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J Clin Microbiol. 2012 Jul;50(7):2194-202. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00143-12. Epub 2012 Apr 25.

Rapid, high-throughput detection of rifampin resistance and heteroresistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis by use of sloppy molecular beacon melting temperature coding.

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Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, and the Ruy V. Lourenço Center for Study of Emerging and Reemerging Pathogens, New Jersey Medical School, Newark, New Jersey, USA.


Rifampin resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis is largely determined by mutations in an 80-bp rifampin resistance determining region (RRDR) of the rpoB gene. We developed a rapid single-well PCR assay to identify RRDR mutations. The assay uses sloppy molecular beacons to probe an asymmetric PCR of the M. tuberculosis RRDR by melting temperature (T(m)) analysis. A three-point T(m) code is generated which distinguishes wild-type from mutant RRDR DNA sequences in approximately 2 h. The assay was validated on synthetic oligonucleotide targets containing the 44 most common RRDR mutations. It was then tested on a panel of DNA extracted from 589 geographically diverse clinical M. tuberculosis cultures, including isolates with wild-type RRDR sequences and 25 different RRDR mutations. The assay detected 236/236 RRDR mutant sequences as mutant (sensitivity, 100%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 98 to 100%) and 353/353 RRDR wild-type sequences as wild type (specificity, 100%; 95% CI, 98.7 to 100%). The assay identified 222/225 rifampin-resistant isolates as rifampin resistant (sensitivity, 98.7%; 95% CI, 95.8 to 99.6%) and 335/336 rifampin-susceptible isolates as rifampin susceptible (specificity, 99.7%; 95% CI, 95.8 to 99.6%). All mutations were either individually identified or clustered into small mutation groups using the triple T(m) code. The assay accurately identified mixed (heteroresistant) samples and was shown analytically to detect RRDR mutations when present in at least 40% of the total M. tuberculosis DNA. This was at least as accurate as Sanger DNA sequencing. The assay was easy to use and well suited for high-throughput applications. This new sloppy molecular beacon assay should greatly simplify rifampin resistance testing in clinical laboratories.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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