Improved Culture Medium (TiKa) for Mycobacterium avium Subspecies Paratuberculosis (MAP) Matches qPCR Sensitivity and Reveals Significant Proportions of Non-viable MAP in Lymphoid Tissue of Vaccinated MAP Challenged Animals.
ABSTRACT: The quantitative detection of viable pathogen load is an important tool in determining the degree of infection in animals and contamination of foodstuffs. Current conventional culture methods are limited in their ability to determine these levels in Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) due to slow growth, clumping and low recoverability issues. The principle goal of this study was to evaluate a novel culturing process (TiKa) with unique ability to stimulate MAP growth from low sample loads and dilutions. We demonstrate it was able to stimulate a mean 29-fold increase in recoverability and an improved sensitivity of up to three logs when compared with conventional culture. Using TiKa culture, MAP clumping was minimal and produced visible colonies in half the time required by standard culture methods. Parallel quantitative evaluation of the TiKa culture approach and qPCR on MAP loads in tissue and gut mucosal samples from a MAP vaccine-challenge study, showed good correlations between colony counts (cfu) and qPCR derived genome equivalents (Geq) over a large range of loads with a 30% greater sensitivity for TiKa culture approach at low loads (two logs). Furthermore, the relative fold changes in Geq and cfu from the TiKa culture approach suggests that non-mucosal tissue loads from MAP infected animals contained a reduced proportion of non-viable MAP (mean 19-fold) which was reduced significantly further (mean 190-fold) in vaccinated "reactor" calves. This study shows TiKa culture equates well with qPCR and provides important evidence that accuracy in estimating viable MAP load using DNA tests alone may vary significantly between samples of mucosal and lymphatic origin.
Project description:Invasive Streptococcus suis (S. suis) infections in pigs are often associated with serotypes 2 and 9. Mucosal sites of healthy pigs can be colonized with these serotypes, often multiple serotypes per pig. To unravel the contribution of these serotypes in pathogenesis and epidemiology, simultaneous quantification of serotypes is needed. A quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) targeting cps2J (serotypes 2 and 1/2) and cps9H (serotype 9) was evaluated with nasal and tonsillar samples from S. suis exposed pigs. qPCR specifically detected serotypes in all pig samples. The serotypes loads in pig samples estimated by qPCR showed, except for serotype 9 in tonsillar samples (correlation coefficient = 0.25), moderate to strong correlation with loads detected by culture (correlation coefficient > 0.65), and also in pigs exposed to both serotypes (correlation coefficient > 0.75). This qPCR is suitable for simultaneous differentiation and quantification of important S. suis serotypes.
Project description:Ebola virus (EBOV) causes periodic outbreaks of life-threatening EBOV disease in Africa. Historically, these outbreaks have been relatively small and geographically contained; however, the magnitude of the EBOV outbreak that began in 2014 in West Africa has been unprecedented. The aim of this study was to describe the viral kinetics of EBOV during this outbreak and identify factors that contribute to outbreak progression.From July to December 2014, one laboratory in Sierra Leone processed over 2,700 patient samples for EBOV detection by quantitative PCR (qPCR). Viremia was measured following patient admission. Age, sex, and approximate time of symptom onset were also recorded for each patient. The data was analyzed using various mathematical models to find trends of potential interest.The analysis revealed a significant difference (P = 2.7 × 10(-77)) between the initial viremia of survivors (4.02 log10 genome equivalents [GEQ]/ml) and nonsurvivors (6.18 log10 GEQ/ml). At the population level, patient viral loads were higher on average in July than in November, even when accounting for outcome and time since onset of symptoms. This decrease in viral loads temporally correlated with an increase in circulating EBOV-specific IgG antibodies among individuals who were suspected of being infected but shown to be negative for the virus by PCR.Our results indicate that initial viremia is associated with outcome of the individual and outbreak duration; therefore, care must be taken in planning clinical trials and interventions. Additional research in virus adaptation and the impacts of host factors on EBOV transmission and pathogenesis is needed.
Project description:Leptospirosis is an important zoonotic disease that causes considerable morbidity and mortality globally, primarily in residents of urban slums. While contact with contaminated water plays a critical role in the transmission of leptospirosis, little is known about the distribution and abundance of pathogenic Leptospira spp. in soil and the potential contribution of this source to human infection.We collected soil samples (n = 70) from three sites within an urban slum community endemic for leptospirosis in Salvador, Brazil. Using qPCR of Leptospira genes lipl32 and 16S rRNA, we quantified the pathogenic Leptospira load in each soil sample. lipl32 qPCR detected pathogenic Leptospira in 22 (31%) of 70 samples, though the median concentration among positive samples was low (median = 6 GEq/g; range: 4-4.31×102 GEq/g). We also observed heterogeneity in the distribution of pathogenic Leptospira at the fine spatial scale. However, when using 16S rRNA qPCR, we detected a higher proportion of Leptospira-positive samples (86%) and higher bacterial concentrations (median: 4.16×102 GEq/g; range: 4-2.58×104 GEq/g). Sequencing of the qPCR amplicons and qPCR analysis with all type Leptospira species revealed that the 16S rRNA qPCR detected not only pathogenic Leptospira but also intermediate species, although both methods excluded saprophytic Leptospira. No significant associations were identified between the presence of pathogenic Leptospira DNA and environmental characteristics (vegetation, rat activity, distance to an open sewer or a house, or soil clay content), though samples with higher soil moisture content showed higher prevalences.This is the first study to successfully quantify the burden of pathogenic Leptospira in soil from an endemic region. Our results support the hypothesis that soil may be an under-recognized environmental reservoir contributing to transmission of pathogenic Leptospira in urban slums. Consequently, the role of soil should be considered when planning interventions aimed to reduce the burden of leptospirosis in these communities.
Project description:Malassezia pachydermatis is part of the normal microbiota of canine skin and external ear canal, and is also associated with otitis externa in dogs. Laboratory detection of Malassezia otitis relies on the presence of elevated numbers of the yeast on cytologic examination of otic exudate. Although cytology has high specificity, it has low sensitivity, resulting in false-negatives and posing a challenge for clinicians to accurately diagnose Malassezia otitis. We developed a quantitative PCR (qPCR) to detect and quantify M. pachydermatis yeasts and validate the method with swabs from external ear canals of dogs. Our qPCR uses the ?-tubulin gene, a single-copy gene, as a target. The limit of quantification was established as 0.18?ng/reaction, equivalent to 2.0 × 104 genome equivalents (gEq). Swabs from healthy dogs yielded quantification values of ?2.7 × 104?gEq in the qPCR, whereas swabs from dogs with otitis yielded quantification values of ?2.5 × 105?gEq. Our qPCR assay provides accurate quantification of M. pachydermatis yeasts from swab samples from dogs, is more sensitive than cytology, and could be used to monitor response to treatment. Our assay could also be valuable in a research setting to better understand the pathogenesis of M. pachydermatis.
Project description:Nowadays, better immunosuppressors have decreased the rates of acute rejection in kidney transplantation, but have also led to the emergence of BKV-associated nephropathy (BKVAN). Therefore, we prospectively investigated BKV load in plasma and urine samples in a cohort of kidney transplants, receiving basiliximab combined with a mycophenolate mofetil-based triple immunotherapy, to evaluate the difference between BKV replication during the first 3 months post-transplantation, characterized by the non-depleting action of basiliximab, versus the second 3 months, in which the maintenance therapy acts alone. We also performed sequencing analysis to assess whether a particular BKV subtype/subgroup or transcriptional control region (TCR) variants were present.We monitored BK viruria and viremia by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (Q-PCR) at 12 hours (Tx), 1 (T1), 3 (T2) and 6 (T3) months post-transplantation among 60 kidney transplant patients. Sequencing analysis was performed by nested-PCR with specific primers for TCR and VP1 regions. Data were statistically analyzed using ?² test and Student's t-test.BKV was detected at Tx in 4/60 urine and in 16/60 plasma, with median viral loads of 3.70 log GEq/mL and 3.79 log GEq/mL, respectively, followed by a significant increase of both BKV-positive transplants (32/60) and median values of viruria (5.78 log GEq/mL) and viremia (4.52 log GEq/mL) at T2. Conversely, a significantly decrease of patients with viruria and viremia (17/60) was observed at T3, together with a reduction of the median urinary and plasma viral loads (4.09 log GEq/mL and 4.00 log GEq/mL, respectively). BKV TCR sequence analysis always showed the presence of archetypal sequences, with a few single-nucleotide substitutions and one nucleotide insertion that, interestingly, were all representative of the particular subtypes/subgroups we identified by VP1 sequencing analysis: I/b-2 and IV/c-2.Our results confirm previous studies indicating that BKV replication may occur during the early hours after kidney transplantation, reaches the highest incidence in the third post-transplantation month and then decreases within the sixth month, maybe due to induction therapy. Moreover, it might become clinically useful whether specific BKV subtypes or rearrangements could be linked to a particular disease state in order to detect them before BKVAN onset.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>As bioaerosol research attracts increasing attention, there is a need for additional efforts that focus on method development to deal with different environmental samples. Bioaerosol environmental samples typically have very low biomass concentrations in the air, which often leaves researchers with limited options in choosing the downstream analysis steps, especially when culture-independent methods are intended.<h4>Objectives</h4>This study investigates the impacts of three important factors that can influence the performance of culture-independent DNA-based analysis in dealing with bioaerosol environmental samples engaged in this study. The factors are: 1) enhanced high temperature sonication during DNA extraction; 2) effect of sampling duration on DNA recoverability; and 3) an alternative method for concentrating composite samples. In this study, DNA extracted from samples was analysed using the Qubit fluorometer (for direct total DNA measurement) and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR).<h4>Results and findings</h4>The findings suggest that additional lysis from high temperature sonication is crucial: DNA yields from both high and low biomass samples increased up to 600% when the protocol included 30-min sonication at 65°C. Long air sampling duration on a filter media was shown to have a negative impact on DNA recoverability with up to 98% of DNA lost over a 20-h sampling period. Pooling DNA from separate samples during extraction was proven to be feasible with margins of error below 30%.
Project description:Earlier histopathology studies suggest that parasite loads may differ between cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) and mucosal leishmaniasis (ML) lesions and between acute and chronic CL. Formal demonstration requires highly sensitive detection and accurate quantification of Leishmania in human lesional tissue. In this study, we developed a quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) assay targeting minicircle kinetoplast DNA (kDNA) to detect and quantify Leishmania (Viannia) parasites. We evaluated a total of 156 lesion biopsy specimens from CL or ML suspected cases and compared the quantitative performance of our kDNA qPCR assay with that of a previously validated qPCR assay based on the glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) gene. We also examined the relationship between parasite load and clinical parameters. The kDNA qPCR sensitivity for Leishmania detection was 97.9%, and its specificity was 87.5%. The parasite loads quantified by kDNA qPCR and G6PD qPCR assays were highly correlated (r = 0.87; P < 0.0001), but the former showed higher sensitivity (P = 0.000). CL lesions had 10-fold-higher parasite loads than ML lesions (P = 0.009). Among CL patients, the parasite load was inversely correlated with disease duration (P = 0.004), but there was no difference in parasite load according to the parasite species, the patient's age, and number or area of lesions. Our findings confirm that CL and recent onset of disease (<3 months) are associated with a high parasite load. Our kDNA qPCR assay proved highly sensitive and accurate for the detection and quantification of Leishmania (Viannia) spp. in lesion biopsy specimens. It has potential application as a diagnostic and follow-up tool in American tegumentary leishmaniasis.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Johne's disease is caused by Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (Map) and it is one of the most important diseases in cattle worldwide. Several laboratory tests for Map detection are available; however, these are limited by inadequate sensitivity and specificity when used in subclinically infected populations. To identify Map shedders in subclinically infected cattle, we used a new, high-yield method for DNA-extraction from Map in faeces combined with quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) for amplification of the insertion sequence IS900 of Map (HYDEqPCR). Evaluation of HYDEqPCR was carried out in comparison with faecal culture, milk qPCR, and milk enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), on 141 faecal and 91 milk samples, from 141 subclinically infected dairy cattle. RESULTS: The qPCR proved to be highly sensitive, with a detection limit of 2 IS900 DNA copies/?l in 67?% of the reactions. It also showed 100?% specificity, as determined from 50 Map and non-Map strains, and by the sequencing of qPCR amplicons. The detection limit of HYDEqPCR was 90 Map/g Map-spiked faeces, which corresponds to 2.4 colony forming units/g Map-spiked faeces, with an estimated efficiency of 85?% (±21?%). When tested on the field samples, HYDEqPCR showed 89?% of the samples as positive for Map, whereas faecal culture, milk qPCR, and milk ELISA detected 19?%, 36?% and 1?%, respectively. Fisher's exact tests only show statistical significance (p ?0.05) for the correlation between HYDEqPCR and faecal culture. The agreement between HYDEqPCR and milk qPCR and milk ELISA was poor, slight, and non-significant. CONCLUSIONS: This study highlights the advantages of HYDEqPCR for detection of Map in subclinically infected populations, in comparison with faecal culture, milk qPCR and milk ELISA. HYDEqPCR can detect low-level Map shedders that go undetected using these other methods, which will thus underestimate the proportions of Map-shedders in herds. Identification of these shedding animals is extremely important for prevention of the spread of Map infection in an animal population. Due to the relatively high sensitivity and specificity of HYDEqPCR, it can be applied to test for Map at the herd or individual level, regardless of animal age or production stage. HYDEqPCR will allow early detection and control of Map in any population at risk.
Project description:We developed a PCR-based method to detect and quantify viable Bifidobacterium bifidum BF-1 cells in human feces. This method (PMA-qPCR) uses propidium monoazide (PMA) to distinguish viable from dead cells and quantitative PCR using a BF-1-specific primer set designed from the results of randomly amplified polymorphic DNA analysis. During long-term culture (10 days), the number of viable BF-1 cells detected by counting the number of CFU on modified MRS agar, by measuring the ATP contents converted to CFU, and by using PMA-qPCR decreased from about 10(10) to 10(6) cells/ml; in contrast, the total number of (viable and dead) BF-1 cells detected by counting 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindolee (DAPI)-stained cells and by using qPCR without PMA and reverse transcription-qPCR remained constant. The number of viable BF-1 cells in fecal samples detected by using PMA-qPCR was highly and significantly correlated with the number of viable BF-1 cells added to the fecal samples, within the range of 10(5.3) to 10(10.3) cells/g feces (wet weight) (r > 0.99, P < 0.001). After 12 healthy subjects ingested 10(10.3) to 10(11.0) CFU of BF-1 in a fermented milk product daily for 28 days, 10(4.5 ± 1.5) (mean ± standard deviation [SD]) BF-1 CFU/g was detected in fecal samples by using strain-specific selective agar; in contrast, 10(6.2 ± 0.4) viable BF-1 cells/g were detected by using PMA-qPCR, and a total of 10(7.6 ± 0.7) BF-1 cells/g were detected by using qPCR without PMA. Thus, the number of viable BF-1 cells detected by PMA-qPCR was about 50 times higher (P < 0.01) than that detected by the culture-dependent method. We conclude that strain-specific PMA-qPCR can be used to quickly and accurately evaluate viable BF-1 in feces.
Project description:In recent years, increasing numbers of human campylobacteriosis cases caused by contaminated water have been reported. As the culture-based detection of Campylobacter is time consuming and can yield false-negative results, the suitability of a quantitative real-time PCR method in combination with an ethidium monoazide pretreatment of samples (EMA-qPCR) for the rapid, quantitative detection of viable Campylobacter cells from water samples was investigated. EMA-qPCR has been shown to be a promising rapid method for the detection of viable Campylobacter spp. from food samples. Application of membrane filtration and centrifugation, two methods frequently used for the isolation of bacteria from water, revealed a mean loss of up to 1.08 log10 cells/ml from spiked samples. Both methods used alone lead to a loss of dead bacteria and accumulation of viable bacteria in the sample as shown by fluorescence microscopy. After filtration of samples, no significant differences could be detected in subsequent qPCR experiments with and without EMA pretreatment compared to culture-based enumeration. High correlations (R(2)= 0.942 without EMA, R(2) = 0.893 with EMA) were obtained. After centrifugation of samples, qPCR results overestimated Campylobacter counts, whereas results from both EMA-qPCR and the reference method were comparable. As up to 81.59% of nonviable cells were detected in pond water, EMA-qPCR failed to detect correct quantities of viable cells. However, analyses of spiked tap water samples revealed a high correlation (R(2) = 0.863) between results from EMA-qPCR and the reference method. After membrane filtration, EMA-qPCR was successfully applied to Campylobacter field isolates, and results indicated an advantage over qPCR by analysing defined mixtures of viable and nonviable cells. In conclusion, EMA-qPCR is a suitable method to detect viable Campylobacter from water samples, but the isolation technique and the type/quality of the water sample impact the results.