Leprosy pathogenetic background: a review and lessons from other mycobacterial diseases
The genome project on Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv has revealed four mammalian cell entry (MTmce1-4) operons putatively involved with entry and survival of mycobacteria in host cells. A homologous operon to the MTmce1 operon was identified in cosmid B983 of Mycobacterium leprae. By comparison with M. tuberculosis, several mutations, or sequencing errors, were predicted at specific sites causing frame shifts in the MLyrbE1A, MLyrbE1B and MLmce1D genes. Using targeted sequencing, sequence errors were identified. The corrected MLmce1 operon sequence appears to be highly homologous to the MTmce1 operon, and similarly encodes eight potential genes. Thus, both M. tuberculosis and M. leprae mce1 operons may be functional and involved in host cell targeting.