Molecular Characterisation of M. kansasii Isolates by Whole-Genome Sequencing

Pathogens. 2023 Oct 17;12(10):1249. doi: 10.3390/pathogens12101249.


M. kansasii is the most common non-tuberculous mycobacteria, known to be causing pulmonary and extrapulmonary diseases in humans. Based on molecular methods, M. kansasii has been previously classified into seven different subtypes. Now, based on whole-genome sequence analysis, a new species designation was proposed, in which M. kansasii species was designated subtype 1 and is of pathogenic significance in both immunocompetent and immunocompromised patients. The aim of the study is to examine the distribution of subtypes, based on whole-genome sequence analysis, and identify the genetic determinants of drug resistance for the isolates. Whole-genome sequencing was performed using 12 isolates for which phenotypic DST results were available. A phylogenetic tree was constructed by alignment of each of the 12 isolates and the additional strains, as well as the M. kansasii reference strain, using the MAFFT algorithm. Based on this analysis, all 12 isolates were classified as subtype I. Drug-resistant mutations were identified by analysing the isolates with known drug-resistant loci of MTB and NTM. Although we had mutations in the drug-resistant genes, the significance of those mutations could not be explored due to the minimal availability of data available to compare. Further large-scale studies targeting the phenotypic and genotypic drug-resistance pattern, along with whole-genome analysis, will facilitate a better understanding of the resistance mechanisms involved in M. kansasii.

Keywords: M. kansasii; drug resistance; mutations; phylogeny; whole-genome sequencing.

Grants and funding

Funded by ICMR extramural grant.