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Tuberculosis (Edinb). 2004;84(3-4):159-66.

Microarray analysis of Mycobacterium microti reveals deletion of genes encoding PE-PPE proteins and ESAT-6 family antigens.

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Veterinary Laboratories Agency (Weybridge), Woodham Lane, New Haw, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 3NB, UK.


Mycobacterium microti is the agent of tuberculosis in wild voles and has been used as a live vaccine against tuberculosis in man and cattle. To explore the M. microti genome in greater detail, we used a M. tuberculosis H37Rv genomic DNA microarray to detect gene deletions among M. microti isolates. A number of deletions were identified that correlated with those described previously (Infect. Immun. 70 (2002) 5568) but a novel M. microti deletion was also found (MiD4) which removes 5 genes that code for ESAT-6 family antigens and PE-PPE proteins. Southern blot experiments showed that this region was also deleted from M. pinnipedii, a mycobacterium isolated from seals that is closely related to M. microti. Genes encoding ESAT-6 antigens and PE-PPE proteins appear to be frequently deleted from M. microti, and the implications of this are discussed.

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