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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2009 Nov;300(2):174-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2009.01776.x. Epub 2009 Aug 28.

Molecular analysis of Leptospira spp. isolated from humans by restriction fragment length polymorphism, real-time PCR and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis.

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  • 1Laboratory for Leptospires, Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases with Clinic, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zagreb, Heinzelova 55, Zagreb, Croatia.


A total of 17 Leptospira clinical strains isolated from humans in Croatia were serologically and genetically analysed. For serovar identification, the microscopic agglutination test (MAT) and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) were used. To identify isolates on genomic species level, PCR-based restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and real-time PCR were performed. MAT revealed the following serogroup affinities: Grippotyphosa (seven isolates), Icterohaemorrhagiae (eight isolates) and Javanica (two isolates). RFLP of PCR products from a 331-bp-long fragment of rrs (16S rRNA gene) digested with endonucleases MnlI and DdeI and real-time PCR revealed three Leptospira genomic species. Grippotyphosa isolates belonged to Leptospira kirschneri, Icterohaemorrhagiae isolates to Leptospira interrogans and Javanica isolates to Leptospira borgpetersenii. Genomic DNA from 17 leptospiral isolates was digested with NotI and SgrAI restriction enzymes and analysed by PFGE. Results showed that seven isolates have the same binding pattern to serovar Grippotyphosa, eight isolates to serovar Icterohaemorrhagiae and two isolates to serovar Poi. Results demonstrate the diversity of leptospires circulating in Croatia. We point out the usefulness of a combination of PFGE, RFLP and real-time PCR as appropriate molecular methods in molecular analysis of leptospires.

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