Deciphering the biology of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from the complete genome sequence

Nature. 1998 Jun 11;393(6685):537-44. doi: 10.1038/31159.


Countless millions of people have died from tuberculosis, a chronic infectious disease caused by the tubercle bacillus. The complete genome sequence of the best-characterized strain of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, H37Rv, has been determined and analysed in order to improve our understanding of the biology of this slow-growing pathogen and to help the conception of new prophylactic and therapeutic interventions. The genome comprises 4,411,529 base pairs, contains around 4,000 genes, and has a very high guanine + cytosine content that is reflected in the biased amino-acid content of the proteins. M. tuberculosis differs radically from other bacteria in that a very large portion of its coding capacity is devoted to the production of enzymes involved in lipogenesis and lipolysis, and to two new families of glycine-rich proteins with a repetitive structure that may represent a source of antigenic variation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Bacterial
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Genome, Bacterial*
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / genetics*
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / immunology
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / metabolism
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / pathogenicity
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Tuberculosis / microbiology

Associated data

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  • GENBANK/AL008883
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  • GENBANK/AL021931