Abattoir survey of bovine tuberculosis in Tanta, centre of the Nile Delta, with in silico analysis of gene mutations and protein-protein interactions of the involved mycobacteria.
Bovine tuberculosis is a transboundary disease of high economic and public health burden worldwide. In this study, post-mortem examination of 750 cattle and buffalo in Tanta abattoir, Centre of the Nile Delta, revealed visible TB in 4% of animals and a true prevalence of 6.85% (95% CI: 5.3%-8.9%). Mycobacterial culture, histopathology and RT-PCR targeting all members of M. tuberculosis complex were performed, upon which 85%, 80% and 100% of each tested lesions were confirmed as TB, respectively. Mpb70-targeting PCR was conducted on ten RT-PCR positive samples for sequencing and identified nine Mycobacterium (M.) bovis strains and, interestingly, one M. tuberculosis (Mtb) strain from a buffalo. Bioinformatics tools were used for prediction of mutations, nucleotide polymorphisms, lineages, drug resistance and protein-protein interactions (PPI) of the sequenced strains. The Mtb strain was resistant to rifampicin, isoniazid and streptomycin, and to the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of multidrug resistant (MDR)-Mtb originating from buffaloes. Seven M. bovis strains were resistant to ethambutol and ethionamide. Such resistances were associated with KatG, rpoB, rpsL, embB and ethA genes mutations. Other mutations and nucleotide polymorphisms were also predicted, some are reported for the first time and require experimental work for validation. PPI revealed more interactions than what would be expected for a random set of proteins of similar size and had dense interactions between nodes that are biologically connected, as a group. Two M. bovis strains belonged to BOV AFRI lineage (Spoligotypes BOV 1; BOV 2) and eight strains belonged to East-Asian (Beijing) lineage. In conclusion, visible TB was prevalent in the study area, RT-PCR is the best to confirm the disease, MDR-Mtb is associated with buffalo TB, and mycobacteria of different lineages carry many resistance genes to chemotherapeutic agents used in treatment of human TB constituting a major public health risk.