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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2019 Oct 1;85(20). pii: e01499-19. doi: 10.1128/AEM.01499-19. Print 2019 Oct 15.

Viability Quantitative PCR Utilizing Propidium Monoazide, Spheroplast Formation, and Campylobacter coli as a Bacterial Model.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Hygiene of Foods of Animal Origin-Veterinary Public Health, School of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece tlazou@vet.auth.gr dovas@vet.auth.gr.
2
Laboratory of Hygiene of Foods of Animal Origin-Veterinary Public Health, School of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece.
3
Laboratory of Anatomy and Physiology of Farm Animals, Department of Animal Science, School of Animal Biosciences, Agricultural University of Athens, Athens, Greece.
4
Diagnostic Laboratory, School of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece.
5
Diagnostic Laboratory, School of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece tlazou@vet.auth.gr dovas@vet.auth.gr.

Abstract

A viability quantitative PCR (qPCR) utilizing propidium monoazide (PMA) is presented for rapid quantification of viable cells using the foodborne pathogen Campylobacter coli as a bacterial model. It includes optimized spheroplast formation via lysozyme and EDTA, induction of a mild osmotic shock for enhancing the selective penetration of PMA into dead cells, and exploitation of an internal sample process control (ISPC) involving cell inactivation to assess residual false-positive signals within each sample. Spheroplasting of bacteria in exponential phase did not permit PMA entrance into viable cells since a strong linear relationship was detected between simple qPCR and PMA-qPCR quantification, and no differences were observed regardless of whether spheroplasting was utilized. The PMA-qPCR signal suppression of dead cells was elevated using spheroplast formation. With regard to the ISPC, cell inactivation by hydrogen peroxide resulted in higher signal suppression during qPCR than heat inactivation did. Viability quantification of C. coli cells by optimized spheroplasting-PMA-qPCR with ISPC was successfully applied in an aging pure culture under aerobic conditions and artificially inoculated meat. The same method exhibited a high linear range of quantification (1.5 to 8.5 log10 viable cells ml-1), and results were highly correlated with culture-based enumeration. PMA-qPCR quantification of viable cells can be affected by their rigidity, age, culture media, and niches, but spheroplast formation along with osmotic shock and the use of a proper ISPC can address such variations. The developed methodology could detect cells in a viable-but-nonculturable state and might be utilized for the quantification of other Gram-negative bacteria.IMPORTANCE There is need for rapid and accurate methods to detect viable bacterial cells of foodborne pathogens. Conventional culture-based methods are time-consuming and unable to detect bacteria in a viable-but-nonculturable state. The high sensitivity and specificity of the quantitative PCR (qPCR) are negated by its inability to differentiate the DNAs from viable and dead cells. The combination of propidium monoazide (PMA), a DNA-intercalating dye, with qPCR assays is promising for detection of viable cells. Despite encouraging results, these assays still encounter various challenges, such as false-positive signals by dead cells and the lack of an internal control identifying these signals per sample. The significance of our research lies in enhancing the selective entrance of PMA into dead Campylobacter coli cells via spheroplasting and in developing an internal sample process control, thus delivering reliable results in pure cultures and meat samples, approaches that can be applicable to other Gram-negative pathogens.

KEYWORDS:

Campylobacter; EDTA; PMA-qPCR; lysozyme; spheroplast

PMID:
31420339
PMCID:
PMC6805072
[Available on 2020-04-01]
DOI:
10.1128/AEM.01499-19

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