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Mol Cell Probes. 2013 Feb;27(1):46-52. doi: 10.1016/j.mcp.2012.08.009. Epub 2012 Aug 29.

Identification of potential biomarkers to distinguish Mycobacterium colombiense from other mycobacterial species.

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Chemistry Department, Faculty of Sciences, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Carrera 30# 45-03, Ciudad Universitaria, Bogotá, Colombia.


Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) consists of 9 species of slow-growing mycobacteria with differing degrees of pathogenicity, host preference and environmental distribution. Mycobacterium colombiense is a novel member of MAC that is responsible for disseminated infections in HIV-infected patients in Colombia and lymphadenopathy cases in Europe. At present, methods to easily differentiate novel members of MAC are lacking. In this study, we identified possible biomarkers that are potentially useful for the detection of M. colombiense by PCR or chromatography. The Randomly Amplified Polymorphic DNA (RAPD) technique was used to amplify genomic fragments of M. colombiense CECT 3035 that were subsequently used in the development of a direct colony-specific PCR assay using specific primers. The designed primers amplified a 634-bp fragment of DNA from M. colombiense, which included a 450-bp genomic region that encodes a hypothetical protein of 149 amino acids that is exclusive to M. colombiense. Bioinformatic analyses revealed that this hypothetical protein had no signal peptide, active sites or functional domains to aid its identification or classification. In addition, using thin-layer chromatography, we identified a different profile of mycolates for M. colombiense strains. The test developed in this study has potential applications in the routine identification of M. colombiense and in molecular assays designed for the surveillance of MAC strains.

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