Real-Time Detection and Identification of Chlamydophila Species in Veterinary Specimens by Using SYBR Green-Based PCR Assays

Steen Nordentoft, Susanne Kabell, Karl Pedersen

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Infections caused by members of the Chlamydiaceae family have long been underestimated due to the requirement of special laboratory facilities for the detection of this group of intracellular pathogens. Furthermore, new studies of this group of intracellular pathogens have revealed that host specificity of different species is not as clear as recently believed. As most members of the genus Chlamydophila have shown to be transmissible from animals to humans, sensitive and fast detection methods are required. In this study, SYBR green-based real-time assays were developed that detect all members of Chlamydiaceae and differentiate the most prevalent veterinary Chlamydophila species: Cp. psittaci, Cp. abortus, Cp. felis, and Cp. caviae. By adding bovine serum albumin to the master mixes, target DNA could be detected directly in crude lysates of enzymatically digested conjunctival or pharyngeal swabs or tissue specimens from heart, liver, and spleen without further purification. The assays were evaluated on veterinary specimens where all samples were screened using a family-specific PCR, and positive samples were further tested using species-specific PCRs. Cp. psittaci was detected in 47 birds, Cp. felis was found in 10 cats, Cp. caviae was found in one guinea pig, and Cp. abortus was detected in one sheep. The screening assay appeared more sensitive than traditional microscopical examination of stained tissue smears. By combining a fast, robust, and cost-effective method for sample preparation with a highly sensitive family-specific PCR, we were able to screen for Chlamydiaceae in veterinary specimens and confirm the species in positive samples with additional PCR assays.
Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number18
Pages (from-to)6323-6330
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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