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J Clin Microbiol. 2008 Nov;46(11):3576-84. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00414-08. Epub 2008 Aug 27.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis Beijing genotype in Russia: in search of informative variable-number tandem-repeat loci.

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Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology, St. Petersburg Pasteur Institute, St. Petersburg 197101, Russia.


The Beijing genotype is a globally spread lineage of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In Russia, these strains constitute half of the local population of M. tuberculosis; they are associated with multidrug resistance and show increased transmissibility. Here, we analyzed traditional and new markers for the rapid and simple genotyping of the Beijing strains. A representative sample of 120 Beijing genotype strains was selected from a local IS6110-restriction fragment length (RFLP) database at the St. Petersburg Pasteur Institute. These strains were subjected to variable-number tandem-repeat (VNTR) typing using 24 loci of a newly proposed format and three hypervariable (HV) loci (QUB-3232, VNTR-3820, and VNTR-4120). Ten of the 27 VNTR loci were monomorphic, while five loci, MIRU26, QUB-26, QUB-3232, VNTR-3820, and VNTR-4120, were the most polymorphic (Hunter Gaston index, >0.5). VNTR typing allowed us to differentiate between two large IS6110-RFLP clusters known to be prevalent across the entire country (clusters B0/W148 and A0) and identified in 27 and 23% of strains, respectively, in the Beijing genotype database. The B0/W148 strains were grouped closely in the VNTR dendrogram and could be distinguished by a characteristic signature of the loci MIRU26 and QUB-26. Consequently, this clinically important IS6110-RFLP variant, B0/W148, likely presents a successful clonal group within the M. tuberculosis Beijing lineage that is widespread in Russia. To conclude, the IS6110-RFLP method and VNTR typing using a reduced set of the most polymorphic loci complement each other for the high-resolution epidemiological typing of the M. tuberculosis Beijing genotype strains circulating in or imported from Russia.

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