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Mycobacterium tuberculosis lineage 4 comprises globally distributed and geographically restricted sublineages

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journal contribution
posted on 02.10.2020 by David Stucki, Daniela Brites, Leïla Jeljeli, Mireia Coscolla, Qingyun Liu, Andrej Trauner, Lukas Fenner, Liliana Rutaihwa, Sonia Borrell, Tao Luo, Qian Gao, Midori Kato-Maeda, Marie Ballif, Matthias Egger, Rita Macedo, Helmi Mardassi, Milagros Moreno, Griselda Tudo Vilanova, Janet Fyfe, Maria Globan, Jackson Thomas, Frances Jamieson, Jennifer L Guthrie, Adwoa Asante-Poku, Dorothy Yeboah-Manu, Eddie Wampande, Willy Ssengooba, Moses Joloba, W Henry Boom, Indira Basu, James Bower, Margarida Saraiva, Sidra EG Vasconcellos, Philip Suffys, Anastasia Koch, Robert Wilkinson, Linda Gail-Bekker, Bijaya Malla, Serej D Ley, Hans-Peter Beck, Bouke C de Jong, Kadri Toit, Elisabeth Sanchez-Padilla, Maryline Bonnet, Ana Gil-Brusola, Matthias Frank, Veronique N Penlap Beng, Kathleen Eisenach, Issam Alani, Perpetual Wangui Ndung'u, Gunturu Revathi, Florian Gehre, Suriya Akter, Francine Ntoumi, Lynsey Stewart-Isherwood, Nyanda E Ntinginya, Andrea Rachow, Michael Hoelscher, Daniela Maria Cirillo, Girts Skenders, Sven Hoffner, Daiva Bakonyte, Petras Stakenas, Roland Diel, Valeriu Crudu, Olga Moldovan, Sahal Al-Hajoj, Larissa Otero, Francesca Barletta, E Jane Carter, Lameck Diero, Philip Supply, Iñaki Comas, Stefan Niemann, Sebastien Gagneux
Generalist and specialist species differ in the breadth of their ecological niches. Little is known about the niche width of obligate human pathogens. Here we analyzed a global collection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis lineage 4 clinical isolates, the most geographically widespread cause of human tuberculosis. We show that lineage 4 comprises globally distributed and geographically restricted sublineages, suggesting a distinction between generalists and specialists. Population genomic analyses showed that, whereas the majority of human T cell epitopes were conserved in all sublineages, the proportion of variable epitopes was higher in generalists. Our data further support a European origin for the most common generalist sublineage. Hence, the global success of lineage 4 reflects distinct strategies adopted by different sublineages and the influence of human migration.

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