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Scand J Infect Dis. 2000;32(5):481-3.

Rapid detection of dihydropteroate polymorphism in AIDS-related Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia by restriction fragment length polymorphism.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, University of Copenhagen, Hvidovre Hospital, Denmark.


Sulpha agents, which act by inhibiting the enzyme dihydropteroate synthase (DHPS), are used widely for the treatment and prophylaxis of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP). Recently, we have shown that mutations in the dihydropteroate synthase (DHPS) gene of Pneumocystis carinii f.sp hominis are associated with failure of sulpha prophylaxis and increased mortality in HIV-1 positive patients with PCP, suggesting that DHPS mutations may cause sulpha resistance. To facilitate detection of DHPS mutations we developed a restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) assay, detecting mutations at codon 55 and 57 of the P. carinii DHPS gene. The RFLP-assay was compared with direct DNA sequencing on 27 PCP isolates from HIV-1 positive patients with a mixture of wildtype and mutant DHPS types. In all samples the RFLP-assay correctly identified wildtype or DHPS mutation at codon 55 or 57. Combined with DNA extraction by a Chelex-based method, this method can be performed within 1 d and allows a fast, cost-efficient and reliable method of detection of DHPS mutations in P. carinii.

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