Mutation at codon 442 in the rpoB gene of Mycobacterium leprae does not confer resistance to rifampicin.
BACKGROUND: Rifampicin is the major drug in the treatment of leprosy. The rifampicin resistance of Mycobacterium leprae results from a mutation in the rpoB gene, encoding the β subunit of RNA polymerase. As M. leprae is a non-cultivable organism observation of its growth using mouse food-pad (MFP) is the only Gold Standard assay used for confirmation of "in-vivo" drug resistance.
OBJECTIVE: Any mutation at molecular level has to be verified by MFP assay for final confirmation of drug resistance in leprosy.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: In the present study, M. leprae strains showing a mutation only at codon 442 Gln-His and along with mutation either at codon 424 Val-Gly or at 438 Gln-Val within the Rifampicin Resistance Determining Region (RRDR) confirmed by DNA sequencing and by high resolution melting (HRM) analysis were subjected for its growth in MFP.
RESULT AND CONCLUSION: The M. leprae strain having the new mutation at codon 442 Gln-His was found to be sensitive to all the three drugs and strains having additional mutations at 424 Val-Gly and 438 Gln-Val were conferring resistance with Multi drug therapy (MDT) in MFP. These results indicate that MFP is the gold standard method for confirming the mutations detected by molecular techniques.