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Stucki, David; Brites, Daniela; Jeljeli, Leila; Coscolla, Mireia; Liu, Qingyun; Trauner, Andrej; Fenner, Lukas; Rutaihwa, Liliana; Borrell, Sonia; Luo, Tao; Gao, Qian; Kato-Maeda, Midori; Ballif, Marie; Egger, Matthias; Macedo, Rita; Mardassi, Helmi; Moreno, Milagros; Tudo Vilanova, Griselda; Fyfe, Janet; Globan, Maria; Thomas, Jackson; Jamieson, Frances; Guthrie, Jennifer L.; Asante-Poku, Adwoa; Yeboah-Manu, Dorothy; Wampande, Eddie; Ssengooba, Willy; Joloba, Moses; Boom, W. Henry; Basu, Indira; Bower, James; Saraiva, Margarida; Vasconcellos, Sidra E. G.; Suffys, Philip; Koch, Anastasia; Wilkinson, Robert; Gail-Bekker, Linda; Malla, Bijaya; Ley, Serej D.; Beck, Hans-Peter; Jong, Bouke C. de; Toit, Kadri; Sanchez-Padilla, Elisabeth; Bonnet, Maryline; Gil-Brusola, Ana; Frank, Matthias; Beng, Veronique N. Penlap; Eisenach, Kathleen; Alani, Issam; Ndung'u, Perpetual Wangui; Revathi, Gunturu; Gehre, Florian; Akter, Suriya; Ntoumi, Francine; Stewart-Isherwood, Lynsey; Ntinginya, Nyanda E.; Rachow, Andrea; Hölscher, Michael; Cirillo, Daniela Maria; Skenders, Girts; Hoffner, Sven; Bakonyte, Daiva; Stakenas, Petras; Diel, Roland; Crudu, Valeriu; Moldovan, Olga; Al-Hajoj, Sahal; Otero, Larissa; Barletta, Francesca; Carter, E. Jane; Diero, Lameck; Supply, Philip; Comas, Inack; Niemann, Stefan; Gagneux, Sebastien (2016): Mycobacterium tuberculosis lineage 4 comprises globally distributed and geographically restricted sublineages. In: Nature Genetics, Vol. 48, Nr. 12: S. 1535-1543
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Abstract

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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