Differential transcriptomic and metabolic profiles of M. africanum- and M. tuberculosis-infected patients after, but not before, drug treatment

Genes Immun. Jul-Aug 2015;16(5):347-55. doi: 10.1038/gene.2015.21. Epub 2015 Jun 4.


The epidemiology of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) and M. africanum (Maf) suggests differences in their virulence, but the host immune profile to better understand the pathogenesis of tuberculosis (TB) have not been studied. We compared the transcriptomic and metabolic profiles between Mtb- and Maf-infected TB cases to identify host biomarkers associated with lineages-specific pathogenesis and response to anti-TB chemotherapy. Venous blood samples from Mtb- and Maf-infected patients obtained before and after anti-TB treatment were analyzed for cell composition, gene expression and metabolic profiles. Prior to treatment, similar transcriptomic profiles were seen in Maf- and Mtb-infected patients. In contrast, post treatment, over 1600 genes related to immune responses and metabolic diseases were differentially expressed between the groups. Notably, the upstream regulator hepatocyte nuclear factor 4-alpha (HNF4α), which regulated 15% of these genes, was markedly enriched. Serum metabolic profiles were similar in both group pre-treatment, but the decline in pro-inflammatory metabolites post treatment were most pronounced in Mtb-infected patients. Together, the differences in both peripheral blood transcriptomic and serum metabolic profiles between Maf- and Mtb-infected patients observed over the treatment period, might be indicative of intrinsic host factors related to susceptibility to TB and/or differential efficacy of the standard anti-TB treatment on the two lineages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antitubercular Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 4 / genetics
  • Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 4 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolome / drug effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / pathogenicity
  • Transcriptome / drug effects*
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis / genetics*
  • Tuberculosis / microbiology


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • HNF4A protein, human
  • Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 4

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE62147