG (3 strains) or MED-G (65 strains). PCR-restriction enzyme analysis was applied to reference strains and clinical isolates with a worldwide distribution. This method provides rapid, sensitive, and specific identification of the important vaccine strain M. bovis BCG.

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