Undetected and untreated, low-levels of drug resistant (DR) subpopulations in clinical Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infections may lead to development of DR-tuberculosis, potentially resulting in treatment failure. Current phenotypic DR susceptibility testing has a theoretical potential for 1% sensitivity, is not quantitative, and requires several weeks to complete. The use of "single molecule-overlapping reads" (SMOR) analysis with next generation DNA sequencing for determination of ultra-rare target alleles in complex mixtures provides increased sensitivity over standard DNA sequencing. Ligation free amplicon sequencing with SMOR analysis enables the detection of resistant allele subpopulations at ≥0.1% of the total Mtb population in near real-time analysis. We describe the method using standardized mixtures of DNA from resistant and susceptible Mtb isolates and the assay's performance for detecting ultra-rare DR subpopulations in DNA extracted directly from clinical sputum samples. SMOR analysis enables rapid near real-time detection and tracking of previously undetectable DR sub-populations in clinical samples allowing for the evaluation of the clinical relevance of low-level DR subpopulations. This will provide insights into interventions aimed at suppressing minor DR subpopulations before they become clinically significant.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)