Book Chapter


Marcel A. Behr
Stephen V. Gordon



bovine tb comparative comparative studies mortality humans tuberculosis mycobacterium tuberculosis complex transmission

Comparative Mycobacteriology of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (2015)

Abstract The Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) is a group of highly genetically relatedpathogens that cause tuberculosis (TB) in mammalian species. However, the veryname of the complex underlines the fact that our knowledge of these pathogensis dominated by studies on the human pathogen, M. tuberculosis. Of course this is entirely justified; M. tuberculosis is a major global pathogen that exacts a horrendous burden in terms of mortality and morbidity so it is appropriate that it is the cornerstone of the complex. In the same way as M. tuberculosis is the best studied human tubercle bacillus, our knowledge of the animal-adapted strains has been dominated by studies with M. bovis. Again, given the economic importance of bovine TB and the potential for zoonotic transmission to humans, this is entirely expected. However, taking M. tuberculosis and M. bovis as the human- and animal-adapted poles┬┐of the complex, our focus on these pathogens to the exclusion of others members has restricted, and potentially skewed, our understanding of diversity, virulence and host adaptation within the MTBC. Referring to Theobald Smith above, have we really exploited comparative studies of the tubercle bacilli to their full potential, or have we regarded the MTBC as merely M. tuberculosis plus some animal pathogens of lesser import? Herein we discuss our current understanding of the make-up of the MTBC, focussing on comparisons of M. tuberculosis and M. bovis as the exemplar human- and animal-adapted strains, and look to what studies of these pathogens can teach us about the evolution of the MTBC specifically and the emergence of host adaptation in pathogens in general. We also speculate on how our current focus on M. tuberculosis and M. bovis may have hindered ourappreciation of fundamental concepts such as virulence, evolution and host adaptation of the tubercle bacilli.
Collections Ireland -> University College Dublin -> Veterinary Medicine Research Collection (superseded in 2015)
Ireland -> University College Dublin -> College of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine (superseded in 2015)
Ireland -> University College Dublin -> School of Veterinary Medicine (superseded in 2015)

Full list of authors on original publication

Marcel A. Behr, Stephen V. Gordon

Experts in our system

Stephen V. Gordon
University College Dublin
Total Publications: 40