Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Low frequency of moaA3 gene among the clinical isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry – south eastern coastal states of India

Balaraman Sekar1*, Kamalanathan Arunagiri1, Nagamiah Selvakumar2, Kaluvuri Serena Preethi1 and Kandhaswami Menaka1

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Laboratories, Central Leprosy Teaching and Research Institute, Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu, India

2 Department of Mycobacteriology, Tuberculosis Research Centre, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Infectious Diseases 2009, 9:114  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-114

Published: 25 July 2009



Comparative genomic analysis of M. tuberculosis H37Rv and M. bovis BCG have shown that 16 RDs (Regions of Differences) are deleted in BCG and have shown six deletion regions in M. tuberculosis H37Rv. RD1, is present in M. tuberculosis but is absent in all M. bovis BCG sub-strains. A study from Kerala, a south-western coastal state of India aimed to find out differences in RD1 region showed for the first time the presence of moaA3 gene in majority of their clinical isolates, that was absent in type strain H37Rv. We attempted to find out such polymorphism between type strains and the clinical isolates within RD1, targeting moaA3 gene among the clinical isolates of Tamil Nadu & Pondicherry, south-eastern coastal states of India


One hundred and sixteen clinical isolates of M. tuberculosis were included in the study. PCR using RD1DLa and RD1DRa primers was carried out to amplify a 652 bp fragment, encoding for cfp10 and esat 6 proteins of RD1. A second PCR using primers designed from the surrounding regions of moaA3 gene was done to confirm the presence of the full Open Reading Frame (ORF) in clinical isolates.


In M. tuberculosis H37Rv the expected 652 bp band was present. In BCG it was absent as expected, but a 386 bp fragment was amplified. Around 12/116 (10.3%) of our clinical isolates showed both 652 and 386 bp fragments. The additional 386 bp amplicon is a part of the moaA3 gene which codes for molybdopterin cofactor protein A in M. bovis. The second PCR amplified the flanking sequence of moaA3 and yielded the expected amplicon of 1254 bp in all those 10.3% of clinical isolates which had the 386 bp fragment. However the earlier study carried out in Kerala, reported the presence of moaA3 gene in majority (97%) of their clinical isolates.


This finding showed that there was regional variation presenting polymorphism in moA3 gene, among the strains of M. tuberculosis and further strengthens the speculation of genetic differences among the strains of Kerala and Tamil Nadu & Pondicherry, the South Indian states