Author(s): Huang XZ, Chu MC, Engelthaler DM, Lindler LE
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Abstract Yersinia pestis, the causative agent of deadly plague, is considered a reemerging infectious disease and a significant biological terrorism threat. The present project focused on epidemiological investigation of the genetic variability of well-documented strains of Y. pestis from the United States by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis with insertion sequences IS100 and IS285 as probes. We examined 37 U.S. Y. pestis strains and isolates of a single ribotype, ribotype B, recovered between 1939 and 1998 from patients, animals, and fleas. Our results showed that all isolates had similar PFGE patterns, but minor differences such as missing, additional, and shifted bands were found among almost all strains if they came from different parent strains. The 37 strains and isolates were divided into 26 PFGE types. RFLP analysis with IS100 as a probe divided these strains and isolates into 16 types, with 43\% belonging to IS100 type 1. Typing with IS285 as a probe was less specific and led to only four RFLP types, with 81\% belonging to type 1. Similarity analysis with BioNumerics software showed that all strains shared >or=80, 86, and 91\% similarities on dendrograms prepared from digitized PFGE, IS100 RFLP analysis, and IS285 RFLP analysis images, respectively. Our results demonstrate that PFGE offers an increased ability to discriminate between strains (Simpson's index of diversity, 0.98) and therefore can significantly improve epidemiological studies related to the origin of new plague isolates.
This article was published in J Clin Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Bioprocessing & Biotechniques