Query: NC_002677:1822500 Mycobacterium leprae TN, complete genome Lineage: Mycobacterium leprae; Mycobacterium; Mycobacteriaceae; Actinomycetales; Actinobacteria; Bacteria General Information: This strain (TN) was passaged through an armadillo in Tamil Nadu, India, and is the only strain of this species that has been successfully produced in quantities large enough for sequencing and biochemical analyses as the nine-banded armadillo was used as a surrogate host. Causative agent of human leprosy.
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General Information: This strain was isolated from a human skin biopsy in Brazil, and passaged in nude mice and armadillos. The bacterium is a close relative of M. tuberculosis. However, compared to the latter, the genome of M. leprae is smaller due to reductive genome evolution, with many important metabolic activities including siderophore production, part of the oxidative chain, most of the microaerophilic and anaerobic respiratory chains, and numerous catabolic systems and their regulatory circuits eliminated due to extensive recombination events between dispersed repetitive sequences. It is evident that this species has undergone massive genome reduction over time as a result of its parasitic nature, discarding more than half its genes and rendering it the most striking example of genome reduction in a microbial pathogen.