Landscape of the genome and host cell response of Mycobacterium shigaense reveals pathogenic features

A systems approach was used to explore the genome and transcriptome of Mycobacterium shigaense, a new opportunistic pathogen isolated from a patient with a skin infection, and the host response transcriptome was assessed using a macrophage infection model. The M. shigaense genome comprises 5,207,883 bp, with 67.2% G+C content and 5098 predicted coding genes. Evolutionarily, the bacterium belongs to a cluster in the phylogenetic tree along with three target opportunistic pathogenic strains, namely, M. avium, M. triplex and M. simiae. Potential virulence genes are indeed expressed by M. shigaense under culture conditions. Phenotypically, M. shigaense had similar infection and replication capacities in a macrophage model as the opportunistic species compared to M. tuberculosis. M. shigaense activated NF-κB, TNF, cytokines and chemokines in the host innate immune-related signaling pathways and elicited an early response shared with pathogenic bacilli except M. tuberculosis. M. shigaense upregulated specific host response genes such as TLR7, CCL4 and CXCL5. We performed an integrated and comparative analysis of M. shigaense. Multigroup comparison indicated certain differences with typical pathogenic bacilli in terms of gene features and the macrophage response.