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Infect Genet Evol. 2007 Jul;7(4):499-508. Epub 2007 Mar 1.

Improved differentiation of Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains, including many Beijing genotype strains, using a new combination of variable number of tandem repeats loci.

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Division of Bacteriology, Chiba Prefectural Institute of Public Health, 666-2 Nitona, Chuo, Chiba City, Chiba 260-8715, Japan.


Variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR) typing was done on 230 Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains, including 41 strains isolated from 17 groups of epidemiologically linked patients. By PCR amplification, 185 (80.4%) of the 230 strains were Beijing genotype strains. VNTR typing was performed using the 15 loci proposed as a standard set by Supply et al. [Supply, P., Allix, C., Lesjean, S., Cardoso-Oelemann, M., Rusch-Gerdes, S., Willery, E., Savine, E., de Haas, P., van Deutekom, H., Roring, S., Bifani, P., Kurepina, N., Kreiswirth, B., Sola, C., Rastogi, N., Vatin, V., Gutierrez, M.C., Fauville, M., Niemann, S., Skuce, R., Kremer, K., Locht, C., van Soolingen, D., 2006. Proposal for standardization of optimized mycobacterial interspersed repetitive unit-variable-number tandem repeat typing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. J. Clin. Microbiol. 44, 4498-4510], and cluster analyses of these data were done. By the VNTR typing with the proposed 15 loci, strains having low similarity values by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis were clustered. Use of a supplemental9 loci, proposed as a high-resolution tool, with the 15 loci showed that strains with low similarity by RFLP analysis were still clustered. Twelve VNTR loci were selected based on previously reported discriminatory index (DI) values and used with the proposed 15 loci for better differentiation by VNTR typing. When eight loci with higher DI values were used with the 15 loci, there were no clusters, including strains with low RFLP similarity. The15 loci and eight additional loci decreased the numbers of clustered strains isolated from epidemiologically unlinked patients significantly compared to using only the 15 loci. Among all tested loci, obvious differences of DI values were observed for 8 loci (miru10, miru16, miru39, Mtub29, Mtub30, QUB11a, QUB26, and QUB1895) of RD105 lineage strains compared to those of other lineage strains. These results suggest that the proposed VNTR typing method cannot be used as a routine epidemiological tool in areas where Beijing genotype strains are prevalent. Several VNTR loci should be added to the proposed method based on differences in polymorphism of VNTR loci among Beijing genotype lineages.

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