Circularization of rv0678 for Genotypic Bedaquiline Resistance Testing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Microbiol Spectr. 2023 Mar 6;11(2):e0412722. doi: 10.1128/spectrum.04127-22. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Circular DNA offers benefits over linear DNA in diagnostic and field assays, but currently, circular DNA generation is lengthy, inefficient, highly dependent on the length and sequence of DNA, and can result in unwanted chimeras. We present streamlined methods for generating PCR-targeted circular DNA from a 700 bp amplicon of rv0678, the high GC content (65%) gene implicated in Mycobacterium tuberculosis bedaquiline resistance, and demonstrate that these methods work as desired. We employ self-circularization with and without splints, a Gibson cloning-based approach, and novel 2 novel methods for generating pseudocircular DNA. The circular DNA can be used as a template for rolling circle PCR followed by long-read sequencing, allowing for the error correction of sequence data, and improving the confidence in the drug resistance determination and strain identification; and, ultimately, improving patient treatment. IMPORTANCE Antimicrobial resistance is a global health threat, and drug resistant tuberculosis is a principal cause of antimicrobial resistance-related fatality. The long turnaround time and the need for high containment biological laboratories of phenotypic growth-based Mycobacterium tuberculosis drug susceptibility testing often commit patients to months of ineffective treatment, and there is a groundswell of effort in shifting from phenotypic to sequencing-based genotypic assays. Bedaquiline is a key component to newer, all oral, drug resistant, tuberculosis regimens. Thus, we focus our study on demonstrating the circularization of rv0678, the gene that underlies most M. tuberculosis bedaquiline resistance. We present 2 novel methods for generating pseudocircular DNA. These methods greatly reduce the complexity and time needed to generate circular DNA templates for rolling circle amplification and long-read sequencing, allowing for error correction of sequence data, and improving confidence in the drug resistance determination and strain identification.

Keywords: Mycobacterium tuberculosis; bedaquiline; drug susceptibility testing; genotypic; infectious disease; sequencing; tuberculosis.