Rapid whole-genome sequencing of mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates directly from clinical samples

Amanda C. Brown, Josephine M. Bryant*, Katja Einer-Jensen, Jolyon Holdstock, Darren T. Houniet, Jacqueline Z.M. Chan, Daniel P. Depledge, Vladyslav Nikolayevskyy, Agnieszka Broda, Madeline J. Stone, Mette T. Christiansen, Rachel Williams, Michael B. McAndrew, Helena Tutill, Julianne Brown, Mark Melzer, Caryn Rosmarin, Timothy D. McHugh, Robert J. Shorten, Francis DrobniewskiGraham Speight, Judith Breuer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Citations (Scopus)


The rapid identification of antimicrobial resistance is essential for effective treatment of highly resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Whole-genome sequencing provides comprehensive data on resistance mutations and strain typing for monitoring transmission, but unlike for conventional molecular tests, this has previously been achievable only from cultures of M. tuberculosis. Here we describe a method utilizing biotinylated RNA baits designed specifically for M. tuberculosis DNA to capture full M. tuberculosis genomes directly from infected sputum samples, allowing whole-genome sequencing without the requirement of culture. This was carried out on 24 smear-positive sputum samples, collected from the United Kingdom and Lithuania where a matched culture sample was available, and 2 samples that had failed to grow in culture. M. tuberculosis sequencing data were obtained directly from all 24 smear-positive culture-positive sputa, of which 20 were of high quality (>20× depth and >90% of the genome covered). Results were compared with those of conventional molecular and culture-based methods, and high levels of concordance between phenotypical resistance and predicted resistance based on genotype were observed. High-quality sequence data were obtained from one smear-positive culture-negative case. This study demonstrated for the first time the successful and accurate sequencing of M. tuberculosis genomes directly from uncultured sputa. Identification of known resistance mutations within a week of sample receipt offers the prospect for personalized rather than empirical treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis, including the use of antimicrobial-sparing regimens, leading to improved outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2230-2237
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015


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