Discovery of a unique Mycobacterium tuberculosis protein through proteomic analysis of urine from patients with active tuberculosis


Identification of pathogen-specific biomarkers present in patients' serum or urine samples can be a useful diagnostic approach. In efforts to discover Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) biomarkers we identified by mass spectroscopy a unique 21-mer Mtb peptide sequence (VVLGLTVPGGVELLPGVALPR) present in the urines of TB patients from Zimbabwe. This peptite has 100% sequence homology with the protein TBCG_03312 from the C strain of Mtb (a clinical isolate identified in New York, NY, USA) and 95% sequence homology with Mtb oxidoreductase (MRGA423_21210) from the clinical isolate MTB423 (identified in Kerala, India). Alignment of the genes coding for these proteins show an insertion point mutation relative to Rv3368c of the reference H37Rv strain, which generated a unique C-terminus with no sequence homology with any other described protein. Phylogenetic analysis utilizing public sequence data shows that the insertion mutation is apparently a rare event. However, sera from TB patients from distinct geographical areas of the world (Peru, Vietnam, and South Africa) contain antibodies that recognize a purified recombinant C-terminus of the protein, thus suggesting a wider distribution of isolates that produce this protein. 
Last updated on 03/18/2020