Group | Tuberculosis Ecology and Evolution

The Tuberculosis Ecology and Evolution Group studies the causes and consequences of genetic diversity in the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC), the bacteria that cause tuberculosis (TB). We combine various disciplines to study the global diversity of the MTBC, the evolutionary forces that drive this diversity, and the phenotypic consequences of this diversity for the biology and the epidemiology of TB.

Our research comprises three complementary arms:

  • The global population structure of the MTBC
  • Ecology and evolution of drug-resistant MTBC
  • Genomic epidemiology of TB
Sébastien Gagneux

Sébastien Gagneux, Associate Professor, PhD

The Global Population Structure of the MTBC

The human-adapted MTBC comprises seven phylogenetic lineages that are associated with different regions of the world. We use comparative whole genome sequencing to study the differences between these lineages and the evolutionary forces shaping this diversity. We combine various –omics technologies with functional assays and epidemiological data to investigate the phenotypic consequences of this diversity. Read more

The Ecology and Evolution of Drug-resistant MTBC

Drug resistance poses a growing threat to global health. When drug-resistant bacteria first emerge, they are often less transmissible than susceptible strains – this is because drug resistance in bacteria is often associated with a reduction in Darwinian fitness. However, evolution is a continuous process, and drug-resistant bacteria readily adapt and regain the ability to transmit. This process is mediated by compensatory mutations. Further information

Genomic epidemiology of TB

Recent advances in whole-genome sequencing have revolutionized molecular epidemiological investigation of TB. We use such genomic epidemiological approaches to study the transmission dynamics of TB in Switzerland and in TB-endemic countries. We also explore the micro-evolution of MTBC in individual patients during treatment. More information

Arbués A, Schmidiger S, Kammüller M, Portevin D. Extracellular matrix-induced GM-CSF and hypoxia promote immune Control of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in human in vitro granulomas. Front Immunol. 2021;12:727508. DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.727508

Asare P et al. Genomic epidemiological analysis identifies high relapse among individuals with recurring tuberculosis and provides evidence of household recent TB transmission in Ghana. Int J Infect Dis. 2021;106:13-22. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijid.2021.02.110

Coscolla M et al. Phylogenomics of Mycobacterium africanum reveals a new lineage and a complex evolutionary history. Microb Genom. 2021;7(2):000477. DOI: 10.1099/mgen.0.000477

Guimarães A.E.D.S et al. Evaluation of drug susceptibility profile of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Lineage 1 from Brazil based on whole genome sequencing and phenotypic methods. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2021;115:e200520. DOI: 10.1590/0074-02760200520

Gygli S.M et al. Prisons as ecological drivers of fitness-compensated multidrug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Nat Med. 2021(in press). DOI: 10.1038/s41591-021-01358-x