Immunological consequences of strain variation within the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex

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In 2015, there were an estimated 10.4 million new cases of tuberculosis (TB) globally, making it one of the leading causes of death due to an infectious disease. TB is caused by members of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC), with human disease resulting from infection by M. tuberculosis sensu stricto and M. africanum. Recent progress in genotyping techniques, in particular the increasing availability of whole genome sequence data, has revealed previously under appreciated levels of genetic diversity within the MTBC. Several studies have shown that this genetic diversity may translate into differences in TB transmission, clinical manifestations of disease, and host immune responses. This suggests the existence of MTBC genotype-dependent host-pathogen interactions which may influence the outcome of infection and progression of disease. In this review, we highlight the studies demonstrating differences in innate and adaptive immunological outcomes consequent on MTBC genetic diversity, and discuss how these differences in immune response might influence the development of TB vaccines, diagnostics and new therapies.

Journal details

Volume 47
Issue number 3
Pages 432-445
Publication date

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