Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2014 Jun 17;9(6):e94886. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0094886. eCollection 2014.

Enzymatic treatment of specimens before DNA extraction directly influences molecular detection of infectious agents.

Author information

Laboratoire du Centre Hospitalier National d'Ophtalmologie des Quinze-Vingts, Paris, France.



Biological samples, pharmaceuticals or food contain proteins, lipids, polymers, ammoniums and macromolecules that alter the detection of infectious agents by DNA amplification techniques (PCR). Moreover the targeted DNA has to be released from the complex cell walls and the compact nucleoprotein matrixes and cleared from potential inhibitors. The goal of the present work was to assess the efficiency of enzymatic pretreatments on infectious agents to make DNA available for further extraction and amplification.


Staphylococcus epidermidis, Streptococcus mitis, Propionibacterium acnes, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Candida albicans, Aspergillus niger and Fusarium solani were mixed with an internal control virus and treated with: 1) proteinase K; 2) lyticase and 3) lyticase followed by proteinase K. DNAs was manually extracted using the QIAmp DNA Mini kit or the MagNA Pure Compact automate. DNA extraction yields and the inhibitors were assessed with a phocid Herpesvirus. Bacterial detection was performed using TaqMan real-time PCR and yeasts and filamentous Fungi with HRM (real-time PCR followed by high-resolution melting analysis).


Viral DNA was released, extracted and detected using manual and automatic methods without pre enzymatic treatments. Either the manual or the automatic DNA extraction systems did not meet the sensitivity expectations if enzymatic treatments were not performed before: lyticase for Fungi and Proteinase K for Bacteria. The addition of lyticase and proteinase K did not improve results. For Fungi the detection after lyticase was higher than for Proteinase K, for which melting analysis did not allow fungal specification.


Columns and magnetic beads allowed collecting DNA and separate PCR inhibitors. Detection rates cannot be related to DNA-avidity of beads or to elution but to the lack of proteolysis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center