Setting: Five IS6110 chromosomal insertion sites were characterized in the multidrug resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis 'W' strain.
Objective: To use insertion site probes to study the phylogenetic distribution of IS6110 in the M. tuberculosis genome.
Design: A total of 722 M. tuberculosis isolates, previously genotyped using the standard IS6110 Southern blot hybridization methodology, were re-hybridized with the Region A insertion site probe and representative strains were further hybridized with the Region B and C probes. Strains were grouped on the basis of having IS6110 insertions in these different regions and their relatedness was further compared by sequencing the IS6110 insertion sites.
Results: The insertion site probes revealed that the collection of Chinese isolates previously grouped as the Beijing strain family shared IS6110 insertions in common with the W and other genotypic group 1 strains. Unexpectedly, we found that IS6110 integrated at least 10 independent times between the dnaA and dnaN genes encoding deoxyribonucleic acid replication proteins.
Conclusions: IS6110 insertion site mapping is able to identify genetic relatedness among a collection of M. tuberculosis clinical strains representing the breadth of species diversity. The mapping data indicate that IS6110 insertion sites are not always random.