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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2011 Mar;17(3):349-57. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2010.03234.x.

A novel method for the rapid and prospective identification of Beijing Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains by high-resolution melting analysis.

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Servicio de Microbiología Clínica y Enfermedades Infecciosas, Hospital General Universitario Gregorìo Marañón, Madrid, Spain.


Genotypic analysis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) has enabled the definition of several lineages. The Beijing family, which is considered highly virulent and transmissible, has been associated with resistance in certain settings and involved in severe outbreaks, making it one of the most closely-monitored lineages. Therefore, rapid prospective identification of Beijing MTB strains could be relevant. In the present study, we evaluate a real-time PCR followed by high-resolution melting (HRM) based on the identification of a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the Rv2629 gene which defines Beijing lineage (A191C for Beijing genotype and A191A for non-Beijing genotype). This combined methodology efficiently differentiated Beijing and non-Beijing strains in 100% of the isolates from a collection of reference strains without requiring specific DNA probes. Additionally, HRM was able to assign a Beijing/non-Beijing genotype in 90.9% of the respiratory specimens assayed. Its applicability was tested on a Peruvian sample of circulating MTB strains, in which it identified 10.7% as belonging to the Beijing genotype; this proportion reached 20% in the North Lima area. HRM analysis of the A191C SNP is a rapid, reliable, and sensitive method for the efficient prospective survey of high-risk Beijing MTB strains, even in developing settings where MTB culture is often not available.

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