We evaluated the efficacy of multilocus sequence typing (MLST) for assessing the genetic relationship among Candida albicans isolates from patients with candidemia in a hospital setting.
A total of 45 C. albicans isolates from 21 patients with candidemia were analyzed. The MLST results were compared with results obtained by Southern blot hybridization (C1 fingerprinting) and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). PFGE analysis included karyotyping and restriction endonuclease analysis of genomic DNAs using BssHII (REAG-B) and SfiI (REAG-S).
The 45 isolates yielded 20 unique diploid sequence types (DSTs) by MLST, as well as 12 karyotypes, 15 REAG-B patterns, 13 REAG-S patterns, and 14 C1 fingerprinting types. Microevolution among intra-individual isolates was detected in 6, 5, 3, 5, and 7 sets of isolates by MLST (1 or 2 allelic differences), REAG-B, REAG-S, C1 fingerprinting, and a combination of all methods, respectively. Among 20 DSTs, 17 were unique, and 3 were found in more than 1 patient. The results of 2 DSTs obtained from 9 patient isolates were in agreement with REAG and C1 fingerprinting patterns. However, the remaining DST, which was shared by 2 patient isolates, showed 2 different PFGE and C1 fingerprinting patterns. In addition, 3 sets of isolates from different patients, which differed in only 1 or 2 alleles by MLST, also exhibited different PFGE or C1 fingerprinting patterns.
MLST is highly discriminating among C. albicans isolates, but it may have some limitations in typing isolates from different patients, which may necessitate additional analysis using other techniques.