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J Microbiol Methods. 2012 Jan;88(1):98-102. doi: 10.1016/j.mimet.2011.10.017. Epub 2011 Oct 28.

Rapid detection by multiplex PCR of Genomic Islands, prophages and Integrative Conjugative Elements in V. cholerae 7th pandemic variants.

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Dipartimento di Biologia e Biotecnologie Charles Darwin, Sapienza Università di Roma, Via dei Sardi 70, 00185, Rome, Italy.


Vibrio cholerae poses a threat to human health, and new epidemic variants have been reported so far. Seventh pandemic V. cholerae strains are characterized by highly related genomic sequences but can be discriminated by a large set of Genomic Islands, phages and Integrative Conjugative Elements. Classical serotyping and biotyping methods do not easily discriminate among new variants arising worldwide, therefore the establishment of new methods for their identification is required. We developed a multiplex PCR assay for the rapid detection of the major 7th pandemic variants of V. cholerae O1 and O139. Three specific genomic islands (GI-12, GI-14 and GI-15), two phages (Kappa and TLC), Vibrio Seventh Pandemic Island 2 (VSP-II), and the ICEs of the SXT/R391 family were selected as targets of our multiplex PCR based on a comparative genomic approach. The optimization and specificity of the multiplex PCR was assessed on 5 V. cholerae 7th pandemic reference strains, and other 34 V. cholerae strains from various epidemic events were analyzed to validate the reliability of our method. This assay had sufficient specificity to identify twelve different V. cholerae genetic profiles, and therefore has the potential to be used as a rapid screening method.

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