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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 81  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 155--161

Report of rpoB mutation in clinically suspected cases of drug resistant leprosy: A study from Eastern India

1 Department of Biochemistry, Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
2 Department of Dermatology, Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
3 Stanley Browne Research Laboratory, The Leprosy Mission, New Delhi, India
4 Department of Biochemistry, B. S Medical College, Bankura, West Bengal, India
5 National JALMA Institute for Leprosy and Other Mycobacterial Diseases, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India
6 Department of Biochemistry, Pt. N. M. Medical College, Raipur, Chhattisgarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Basudev Bhattacharya
Department of Biochemistry, Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research, Kolkata, West Bengal
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Source of Support: This work was supported by an intramural grant from Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Government of India., Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0378-6323.152185

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Background: The current strategy for leprosy control depends mainly on early case detection and providing the recommended multidrug therapy (MDT) dosage. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of drug resistance to each of these drugs is essential in providing effective treatment and preventing the spread of resistant strains in the community. The progress of molecular biology research provides a very efficient opportunity for the diagnosis of drug resistance by in vitro method. Aim: We aimed to investigate the point mutations within the rpoB gene region of the Mycobacterium leprae genome, which are responsible for resistance to rifampicin, in order to determine the emergence of drug resistance in leprosy in the Kolkata region of West Bengal. Methods: A total of 50 patients with a relapse of leprosy were enrolled in the study. Skin smears were obtained for estimation of bacillary index and biopsies were obtained in 70% alcohol for extraction of DNA. The extracted DNA was amplified by M. leprae-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) targeting rpoB gene region. Every single nucleotide base in the sequence is aligned to reference sequence and identity gaps were determined by NCBI - BLAST. Later in-silico analysis was done to identify the changes in the translated protein sequences. Results: A mutation at the base pair position 2275405 where G is replaced by C in the M. leprae genome, which corresponds to the coding region of rpoB gene (279 bp - 2275228 to2275506), was observed in two patients. This missense mutation in CAC codon brings about a glutamic acid to histidine change in the amino acid sequence of RNA polymerase beta subunit at the position 442 (Glu442His), a region specific for rifampicin interaction, which might be responsible for unresponsiveness to rifampicin by manifesting a stable bacteriological index in these 2 patients even after completion of 24 months of multibacillary multi-drug therapy (MB-MDT). Limitations: The major limitations of multiple-primer PCR amplification refractory mutation system (MARS) assay is that it capable of detecting mutation at codon 425 and cannot distinguish any silent amino acid changes. Conclusion: The study indicates the existence of rifampicin drug resistance in Eastern India.


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Online since 15th March '04
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