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Int J Mycobacteriol. 2019 Oct-Dec;8(4):320-328. doi: 10.4103/ijmy.ijmy_144_19.

Diversified lineages and drug-resistance profiles of clinical isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex in Malaysia.

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Faculty of Pharmacy, Integrative Pharmacogenomics Institute, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Puncak Alam, Selangor, Malaysia.
Faculty of Applied Sciences, Integrative Pharmacogenomics Institute, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Puncak Alam, Selangor, Malaysia.
Makmal Kesihatan Awam Kebangsaan, Sungai Buloh, Selangor, Malaysia.
Integrative Pharmacogenomics Institute, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Puncak Alam, Selangor, Malaysia.
Disease Control Division, Ministry of Health, Putrajaya, Malaysia.
Institute of Respiratory Medicine, Ministry of Health, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
School of Health Sciences Health Campus, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia.



Tuberculosis (TB) is still a major health problem in Malaysia with thousands of cases reported yearly. This is further burdened with the emergence of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) provides high-resolution molecular epidemiological data for the accurate determination of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) lineages and prediction of the drug-resistance patterns. This study aimed to investigate the diversity of MTBC in Malaysia in terms of lineage and drug-resistance patterns of the clinical MTBC isolates using WGS approach.


The genomes of 24 MTBC isolated from sputum and pus samples were sequenced. The phenotypic drug susceptibility testing (DST) of the isolates was determined for ten anti-TB drugs. Bioinformatic analysis comprising genome assembly and annotation and single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis in genes associated with resistance to the ten anti-TB drugs were done on each sequenced genome.


The draft assemblies covered an average of 97% of the expected genome size. Eleven isolates were aligned to the Indo-Oceanic lineage, eight were East-Asian lineage, three were East African-Indian lineage, and one was of Euro-American and Bovis lineages, respectively. Twelve of the 24 MTBC isolates were phenotypically MDR M. tuberculosis: one is polyresistance and another one is monoresistance. Twenty-six SNPs across nine genes associated with resistance toward ten anti-TB drugs were detected where some of the mutations were found in isolates that were previously reported as pan-susceptible using DST. A haplotype consisting of 65 variants was also found among the MTBC isolates with drug-resistance traits.


This study is the first effort done in Malaysia to utilize 24 genomes of the local clinical MTBC isolates. The high-resolution molecular epidemiological data obtained provide valuable insights into the mechanistic and epidemiological qualities of TB within the vicinity of Southeast Asia.


Multidrug resistance; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; next-generation sequencing-based drug susceptibility testing screening; phenotypic drug susceptibility testing screening; whole-genome sequence

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