This study assembles DNA adenine methylomes for 93 Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) isolates from seven lineages paired with fully-annotated, finished, de novo assembled genomes. Integrative analysis yielded four key results. First, methyltransferase allele-methylome mapping corrected methyltransferase variant effects previously obscured by reference-based variant calling. Second, heterogeneity analysis of partially active methyltransferase alleles revealed that intracellular stochastic methylation generates a mosaic of methylomes within isogenic cultures, which we formalize as ‘intercellular mosaic methylation’ (IMM). Mutation-driven IMM was nearly ubiquitous in the globally prominent Beijing sublineage. Third, promoter methylation is widespread and associated with differential expression in the DhsdM transcriptome, suggesting promoter HsdM-methylation directly influences transcription. Finally, comparative and functional analyses identified 351 sites hypervariable across isolates and numerous putative regulatory interactions. This multi-omic integration revealed features of methylomic variability in clinical isolates and provides a rational basis for hypothesizing the functions of DNA adenine methylation in MTBC physiology and adaptive evolution.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)