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J Clin Microbiol. 2001 Nov;39(11):4138-41.

Differentiation of Candida albicans and Candida dubliniensis by fluorescent in situ hybridization with peptide nucleic acid probes.

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Boston Probes, Bedford, Massachusetts 01730, USA.


The recent discovery of Candida dubliniensis as a separate species that traditionally has been identified as Candida albicans has led to the development of a variety of biochemical and molecular methods for the differentiation of these two pathogenic yeasts. rRNA sequences are well-established phylogenetic markers, and probes targeting species-specific rRNA sequences have been used in diagnostic assays for the detection and identification of microorganisms. Peptide nucleic acid (PNA) is a DNA mimic with improved hybridization characteristics, and the neutral backbone of PNA probes offers significant advantages in whole-cell in situ hybridization assays. In this study, we developed PNA probes targeting the rRNAs of C. albicans and C. dubliniensis and applied them to a fluorescence in situ hybridization method (PNA FISH) for differentiation between C. albicans and C. dubliniensis. Liquid cultures were smeared onto microscope slides, heat fixed, and then hybridized for 30 min. Unhybridized PNA probe was removed by washing, and smears were examined by fluorescence microscopy. Evaluation of the PNA FISH method using smears of 79 C. dubliniensis and 70 C. albicans strains showed 100% sensitivity and 100% specificity for both PNA probes. We concluded that PNA FISH is a powerful tool for the differentiation of C. albicans and C. dubliniensis.

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