Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) Central Asian Strain (CAS) lineage strains are predominant in South Asia. Mycobacterial interspersed repetitive units-variable number of tandem repeats (MIRU-VNTR) typing is an effective way of determining genetic diversity of strains. A maximum of 24 loci-based MIRU-VNTR typing can be used, however, it is important to investigate the relevance of specific MIRU loci for regional strains for more cost-effective MIRU typing.MIRU-VNTR typing was performed on MTB strains from Pakistan. Strains were comprised of CAS (n= 113) and non-CAS lineages (n= 87) - both multi-drug resistant (MDR) and drug susceptible. Hunter Gaston Discriminatory Index (HGDI) for each MIRU loci was interpreted as poor, moderate or highly discriminatory. Results were analyzed using Bionumerics software and miru-vntr. plus database link.Clustering analysis revealed 185 different MIRU types. Eight clusters of 2 strains each were present amongst MDR (3 clusters) and drug susceptible (5 clusters) isolates. MDR clusters had orphan and Haarlem strains, whereas drug susceptible strain clusters were comprised of CAS and Beijing lineage strains.The HGDI for 15 loci-based MIRU typing of all isolates was 0.620, whereas HGDI for CAS was lower than non-CAS lineage strains (p-value: 0.023). HGDI of 8 MIRU-VNTR loci (Qub 26b, 10, 26, 4156, Mtub 04, 16, 31 and ETR-A) were all highly discriminatory. The average HGDI based on these 8 loci was significantly lower for CAS than non-CAS strains (P value: 0.03).The lower discriminatory index for CAS using both 15 and 8 MIRU loci-based analysis suggests less genetic diversity in these isolates than in other lineages. The eight highly discriminatory MIRU loci for CAS may help in monitoring the transmission of MTB strains in regions with high CAS lineage prevalence.
- Central Asian Strain 1
- Mycobacterium tuberculosis