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Int J Med Microbiol. 2009 Apr;299(4):291-300. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmm.2008.08.002. Epub 2008 Oct 15.

Broad-range real-time PCR assay for the rapid identification of cell-line contaminants and clinically important mollicute species.

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Institut für Laboratoriums- und Transfusionsmedizin, Herz- und Diabeteszentrum Nordrhein-Westfalen, Universitätsklinik der Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Georgstrasse 11, D-32545 Bad Oeynhausen, Germany.


Polymerase chain reaction assays have become widely used methods of confirming the presence of Mollicutes species in clinical samples and cell cultures. We have developed a broad-range real-time PCR assay using the locked nucleic acid technology to detect mollicute species causing human infection and cell line contamination. Primers and probes specifically for the conserved regions of the mycoplasmal tuf gene (encoding elongation factor Tu) were designed. Cell culture supernatants, clinical specimens (vaginal swabs, sputum, cryopreserved heart valve tissues), and reference strains were tested for mollicute contamination as well as to exclude cross-reaction to human nucleic acids and other bacterial species. Nucleic acids were extracted using magnetic separation technology. The coamplification of the human beta2-microglobulin DNA served as an internal control. The PCR assay was highly specific and obtained an analytical sensitivity of one copy per microl sample. The 95% detection limit was calculated to 10 copies per microl sample for Mycoplasma pneumoniae and M. orale. No false-positive results were observed due to cross-reaction of walled bacterial, fungal, and human nucleic acids. To evaluate the PCR, we compared the results to two commercialized test systems. Moreover, in combination with a previously developed broad-range RT-PCR assay for the detection of bacteria in blood products, both mollicute and walled bacterial contamination can be detected simultaneously using multiplex real-time RT-PCR.

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