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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2011 Dec;17(12):1804-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2011.03521.x. Epub 2011 May 20.

Comparison of a multiplexed MassARRAY system with real-time allele-specific PCR technology for genotyping of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

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Queensland Paediatric Infectious Diseases Laboratory, Sir Albert Sakzewski Virus Research Centre, Royal Children's Hospital and Health Service District, Brisbane, Australia.


The Sequenom MassARRAY iPLEX single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) typing platform uses matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) coupled with single-base extension PCR for high-throughput multiplex SNP detection. In this study, we investigated the use of iPLEX MassARRAY technology for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) genotyping. A 16-plex MassARRAY iPLEX GOLD assay (MRSA-iPLEX) was developed that targets a set of informative SNPs and binary genes for MRSA characterization. The method was evaluated with 147 MRSA isolates, and the results were compared with those of an established SYBR Green-based real-time PCR system utilizing the same SNP-binary markers. A total of 2352 markers belonging to 44 SNP-binary profiles were analysed by both real-time PCR and MRSA-iPLEX. With real-time PCR as the reference standard, MRSA-iPLEX correctly assigned 2298 of the 2352 (97.7%) markers. Sequence variation in the MRSA-iPLEX primer targets accounted for the majority of MRSA-iPLEX erroneous results, highlighting the importance of primer target selection. MRSA-iPLEX provided optimal throughput for MRSA genotyping, and was, on a reagent basis, more cost-effective than the real-time PCR methods. The 16-plex MRSA-iPLEX is a suitable alternative to SYBR Green-based real-time PCR typing of major sequence types and clonal complexes of MRSA.

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