Detection of virulence, antibiotic resistance and toxin (VAT) genes in Campylobacter species using newly developed multiplex PCR assays
Laprade, N., Cloutier, M., Lapen, D.R., Topp, E., Wilkes, G., Villemur, R., Khan, I.U.H. (2016). Detection of virulence, antibiotic resistance and toxin (VAT) genes in Campylobacter species using newly developed multiplex PCR assays. Journal of Microbiological Methods, [online] 124 41-47. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mimet.2016.03.009
Campylobacter species are one of the leading causes of bacterial gastroenteritis in humans worldwide. This twofold study was sought to: i) develop and optimize four single-tube multiplex PCR (mPCR) assays for the detection of six virulence (ciaB, dnaJ, flaA, flaB, pldA and racR), three toxin (cdtA, cdtB and cdtC) and one antibiotic resistance tet(O) genes in thermophilic Campylobacter spp. and ii) apply and evaluate the developed mPCR assays by testing 470 previously identified C. jejuni, C. coli and C. lari isolates from agricultural water. In each mPCR assay, a combination of two or three sets of primer pairs for virulence, antibiotic resistance and toxin (VAT) genes was used and optimized. Assay 1 was developed for the detection of dnaJ, racR and cdtC genes with expected amplification sizes of 720, 584 and 182 bp. Assay 2 generated PCR amplicons for tet(O) and cdtA genes of 559 and 370 bp. Assay 3 amplified cdtB ciaB, and pldA genes with PCR amplicon sizes of 620, 527 and 385 bp. Assay 4 was optimized for flaA and flaB genes that generated PCR amplicons of 855 and 260 bp. The primer pairs and optimized PCR protocols did not show interference and/or cross-amplification with each other and generated the expected size of amplification products for each target VAT gene for the C. jejuni ATCC 33291 reference strain. Overall, all ten target VAT genes were detected at a variable frequency in tested isolates of thermophilic Campylobacter spp. where cdtC, flaB, ciaB, cdtB, cdtA and pldA were commonly detected compared to the flaA, racR, dnaJ and tet(O) genes which were detected with less frequency. The developed mPCR assays are simple, rapid, reliable and sensitive tools for simultaneously assessing potential pathogenicity and antibiotic resistance profiling in thermophilic Campylobacter spp. The mPCR assays will be useful in diagnostic and analytical settings for routine screening of VAT characteristics of Campylobacter spp. as well as being applicable in epidemiological studies by providing information that could be related to the risk of human infection.