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PLoS One. 2016 Jul 8;11(7):e0158651. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0158651. eCollection 2016.

MLVA Typing of Streptococcus pneumoniae Isolates with Emphasis on Serotypes 14, 9N and 9V: Comparison of Previously Described Panels and Proposal of a Novel 7 VNTR Loci-Based Simplified Scheme.

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Instituto de Microbiologia Paulo de Góes, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil.
Faculdade de Ciências Médicas, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil.


Streptococcus pneumoniae remains as an important cause of community-acquired bacterial infections, and the nasopharynx of asymptomatic carriers is the major reservoir of this microorganism. Pneumococcal strains of serotype 14 and serogroup 9 are among the most frequently isolated from both asymptomatic carriers and patients with invasive disease living in Brazil. Internationally disseminated clones belonging to such serotypes have been associated with the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance in our setting, highlighting the need for epidemiological tracking of these isolates. In this scenario, Multiple Loci VNTR Analysis (MLVA) has emerged as an alternative tool for the molecular characterization of pneumococci, in addition to more traditional techniques such as Multi-Locus Sequence Typing (MLST) and Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE). In the present study, 18 VNTR loci, as well as other previously described reduced MLVA panels (7 VNTR loci), were evaluated as tools to characterize pneumococcal strains of serotypes 14, 9N and 9V belonging to international and regional clones isolated in Brazil. The 18 VNTR loci panel was highly congruent with MLST and PFGE, being also useful for indicating the genetic relationship with international clones and for discriminating among strains with indistinguishable STs and PFGE profiles. Analysis of the results also allowed deducing a novel shorter 7 VNTR loci panel, keeping a high discriminatory power for isolates of the serotypes investigated and a high congruence level with MLST and PFGE. The newly proposed simplified panel was then evaluated for typing pneumococcal strains of other commonly isolated serotypes. The results indicate that MLVA is a faster and easier to perform, reliable approach for the molecular characterization of S. pneumoniae isolates, with potential for cost-effective application, especially in resource-limited countries.

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