Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Specific differentiation of H. hammondi from Toxoplasma gondii by PCR

Mol Cell Probes. 2008 May 8. [Epub ahead of print]

Characterization of a repetitive DNA fragment in Hammondia hammondi and its utility for the specific differentiation of H. hammondi from Toxoplasma gondii by PCR

Schares G, Herrmann DC, Beckert A, Schares S, Hosseininejad M, Pantchev N, Globokar Vrhovec M, Conraths FJ.

Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Institute of Epidemiology, Seestrasse 55, D-16868 Wusterhausen, Germany.

Hammondia hammondi and Toxoplasma gondii are closely related protozoan parasites. Both species use felids as definitive hosts and a broad spectrum of warm-blooded animals as intermediate hosts. Morphologically and serologically, the two parasites are difficult to differentiate. While T. gondii is an important pathogen of humans and a broad range of other vertebrates, disease has not yet been associated with H. hammondi infection. The aim of the present study was to identify and characterize a repetitive DNA fragment in H. hammondi and to evaluate its suitability for diagnostic purposes. With two primers considered to be specific for a 529bp repetitive DNA fragment in T. gondii, weak products were amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) from genomic DNA from H. hammondi oocysts. These amplicons (of approximately 150, 300 and 450bp) were sequenced. The 292bp consensus sequence of these three fragments revealed 84% identity with parts of the 529-bp repeat in T. gondii. Based on this sequence, a pair of primers was selected which amplified products of 98 and 630bp from genomic DNA from H. hammondi oocysts but not from DNA from T. gondii. The 630-bp product was purified and cloned into a plasmid vector and the consensus sequence determined from seven randomly selected clones; comparison of this sequence with those available in current databases for T. gondii revealed an 84.0-88.1% identity over a length of 529bp. The sequence data obtained was used for the development of a sensitive PCR which is entirely specific for H. hammondi and incorporates an internal control. The sequence data for the repetitive DNA element of H. hammondi provides a foundation for the design of primers specific to T. gondii, and the future optimisation of conventional and real-time PCR assays for the specific diagnosis of toxoplasmosis in definitive and intermediate hosts.

PMID: 18554866 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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