Drug resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Oman: resistance-conferring mutations and lineage diversity

Sara Al Mahrouqi, Amal Gadalla, Saleh Al Azri, Salama Al-Hamidhi, Amina Al-Jardani, Abdullah Balkhair, Amira Al-Fahdi, Laila Al Balushi, Samiya Al Zadjali, Asmahan Mohammed Nasser Al Marhoubi, Hamza A. Babiker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background. The Sultanate of Oman is country a low TB-incidence, with less than seven cases per 105 population detected in 2020. Recent years have witnessed a persistence in TB cases, with sustained incidence rate among expatriates and limited reduction among Omanis. This pattern suggests transmission from the migrant population. The present study examined the genetic profile and drug resistance-conferring mutations in Mycobacterium tuberculosis collected from Omanis and expatriates to recognise possible causes of disease transmission. Methods. We examined M. tuberculosis cultured positive samples, collected from Omanis (n = 1,344) and expatriates (n = 1,203) between 2009 and 2018. These isolates had a known in vitro susceptibility profile to first line anti-TB, Streptomycin (SM), Isoniazid (INH), Rifampicin (RIF), Ethambutol (EMB) and Pyrazinamide (PZA). The diversity of the isolates was assessed by spacer oligo-typing (spoligotyping). Drug resistance-conferring mutations resulted from full-length sequence of nine genes (katG, inhA, ahpc, rpoB, rpsL, rrs, embB, embC, pncA) and their phenotypic relationship were analysed. Results. In total, 341/2192 (13.4%), M. tuberculosis strains showed resistance to any drug, comprising mono-resistance (MR) (242, 71%), poly-resistance (PR) (40, 11.7%) and multi-drug resistance (MDR) (59, 17.3%). The overall rate of resistance among Omanis and expatriates was similar; however, MDR and PZAR were significantly higher among Omanis, while INHR was greater among expatriates. Mutations rpsL K43R and rpoB S450L were linked to Streptomycin (SMR) and Rifampicin resistance (RIFR) respectively. Whereas, katG S315T and inhA –C15T/G–17T were associated with Isoniazid resistance (INHR). The resistance patterns (mono-resistant, poly-resistant and MDR) and drug resistance-conferring mutations were found in different spoligo-lineages. rpsL K43R, katG S315T and rpoB S450L mutations were significantly higher in Beijing strains. Conclusions. Diverse drug resistant M. tuberculosis strains exist in Oman, with drug resistance-conferring mutations widespread in multiple spoligo-lineages, indicative of a large resistance reservoir. Beijing’s M. tuberculosis lineage was associated with MDR, and multiple drug resistance-conferring mutations, favouring the hypothesis of migration as a possible source of resistant lineages in Oman.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13645
Pages (from-to)e13645
Publication statusPublished - Jul 28 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Drug resistance genes
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Oman
  • Spoligotypes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Neuroscience


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