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Development and Validation of an Improved PCR Method Using the 23S-5S Intergenic Spacer for Detection of Rickettsiae in Dermacentor variabilis Ticks and Tissue Samples from Humans and Laboratory Animals
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  • Alternative Title:
    J Clin Microbiol
  • Description:
    A novel nested PCR assay was developed to detectRickettsiaspp. in ticks and tissue samples from humans and laboratory animals. Primers were designed for the nested run to amplify a variable region of the 23S-5S intergenic spacer (IGS) ofRickettsiaspp. The newly designed primers were evaluated using genomic DNA from 11Rickettsiaspecies belonging to the spotted fever, typhus, and ancestral groups and, in parallel, compared to otherRickettsia-specific PCR targets (ompA,gltA, and the 17-kDa protein gene). The new 23S-5S IGS nested PCR assay amplified all 11Rickettsiaspp., but the assays employing other PCR targets did not. The novel nested assay was sensitive enough to detect one copy of a cloned 23S-5S IGS fragment from "CandidatusRickettsia amblyommii." Subsequently, the detection efficiency of the 23S-5S IGS nested assay was compared to those of the other three assays using genomic DNA extracted from 40 adultDermacentor variabilisticks. The nested 23S-5S IGS assay detectedRickettsiaDNA in 45% of the ticks, while the amplification rates of the other three assays ranged between 5 and 20%. The novel PCR assay was validated using clinical samples from humans and laboratory animals that were known to be infected with pathogenic species ofRickettsia The nested 23S-5S IGS PCR assay was coupled with reverse line blot hybridization with species-specific probes for high-throughput detection and simultaneous identification of the species ofRickettsiain the ticks. "CandidatusRickettsia amblyommii,"R. montanensis,R. felis, andR. belliiwere frequently identified species, along with some potentially novelRickettsiastrains that were closely related toR. belliiandR. conorii.
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