METHODS: One hundred and eighty-seven clinical bacteria isolates were tested with commercial phenotypic identification systems and 16S rDNA sequencing. Isolate identities determined using phenotypic identification systems and 16S rDNA sequencing were compared for similarity at genus and species level, with 16S rDNA sequencing as the reference method.
RESULTS: Phenotypic identification systems identified ~46% (86/187) of the isolates with identity similar to that identified using 16S rDNA sequencing. Approximately 39% (73/187) and ~15% (28/187) of the isolates showed different genus identity and could not be identified using the phenotypic identification systems, respectively. Both methods succeeded in determining the species identities of 55 isolates; however, only ~69% (38/55) of the isolates matched at species level. 16S rDNA sequencing could not determine the species of ~20% (37/187) of the isolates.
CONCLUSION: The 16S rDNA sequencing is a useful method over the phenotypic identification systems for the identification of rare and difficult to identify bacteria species. The 16S rDNA sequencing method, however, does have limitation for species-level identification of some bacteria highlighting the need for better bacterial pathogen identification tools.
METHODS: A hydrolysis probe for a real-time PCR assay was designed to recognize a specific DNA sequence within the P. knowlesi small subunit ribosomal RNA gene. The sensitivity, linearity and specificity of the assay were determined using plasmids containing P. knowlesi DNA and genomic DNA of P. falciparum, P. knowlesi, P. malariae, P. ovale and P. vivax isolated from clinical samples. DNA samples of the simian malaria parasites Plasmodium cynomolgi and Plasmodium inui that can infect humans under experimental conditions were also examined together with human DNA samples.
RESULTS: Analytical sensitivity of the P. knowlesi-specific assay was 10 copies/μL and quantitation was linear over a range of 10-106 copies. The sensitivity of the assay is equivalent to nested PCR and P. knowlesi DNA was detected from all 40 clinical P. knowlesi specimens, including one from a patient with a parasitaemia of three parasites/μL of blood. No cross-reactivity was observed with 67 Plasmodium DNA samples (31 P. falciparum, 23 P. vivax, six P. ovale, three P. malariae, one P. malariae/P. ovale, one P. falciparum/P. malariae, one P. inui and one P. cynomolgi) and four samples of human DNA.
CONCLUSIONS: This test demonstrated excellent sensitivity and specificity, and adds P. knowlesi to the repertoire of Plasmodium targets for the clinical diagnosis of malaria by real-time PCR assays. Furthermore, quantitation of DNA copy number provides a useful advantage over other molecular assays to investigate the correlation between levels of infection and the spectrum of disease.