Significant under expression of the DosR regulon in M. tuberculosis complex lineage 6 in sputum
Mycobacterium tuberculosis reduces nitrate very strongly as compared to Mycobacterium bovis and M. bovis BCG. Nitrate reductase, in conjunction with niacin accumulation, constitutes one of the major biochemical tests used in clinical microbiology laboratories to differentiate M. tuberculosis from other members of the M. tuberculosis complex, as well as nontuberculous Mycobacteria. Determination of nitrate reductase activity is currently performed using cultures grown on solid media with a slow detection time and the need for large quantities of bacilli, as otherwise the test is not reliable. Hereby, we propose a nitrate reduction test coupled to Bactec MGIT960 system as a simple, rapid and economic method with a total gain of time of about 3 to 4weeks over the conventional solid medium. In our study, almost all the M. tuberculosis and Mycobacterium canettii strains gave a strongly positive nitrate reductase result within 1day of positive detection by the MGIT960 system. In contrast, M. bovis, M. bovis BCG and M. africanum strains remained negative even after 14days of incubation. The possibility to detect nitrate reductase within 1 to 3days of a positive culture using MGIT960 opens new perspectives with the possibility of confirming M. tuberculosis - starting directly from pathological specimens.