Mycobacterium avium subsp. hominissuis (MAH) is an important opportunistic pathogen, infecting humans and animals, notably pigs. Several methods have been used to characterize MAH strains. RFLP and PFGE typing techniques have been used as standard methods but are technically demanding. In contrast, the analysis of VNTR loci is a simpler, affordable and highly reliable PCR-based technique, allowing a numerical and reproductive digitalization of typing data. In this study, the analysis of Mycobacterium avium tandem repeats (MATRs) loci was adapted to evaluate the genetic diversity of epidemiological unrelated MAH clinical strains of human (n=28) and porcine (n=69) origins, collected from diverse geographical regions across mainland Portugal. These MAH isolates were found to be genetically diverse and genotypes are randomly distributed across the country. Some of the human strains shared identical VNTR profiles with porcine isolates. Our study shows that the VNTR genotyping using selected MATR loci is a useful analysis technique for assessing the genetic diversity of MAH isolates from Portugal. This typing method could be successfully applied in other countries toward the implementation of a worldwide open-access database of MATR-VNTR profiles of MAH isolates, allowing a better assessment of the global epidemiology traits of this important pathogenic species.
- MATR-VNTR typing
- Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC)
- Mycobacterium avium subsp. hominissuis
- Mycobacterium avium tandem repeats
- Nontuberculous mycobacteria
- Opportunistic pathogens