, Volume 8, Issue 6, pp 1194–1203 | Cite as

A metabolomics investigation of a hyper- and hypo-virulent phenotype of Beijing lineage M. tuberculosis

  • Reinart J. Meissner-Roloff
  • Gerhard Koekemoer
  • Robert M. Warren
  • Du Toit LootsEmail author
Original Article


Despite a number investigations using rapid sequencing and comparative genomic techniques, attempting to characterise the phenomenon of varying degrees of virulence within the Mycobacterium tuberculosis species, the underlying causes for this still remain largely unexplained. The Beijing lineage of M. tuberculosis has received much attention due to a reported increased pathogenicity and global dissemination. In order to better understand these varying states of virulence, a GCxGC-TOFMS metabolomics research approach was used to compare the varying metabolomes of a hyper- and hypo-virulent Beijing strain of M. tuberculosis, and subsequently identify those metabolite markers differing between these strains. Multi- and univariate statistical analysis of the analysed metabolome data was used to identify those metabolites contributing most to the differences seen between the two sample groups. A general decrease in various carbohydrates, amino acids and lipids associated with cell wall structure and function, were detected in the hyper-virulent Beijing strain, comparatively. Additionally, components of mycothiol metabolism, virulence protein formation and energy production in mycobacteria, were also seen to differ when comparing the two groups. This metabolomics investigation is the first to identify the metabolite markers associated with an increased state of virulence, indicating increased metabolic activity, increased growth/replication rates, increased cell wall synthesis and an altered antioxidant mechanism, all of which would contribute to this organisms increased pathogenicity and survival ability.


Beijing M. tuberculosis Metabolomics Hyper- and hypo-virulence 

Supplementary material

11306_2012_424_MOESM1_ESM.docx (15 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 15 kb)
11306_2012_424_MOESM2_ESM.csv (60 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (CSV 61 kb)
11306_2012_424_MOESM3_ESM.csv (169 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (CSV 170 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reinart J. Meissner-Roloff
    • 1
  • Gerhard Koekemoer
    • 2
  • Robert M. Warren
    • 3
  • Du Toit Loots
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School for Physical and Chemical Sciences, Centre for Human MetabonomicsNorth-West UniversityPotchefstroomSouth Africa
  2. 2.Statistical ConsultingNorth-West UniversityPotchefstroomSouth Africa
  3. 3.DST/NRF Centre of Excellence in Biomedical Tuberculosis Research, US/MRC Centre for Molecular and Cellular Biology, Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health SciencesStellenbosch UniversityTygerbergSouth Africa

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