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Eur J Immunol. 2017 Feb 2. doi: 10.1002/eji.201646562. [Epub ahead of print]

Immunological consequences of strain variation within the Mycobacterium Tuberculosis complex.

Author information

  • 1Vaccines and Immunity Theme, Medical Research Council Unit, The Gambia, Banjul, The Gambia.
  • 2Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Yaoundé 1, Yaoundé, Cameroon.
  • 3Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine and Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town, Observatory, Republic of South Africa.
  • 4Department of Medicine, Imperial College, London, W2 1PG, United Kingdom.
  • 5The Francis Crick Institute, London, NW1 2AT, United Kingdom.


In 2015 there were an estimated 10.4 million new cases of Tuberculosis (TB) globally, making it one of the leading causes of death due to an infectious disease. TB is caused by members of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC), with human disease resulting from infection by M. tuberculosis sensu strico and M. africanum. Recent progress in genotyping techniques, in particular the increasing availability of whole genome sequence data, has revealed previously under appreciated levels of genetic diversity within the MTBC. Several studies have shown that this genetic diversity may translate into differences in TB transmission, clinical manifestations of disease, and host immune responses. This suggests the existence of MTBC genotype-dependent host-pathogen interactions which may influence the outcome of infection and progression of disease. In this review, we highlight the studies demonstrating differences in innate and adaptive immunological outcomes consequent on MTBC genetic diversity, and discuss how these differences in immune response might influence the development of TB vaccines, diagnostics and new therapies. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


Adaptive and innate immunity; Genetic diversity; Host response; Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex; Translational implications

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