Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the major causative agent of tuberculosis in humans. It is well known that Mycobacterium bovis and other species in the M. tuberculosis complex (MTC) can cause respiratory diseases as zoonosis. We analyzed the MTC isolates collected from tuberculosis patients from Japan in 2002 using a multiplex PCR system that detected cfp32, RD9 and RD12. A total of 970 MTC isolates that were representative of the tuberculosis cases throughout Japan, were examined using this method. As a result, 966 (99.6%) M. tuberculosis, two Mycobacterium africanum and two Mycobacterium canettii were identified using a multiplex PCR system, while no M. bovis was detected. Two isolates that lacked RD9 were initially considered to be M. canettii, but further analysis of the hsp65 sequence revealed them to be M. tuberculosis. Also two M. africanum were identified as M. tuberculosis using the -215 narG nucleotide polymorphism. Though PCR-linked methods have been used for a rapid differentiation of MTC and NTM, from our cases we suggest careful interpretation of RD based identification.
Keywords: MTC differentiation; Multiplex-PCR; Mycobacterium africanum; Mycobacterium bovis; Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex.
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