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BMC Infect Dis. 2013 Nov 19;13:552. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-13-552.

Direct genotyping of Toxoplasma gondii from amniotic fluids based on B1 gene polymorphism using minisequencing analysis.

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Laboratoire CERBA, Paris, Cergy-Pontoise, France.



Because some Toxoplasma gondii genotypes may be more virulent in pregnant women, discriminating between them appears valuable. Currently, the main genotyping method is based on single copy microsatellite markers, which limit direct genotyping from amniotic fluids (AFs) to samples with a high parasitic load. We investigated whether the multicopy gene B1 could type the parasite with a higher sensitivity. To estimate the amplifiable DNA present in AFs, we first compared three different PCR assays used for Toxoplasma infection diagnosis: the P30-PCR, targeting the single copy gene P30; the B1-PCR, targeting the repeated B1 gene; and RE-PCR, targeting the repeated element.


Of the 1792 AFs analyzed between 2008 and 2011, 73 were RE-PCR positive. Of those, 49 (67.1%) were P30-PCR and B1-PCR positive, and 14 (19.2%) additional AFs were B1-PCR positive only.All 63 BI-positive AFs (France n = 49; overseas n = 14) could be genotyped based on an analysis of eight nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located within the B1 gene. Following high-resolution melting (HRM) analysis, minisequencing was carried out for each of the eight SNPs. DNA from six reference strains was included in the study, and AFs were assigned to one of the three major lineages (Types I, II, and III). In total, 26 genotypes were observed, and the hierarchical clustering distinguished two clades in lineages II (IIa, n = 30 and IIb, n = 4) and III (IIIa n = 23 and IIIb n = 6). There was an overrepresentation of overseas isolates in Clade IIb (4/4, 100%) and Clade IIIa (8/22; 36.4%) (p <0.0001), whereas medical interruption and fetal death were overrepresented in Clade IIb (2/4, 50%) and Clade IIIa (4/23, 17.4%) (p = 0.049).


Although the current genotyping system cannot pretend to replace multilocus typing, we clearly show that targeting the multicopy B1 gene yields a genotyping capacity of AFs around 20% better than when single copy targets are used. The present genotyping method also allows clear identification of genotypes of potential higher virulence.

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