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Eur J Epidemiol. 1997 Apr;13(3):329-34.

Specific detection of Coxiella burnetii through partial amplification of 23S rDNA.

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Department of Microbiology, National Defence Research Establishment, Umeå, Sweden.


A previously published sequence of the 23S rRNA gene of Coxiella burnetii has been reported to contain an intervening sequence of 444 base pairs (bp). The sequence information on the intervening sequence and the 23S rRNA gene was exploited to develop a specific PCR-based assay for C. burnetii. A primer set was designed that amplified a 477-bp fragment encompassing part of the intervening sequence and part of the 23S rDNA. From all of nine C. burnetii strains tested, a fragment of the expected size was amplified. As predicted from the published sequence, restriction endonuclease digestion of the PCR product from the Coxiella strains with RsaI produced two distinct fragments approximately 210- and 270-bp in size. The PCR-based method showed a detection limit of 10(2) bacteria as determined by visualization of the amplicon on an agarose gel. When experimentally infected blood was analyzed, the detection limit was 10(3) bacteria. No visible amplicons were observed when 41 bacterial strains, representing 29 species other than C. burnetii, were tested. The presence of the DNA in all bacterial samples was confirmed by amplification of a 350-bp fragment of the 16S rDNA using two universal primers. The described method proved to be specific for C. burnetii and may become a rapid and sensitive diagnostic assay for C. burnetii. The results also demonstrate that the intervening sequence within the 23S rRNA gene is generally found among isolates of C. burnetii.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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