A novel Ancestral Beijing sublineage of Mycobacterium tuberculosis suggests the transition site to Modern Beijing sublineages

Sci Rep. 2019 Sep 23;9(1):13718. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-50078-3.


Global Mycobacterium tuberculosis population comprises 7 major lineages. The Beijing strains, particularly the ones classified as Modern groups, have been found worldwide, frequently associated with drug resistance, younger ages, outbreaks and appear to be expanding. Here, we report analysis of whole genome sequences of 1170 M. tuberculosis isolates together with their patient profiles. Our samples belonged to Lineage 1-4 (L1-L4) with those of L1 and L2 being equally dominant. Phylogenetic analysis revealed several new or rare sublineages. Differential associations between sublineages of M. tuberculosis and patient profiles, including ages, ethnicity, HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection and drug resistance were demonstrated. The Ancestral Beijing strains and some sublineages of L4 were associated with ethnic minorities while L1 was more common in Thais. L2.2.1.Ancestral 4 surprisingly had a mutation that is typical of the Modern Beijing sublineages and was common in Akha and Lahu tribes who have migrated from Southern China in the last century. This may indicate that the evolutionary transition from the Ancestral to Modern Beijing sublineages might be gradual and occur in Southern China, where the presence of multiple ethnic groups might have allowed for the circulations of various co-evolving sublineages which ultimately lead to the emergence of the Modern Beijing strains.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Beijing
  • Biological Evolution*
  • China
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / genetics*
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / isolation & purification
  • Phylogeny*
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / microbiology*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / microbiology*
  • Whole Genome Sequencing
  • Young Adult