Tuberculosis (TB) is still a major life-threatening infectious disease, within which especially the rise of multidrug resistant TB (MDR-TB) is currently worrying. This study focuses on mechanisms of development of rifampicin resistance, since rifampicin seems to play an important role in the development of MDR-TB. To provide further insight in rifampicin resistance, we performed a genome-wide transcriptional profile analysis for Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis) using microarray technology and qRT-PCR analysis. We exposed a rifampicin-susceptible H37Rv wild type (H37Rv-WT) and a rifampicin-resistant progeny H37Rv strain with a H526Y mutation in the rpoB gene (H37Rv-H526Y) to several concentrations of rifampicin, to define the effect of rifampicin on the transcription profile. Our study showed that there are resistance-dependant differences in response between both M. tuberculosis strains. Gene clusters associated with efflux, transport and virulence were altered in the rifampicin-resistant H37Rv mutant compared to the rifampicin-susceptible H37Rv-WT strain after exposure to rifampicin. We conclude that the small gene cluster Rv0559c-Rv0560c in the H37Rv-H526Y strain was remarkably up-regulated in the microarray analysis and qRT-PCR results and appeared to be dependent on rifampicin concentration and time of exposure. Therefore this study suggests that Rv0559c and Rv0560c play a pivotal role in rifampicin resistance of M. tuberculosis. Further investigation of Rv0559c and Rv0560c is needed to reveal function and mechanism of both genes that were triggered upon rifampicin exposure.

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International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

de Knegt, G.J, Bruning, O, ten Kate, M.T, Mark de Jong, van Belkum, A.F, Endtz, H.P, … de Steenwinkel, J.E.M. (2013). Rifampicin-induced transcriptome response in rifampicin-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis. International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 93(1), 96–101. doi:10.1016/