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Microbiol Immunol. 1999;43(7):625-30.

Differences in genomic macrorestriction patterns of arabinose-positive (Burkholderia thailandensis) and arabinose-negative Burkholderia pseudomallei.

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Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand. SCSCY@MAHIDOL.AC.TH


We reported previously two biochemically and antigenically distinct biotypes of Burkholderia pseudomallei. These two distinct biotypes could be distinguished by their ability to assimilate L-arabinose. Some B. pseudomallei isolated from soil samples could utilize this substrate (Ara+), whereas the other soil isolates and all clinical isolates could not (Ara-). Only the Ara isolates were virulent in animals and reacted with monoclonal antibody directed at the surface envelope, most likely the exopolysaccharide component. In the present study, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis was employed for karyotyping of these previously identified B. pseudomallei strains. We demonstrate here that the DNA macrorestriction pattern allows the differentiation between B. pseudomallei, which can assimilate L-arabinose, and the proposed B. thailandensis, which cannot do so. Bacterial strains from 80 melioidosis patients and 33 soil samples were examined by genomic DNA digestion with NcoI. Two major reproducible restriction patterns were observed. All clinical (Ara-) isolates and 9 Ara- soil isolates exhibited macrorestriction pattern I (MPI), while 24 soil isolates (Ara+) from central and northeastern Thailand displayed macrorestriction pattern II (MPII). The study here demonstrated pulsed-field gel electrophoresis to be a useful tool in epidemiological investigation possibly distinguishing virulent B. pseudomallei from avirulent B. thailandensis or even identifying closely related species of Burkholderia.

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