Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) contains clinically important nontuberculous mycobacteria worldwide and is the second largest medical complex in the Mycobacterium genus after the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex. MAC comprises several species that are closely phylogenetically related but diverse regarding their host preference, course of disease, virulence and immune response. In this study we provided immunologic and virulence-related insights into the M. colombiense genome as a model of an opportunistic pathogen in the MAC. By using bioinformatic tools we found that M. colombiense has deletions in the genes involved in p-HBA/PDIM/PGL, PLC, SL-1 and HspX production, and loss of the ESX-1 locus. This information not only sheds light on our understanding the virulence mechanisms used by opportunistic MAC pathogens but also has great potential for the designing of species-specific diagnostic tools.
Journal: New microbes and new infections