Rapid detection of vanA and vanB genes directly from clinical specimens and enrichment broths by real-time multiplex PCR assay

Silvano Palladino, Ian D Kay, James P Flexman, Ingrid Boehm, Anna Maria G Costa, Erica J Lambert, Keryn J Christiansen

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Abstract

A real-time PCR assay previously developed for use on the Roche LightCycler platform was investigated as an alternative to culture for the direct detection of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) in clinical specimens. PCR primers and fluorescence resonance energy transfer hybridization probes specific for the vanA and vanB genes were combined in a multiplex real-time PCR assay performed directly with fecal material obtained by rectal swabbing and with enrichment broth samples. DNA was prepared from the rectal swabs and enrichment broths with a commercially available DNA preparation column designed specifically for use with fecal specimens. One hundred eighty duplicate rectal swabs were obtained from 42 patients who were previously found to be positive for VRE and who were being monitored for carriage of VRE. Direct and enrichment broth cultures were performed with one swab, while PCR was performed with the other swab as well as any corresponding presumptive positive enrichment broth. In total, 100 specimens from 30 patients remained positive for VRE by at least one method. The multiplex real-time PCR was positive for 88 enrichment broths of rectal swabs from 27 patients but for only 45 rectal swabs from 15 patients. Direct culture was positive for VRE for only 43 specimens from 11 patients, while enrichment broth culture was positive for VRE for 75 specimens from 22 patients. Inhibition studies for the multiplex real-time PCR assay, performed by spiking the DNA extracts from 50 negative rectal swabs and the corresponding enrichment broths with between 1 and 10 CFU of a VanB Enterococcus faecium strain, detected inhibition rates of 55.1 and 10%, respectively. PCR performed directly with enrichment broths was found to be significantly more sensitive than enrichment broth culture (P < 0.025). Negative samples were identified significantly earlier by PCR than by culture alone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2483-6
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Volume41
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2003

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    Palladino, S., Kay, I. D., Flexman, J. P., Boehm, I., Costa, A. M. G., Lambert, E. J., & Christiansen, K. J. (2003). Rapid detection of vanA and vanB genes directly from clinical specimens and enrichment broths by real-time multiplex PCR assay. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 41(6), 2483-6.