Variable host-pathogen compatibility in Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Sebastien Gagneux, Kathryn DeRiemer, Tran Van, Midori Kato-Maeda, Bouke C. De Jong, Sujatha Narayanan, Mark Nicol, Stefan Niemann, Kristin Kremeri, M. Cristina Gutierrez, Markus Hilty, Philip C. Hopewell, Peter M. Small

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

760 Citations (Scopus)


Mycobacterium tuberculosis remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Studies have reported human pathogens to have geographically structured population genetics, some of which have been linked to ancient human migrations. However, no study has addressed the potential evolutionary consequences of such longstanding human-pathogen associations. Here, we demonstrate that the global population structure of M. tuberculosis is defined by six phylogeographical lineages, each associated with specific, sympatric human populations. In an urban cosmopolitan environment, mycobacterial lineages were much more likely to spread in sympatric than in allopatric patient populations. Tuberculosis cases that did occur in allopatric hosts disproportionately involved high-risk individuals with impaired host resistance. These observations suggest that mycobacterial lineages are adapted to particular human populations. If confirmed, our findings have important implications for tuberculosis control and vaccine development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2869-2873
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Variable host-pathogen compatibility in Mycobacterium tuberculosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this