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J Clin Microbiol. 1992 Jul;30(7):1654-60.

Detection of Staphylococcus aureus by polymerase chain reaction amplification of the nuc gene.

Author information

1
Applied Chemistry Division, SINTEF, Trondheim, Norway.

Abstract

Synthetic oligonucleotide primers of 21 and 24 bases, respectively, were used in the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify a sequence of the nuc gene, which encodes the thermostable nuclease of Staphylococcus aureus. A DNA fragment of approximately 270 bp was amplified from lysed S. aureus cells or isolated DNA. The PCR product was detected by agarose gel electrophoresis or Southern blot analysis by using a 33-mer internal nuc gene hybridization probe. With S. aureus cells the lower detection limit was less than 10 CFU, and with the isolated target the lower detection limit was 0.69 pg of DNA. The primers recognized 90 of 90 reference or clinical S. aureus strains. Amplification was not recorded when 80 strains representing 16 other staphylococcal species were tested or when 20 strains representing 9 different nonstaphylococcal species were tested. Some of the non-S. aureus staphylococci produced thermostable nucleases but were PCR negative. The PCR product was generated when in vitro-cultured S. aureus was used to prepare simulated clinical specimens of blood, urine, cerebrospinal fluid, or synovial fluid. No PCR product was generated when the sterile body fluids were tested. However, the sensitivity of the PCR was reduced when S. aureus in blood or urine was tested in comparison with that when bacteria in saline were tested. With the bacteria in blood, the detection limit of the PCR was 10(3) CFU. A positive PCR result was recorded when a limited number of clinical samples from wounds verified to be infected with S. aureus were tested, while the PCR product was not detected in materials from infections caused by other bacteria. Generation of PCR products was not affected by exposure of S. aureus to bactericidal agents, including cloxacillin and gentamicin, prior to testing, but was affected by exposure to UV radiation. The PCR for amplification of the nuc gene has potential for the rapid diagnosis of S. aureus infections by direct testing of clinical specimens, including specimens from patients with ongoing antimicrobial therapy.

PMID:
1629319
PMCID:
PMC265359
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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