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Mycobacterium tuberculosis: ecology and evolution of a human bacterium

Abstract : Some species of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC), particularly Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which causes human tuberculosis (TB), are the first cause of death linked to a single pathogen worldwide. In the last decades, evolutionary studies have much improved our knowledge on MTBC history and have highlighted its long co-evolution with humans. Its ability to remain latent in humans, the extraordinary proportion of asymptomatic carriers (one-third of the entire human population), the deadly epidemics and the observed increasing level of resistance to antibiotics are proof of its evolutionary success. Many MTBC molecular signatures show not only that these bacteria are a model of adaptation to humans but also that they have influenced human evolution. Owing to the unbalance between the number of asymptomatic carriers and the number of patients with active TB, some authors suggest that infection by MTBC could have a protective role against active TB disease and also against other pathologies. However, it would be inappropriate to consider these infectious pathogens as commensals or symbionts, given the level of morbidity and mortality caused by TB.
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Submitted on : Monday, December 10, 2018 - 9:43:39 AM
Last modification on : Monday, October 25, 2021 - 9:56:04 AM

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Anne-Laure Bañuls, Adama Sanou, Nguyen Thi Van Anh, Sylvain Godreuil. Mycobacterium tuberculosis: ecology and evolution of a human bacterium. Journal of Medical Microbiology, Society for General Microbiology, 2015, 64 (11), pp.1261-1269. ⟨10.1099/jmm.0.000171⟩. ⟨hal-01949403⟩

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