Currently, Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates of Latin-American Mediterranean (LAM) family may be detected far beyond the geographic areas that coined its name 15 years ago. Here, we established the framework phylogeny of this geographically intriguing and pathobiologically important mycobacterial lineage and hypothesized how human demographics and migration influenced its phylogeography. Phylogenetic analysis of LAM isolates from all continents based on 24 variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR) loci and other markers identified three global sublineages with certain geographic affinities and defined by large deletions RD115, RD174, and by spoligotype SIT33. One minor sublineage (spoligotype SIT388) appears endemic in Japan. One-locus VNTR signatures were established for sublineages and served for their search in published literature and geographic mapping. We suggest that the LAM family originated in the Western Mediterranean region. The most widespread RD115 sublineage seems the most ancient and encompasses genetically and geographically distant branches, including extremely drug resistant KZN in South Africa and LAM-RUS recently widespread across Northern Eurasia. The RD174 sublineage likely started its active spread in Brazil; its earlier branch is relatively dominated by isolates from South America and the derived one is dominated by Portuguese and South/Southeastern African isolates. The relatively most recent SIT33-sublineage is marked with enigmatic gaps and peaks across the Americas and includes South African clade F11/RD761, which likely emerged within the SIT33 subpopulation after its arrival to Africa. In addition to SIT388-sublineage, other deeply rooted, endemic LAM sublineages may exist that remain to be discovered. As a general conclusion, human mass migration appears to be the major factor that shaped the M. tuberculosis phylogeography over large time-spans.
- Latin-American-Mediterranean lineage
- Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Field of Science*
- 1.6 Biological sciences
- 3.1 Basic medicine
- 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database