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J Clin Microbiol. Jul 1990; 28(7): 1591–1596.
PMCID: PMC267994

Identification of two groups of Mycobacterium paratuberculosis strains by restriction endonuclease analysis and DNA hybridization.


Genomic DNA was prepared from four reference strains of Mycobacterium paratuberculosis and 46 isolates of this organism from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and Norway and also from two mycobactin-dependent "wood pigeon" strains. The DNA was characterized by restriction endonuclease analysis, both with and without DNA hybridization, with a probe specific to a repetitive DNA sequence in M. paratuberculosis. Both techniques differentiated M. paratuberculosis strains into two groups, but DNA hybridization revealed more differences between strains within the larger group. All the strains from cattle and many strains from other animals belonged to this group. The second group of nine strains included the Faroe Islands strain, all New Zealand sheep strains, and one New Zealand goat strain. Primary isolation of strains belonging to this group was difficult to achieve. DNA from acid-fast organisms harvested directly from intestinal tissues of sheep with Johne's disease was shown to have restriction and hybridization patterns identical to those of DNA obtained from M. paratuberculosis isolates cultured from the same tissues. Two Norwegian goat strains and the wood pigeon strains did not hybridize to the M. paratuberculosis probe and had restriction patterns very different from those of other M. paratuberculosis strains. The wood pigeon strains had restriction patterns very similar to those of strains of Mycobacterium avium, indicating that they should be classified as that species. The presence of two distinct groups of M. paratuberculosis strains and their predominant distribution in different host animals may be significant in management of mixed-animal farming operations.

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Selected References

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