Presence of RD149 deletions in M. tuberculosis Central Asian Strain1 isolates affect growth and TNFα induction in THP-1 monocytes

Akbar Kanji, Zahra Hasan, Mehnaz Tanveer, Raunaq Mahboob, Sana Jafri, Rumina Hasan

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Central Asian Strain 1 (CAS1) is the prevalent Mycobacterium tuberculosis genogroup in South Asia. CAS1 strains carry deletions in RD149 and RD152 regions. Significance of these deletions is as yet unknown. We compared CAS1 strains with RD149 and concurrent RD149-RD152 deletions with CAS1 strains without deletions and with the laboratory reference strain, M. tuberculosis H37Rv for growth and for induction of TNFα, IL6, CCL2 and IL10 in THP-1 cells. Growth of CAS1 strains with deletions was slower in broth (RD149; p = 0.024 and RD149-RD152; p = 0.025) than that of strains without deletions. CAS1 strains with RD149 deletion strains further showed reduced intracellular growth (p = 0.013) in THP-1 cells as compared with strains without deletions, and also as compared with H37Rv (p = 0.007) and with CAS1 RD149-RD152 deletion strains (p = 0.029). All CAS1 strains induced higher levels of TNFα and IL10 secretion in THP-1 cells than H37Rv. Additionally, CAS1 strains with RD149 deletions induced more TNFα secretion than those without deletions (p = 0.013). CAS1 RD149 deletion strains from extrapulmonary sources showed more rapid growth and induced lower levels of TNFα and IL6 secretion in THP-1 cells than isolates from pulmonary sources. This data suggests that presence of RD149 reduces growth and increases the induction of TNFα in host cells by CAS1 strains. Differences observed for extrapulmonary strains may indicate an adaptation which increases potential for dissemination and tropism outside the lung. Overall, we hypothesise that RD149 deletions generate genetic diversity within strains and impact interactions of CAS1 strains with host cells with important clinical consequences.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere24178
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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