Immunomagnetic bead separation coupled with bead beating and real-time PCR was found to be a very effective procedure for the isolation, separation, and detection of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis from milk and/or fecal samples from cattle and American bison. Samples were spiked with M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis organisms, which bound to immunomagnetic beads and were subsequently lysed by bead beating; then protein and cellular contaminants were removed by phenol-chloroform-isopropanol extraction prior to DNA precipitation. DNA purified by this sequence of procedures was then analyzed by conventional and real-time IS900-based PCR in order to detect M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis in feces and milk. By use of this simple and rapid technique, 10 or fewer M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis organisms were consistently detected in milk (2-ml) and fecal (200-mg) samples, making this sensitive procedure very useful and cost-effective for the diagnosis of clinical and subclinical Johne's disease (paratuberculosis) compared to bacteriological culture, which is constrained by time, labor, and expense under diagnostic laboratory conditions.
A light cycler-based real-time PCR (LC-PCR) assay that amplifies the F57 sequence of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis was developed. This assay also includes an internal amplification control template to monitor the amplification conditions in each reaction. The targeted F57 sequence element is unique for M.avium subsp. paratuberculosis and is not known to exist in any other bacterial species. The assay specificity was demonstrated by evaluation of 10 known M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis isolates and 33 other bacterial strains. The LC-PCR assay has a broad linear range (2 × 101 to 2 ×106 copies) for quantitative estimation of the number of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis F57 target copies in positive samples. To maximize the assay's detection sensitivity, an efficient strategy for isolation of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis DNA from spiked milk samples was also developed. The integrated procedure combining optimal M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis DNA isolation and real-time PCR detection had a reproducible detection limit of about 10 M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis cells per ml when a starting sample volume of 10 ml of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-spiked milk was analyzed. The entire process can be completed within a single working day and is suitable for routine monitoring of milk samples for M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis contamination. The applicability of this protocol for naturally contaminated milk was also demonstrated using milk samples from symptomatic M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-infected cows, as well as pooled samples from a dairy herd with a confirmed history of paratuberculosis.
This study describes the development of a nested PCR assay that uses a unique element (ISMap02) for Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis that is present at six copies within the genome. In addition, the sensitivity of the assay with this element was compared to the sensitivity of detection of the IS900 element in both conventional and real-time PCR assays. The specificity of the ISMap02 element was evaluated by PCR of the DNA extracted from isolates of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis and M. avium subsp. avium, as well as DNA from M. fortuitum, M. scofulaceum, M. phlei, M. smegmatis, and M. gordonae. Only M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis DNA was detectable after amplification with the ISMap02 primers. The sensitivity of detection for the ISMap02 element in either a conventional or a real-time PCR format was less than 100 fg DNA or 102 CFU/ml in serial titration curves with pure bacteria. These results were comparable to those obtained for the IS900 element. Experimental spiking of a negative fecal sample followed by M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis DNA extraction resulted in detection thresholds of 102 CFU/g for the IS900 element and 103 CFU/g for the ISMap02 element by using a real-time PCR format, but this sensitivity dropped 10-fold for both elements in a conventional PCR format. Analyses of fecal samples obtained from naturally infected animals demonstrated a sensitivity for the detection of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis DNA by use of the ISMap02 element similar to that achieved by use of the IS900 element when it was used in a conventional PCR format. The real-time PCR format improved the levels of detection of both elements, but not to a significant degree. In conclusion, the ISMap02 element provides a very sensitive and specific alternative as a diagnostic reagent for use in PCR assays for the detection of paratuberculosis.
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) is the etiological agent of paratuberculosis (Johne's disease) in ruminants and is suggested to be one of the etiologic factors in Crohn's disease in humans. Contaminated milk might expose humans to that pathogen. The aim of the present study was to develop a novel real-time PCR assay providing the additional possibility to detect viable Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) based on the MAP-specific Mptb52.16 target. The design included an internal amplification control to identify false negative results.
Inclusivity and exclusivity tested on 10 MAP strains, 22 non-MAP mycobacteria, and 16 raw milk microflora strains achieved 100%. The detection limit in artificially contaminated raw milk was 2.42 × 101 MAP cells/ml milk. In a survey of naturally contaminated samples obtained from dairy herds with a known history of paratuberculosis, 47.8% pre-milk and 51.9% main milk samples tested positive. Real-time PCR-derived MAP-specific bacterial cell equivalents (bce) ranged from 1 × 100 to 5.1 × 102 bce/51 ml; the majority of samples had less than one bce per ml milk. Expression of the chosen target was detected in artificially contaminated raw milk as well as inoculated Dubos broth, thus confirming the real-time PCR assay's potential to detect viable MAP cells.
Concentrating the DNA of a large sample volume in combination with the newly developed real-time PCR assay permitted quantification of low levels of MAP cells in raw milk and pasteurized milk. The selected target - Mptb52.16 - is promising with regard to the detection of viable MAP. Future studies integrating quantitative DNA- and RNA-based data might provide important information for risk assessment concerning the presence of MAP in raw milk and pasteurized milk.
In this study, products from all steps of anaerobic digestion at a farm-scale biogas plant supplied with manure from paratuberculosis-affected dairy cattle were examined and quantified for the presence of the causal agent of paratuberculosis, Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, using culture and quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR). Viable M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis cells were detected using culture in fermentors for up to 2 months; the presence of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis DNA (101 cells/g) was demonstrated in all anaerobic fermentors and digestate 16 months after initiation of work at a biogas plant, using IS900 qPCR. F57 qPCR was able to detect M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis DNA (102 cells/g) at up to 12 months. According to these results, a fermentation process that extended beyond 2 months removed all viable M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis cells and therefore rendered its product M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis free. However, M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis DNA was found during all the examined periods (more than 1 year), which could be explained by either residual DNA being released from dead cells or by the presence of viable cells whose amount was under the limit of cultivability. As the latter hypothesis cannot be excluded, the safety of the final products of digestion used for fertilization or animal bedding cannot be defined, and further investigation is necessary to confirm or refute this risk.
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis is the causative agent of Johne's disease (JD) in cattle and may be associated with Crohn's disease (CD) in humans. It is the slowest growing of the cultivable mycobacteria, and culture from clinical, veterinary, food, or environmental specimens can take 4 months or even longer. Currently, the insertion element IS900 is used to detect M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis DNA. However, closely related IS900 elements are also present in other mycobacteria, thus limiting its specificity as a target. Here we describe the use of novel primer sets derived from the sequences of two highly specific single copy genes, MAP2765c and MAP0865, for the quantitative detection of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis within 6 h by using real-time PCR. Specificity of the target was established using 40 M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis isolates, 67 different bacterial species, and two intestinal parasites. Using the probes and methods described, we detected 27 (2.09%) M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-positive stool specimens from 1,293 individual stool samples by the use of either IS900 or probes deriving from the MAP2765c and MAP0865 genes described here. In general, bacterial load due to M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis was uniformly low in these samples and we estimated 500 to 5,000 M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis bacteria per gram of stool in assay-positive samples. Thus, the methods described here are useful for rapid and specific detection of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis in clinical samples.
This paper describes the evaluation of a newly developed DNA probe for Mycobacterium paratuberculosis. DNA probe PCR278 is a 278 bp fragment obtained by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of the 5'-region of IS900, an insertion element contained in the genome of M paratuberculosis. This DNA probe can specifically distinguish M paratuberculosis from a wide range of other organisms, including members of the M avium-M intracellulare complex. When used in conjunction with the PCR amplification technique DNA probe PCR278 could detect as little as 10 fg (equivalent to two genomes) starting material of M paratuberculosis genomic DNA. Use of PCR amplification assays based on IS900, for the detection of M paratuberculosis, and homologous IS elements found in disease isolates of M avium should greatly help our understanding of the role of these organisms in Crohn's disease and other chronic inflammatory disorders.
Johne’s disease is caused by Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (Map) and it is one of the most important diseases in cattle worldwide. Several laboratory tests for Map detection are available; however, these are limited by inadequate sensitivity and specificity when used in subclinically infected populations. To identify Map shedders in subclinically infected cattle, we used a new, high-yield method for DNA-extraction from Map in faeces combined with quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) for amplification of the insertion sequence IS900 of Map (HYDEqPCR). Evaluation of HYDEqPCR was carried out in comparison with faecal culture, milk qPCR, and milk enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), on 141 faecal and 91 milk samples, from 141 subclinically infected dairy cattle.
The qPCR proved to be highly sensitive, with a detection limit of 2 IS900 DNA copies/μl in 67 % of the reactions. It also showed 100 % specificity, as determined from 50 Map and non-Map strains, and by the sequencing of qPCR amplicons. The detection limit of HYDEqPCR was 90 Map/g Map-spiked faeces, which corresponds to 2.4 colony forming units/g Map-spiked faeces, with an estimated efficiency of 85 % (±21 %). When tested on the field samples, HYDEqPCR showed 89 % of the samples as positive for Map, whereas faecal culture, milk qPCR, and milk ELISA detected 19 %, 36 % and 1 %, respectively. Fisher’s exact tests only show statistical significance (p ≤0.05) for the correlation between HYDEqPCR and faecal culture. The agreement between HYDEqPCR and milk qPCR and milk ELISA was poor, slight, and non-significant.
This study highlights the advantages of HYDEqPCR for detection of Map in subclinically infected populations, in comparison with faecal culture, milk qPCR and milk ELISA. HYDEqPCR can detect low-level Map shedders that go undetected using these other methods, which will thus underestimate the proportions of Map-shedders in herds. Identification of these shedding animals is extremely important for prevention of the spread of Map infection in an animal population. Due to the relatively high sensitivity and specificity of HYDEqPCR, it can be applied to test for Map at the herd or individual level, regardless of animal age or production stage. HYDEqPCR will allow early detection and control of Map in any population at risk.
The FASTPlaqueTB assay is an established diagnostic aid for the rapid detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from human sputum samples. Using the FASTPlaqueTB assay reagents, viable Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis cells were detected as phage plaques in just 24 h. The bacteriophage used does not infect M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis alone, so to add specificity to this assay, a PCR-based identification method was introduced to amplify M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-specific sequences from the DNA of the mycobacterial cell detected by the phage. To give further diagnostic information, a multiplex PCR method was developed to allow simultaneous amplification of either M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis or M. tuberculosis complex-specific sequences from plaque samples. Combining the plaque PCR technique with the phage-based detection assay allowed the rapid and specific detection of viable M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis in milk samples in just 48 h.
The etiological agent of Johne's disease is Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis. Controlling the spread of this disease is hindered by the lack of sensitive, selective, and rapid detection methods for M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis. By using a recently optimized sandwich immunoassay (B. J. Yakes, R. J. Lipert, J. P. Bannantine, and M. D. Porter, Clin. Vaccine Immunol. 15:227-234, 2008), which incorporates a new monoclonal antibody for the selective capture and labeling of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis and surface-enhanced Raman scattering for sensitive readout, detection limits of ∼630 and ∼740 M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis cells/ml are achieved in phosphate-buffered saline and whole milk samples, respectively, after spiking with heat-treated M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis. Surprisingly, these detection limits are 3 orders of magnitude lower than expected based on theoretical predictions. Experiments designed to determine the origin of the improvement revealed that the major membrane protein targeted by the monoclonal antibody was present in the sample suspensions as shed protein. This finding indicates that the capture and labeling of shed protein function as a facile amplification strategy for lowering the limit of detection for M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis that may also be applicable to the design of a wide range of highly sensitive assays for other cells and viruses.
Here, we present for the first time a high-affinity peptide nucleic acid (PNA) oligonucleotide sequence for detecting Mycobacterium avium bacteria, including the opportunistically pathogenic subspecies M. avium subsp. avium, M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis, and M. avium subsp. silvaticum, by the fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) method. There is evidence that M. avium subsp. avium especially is able to survive and grow in drinking-water biofilms and possibly transmit via drinking water. The designed PNA probe (MAV148) specificity was tested with several bacterial species, including other mycobacteria and mycolic acid-containing bacteria. From the range of bacterial strains tested, only M. avium subsp. avium and M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis strains were hybridized. The PNA FISH method was applied successfully to detect M. avium subsp. avium spiked in water samples and biofilm established within a Propella biofilm reactor fed with potable water from a distribution supply.
Ninety-six primer sets were used for amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) to characterize the genomes of 20 Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis field isolates, 1 American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis isolate (ATCC 19698), and 2 M. avium subsp. avium isolates (ATCC 35716 and Mac 104). AFLP analysis revealed a high degree of genomic polymorphism among M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis isolates that may be used to establish diagnostic patterns useful for the epidemiological tracking of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis isolates. Four M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-polymorphic regions revealed by AFLP were cloned and sequenced. Primers were generated internal to these regions for use in PCR analysis and applied to the M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis field isolates. An appropriate PCR product was obtained in 79 of 80 reactions, while the M. avium subsp. avium isolates failed to act as templates for PCR amplification in seven of eight reactions. This work revealed the presence of extensive polymorphisms in the genomes of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis and M. avium subsp. avium, many of which are based on deletions. Of the M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-specific sequences studied, one revealed a 5,145-bp region with no homologue in the M. avium subsp. avium genome. Within this region are genes responsible for integrase-recombinase function. Three additional M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-polymorphic regions were cloned, revealing a number of housekeeping genes; all were evaluated for their diagnostic and epidemiological value.
The objectives of this study were to understand the molecular diversity of animal and human strains of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis isolated in the United States and to identify M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-specific diagnostic molecular markers to aid in disease detection, prevention, and control. Multiplex PCR of IS900 integration loci (MPIL) and amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analyses were used to fingerprint M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis isolates recovered from animals (n = 203) and patients with Crohn's disease (n = 7) from diverse geographic localities. Six hundred bacterial cultures, including M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis (n = 303), non-M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis mycobacteria (n = 129), and other nonmycobacterial species (n = 168), were analyzed to evaluate the specificity of two IS900 integration loci and a newly described M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-specific sequence (locus 251) as potential targets for the diagnosis of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis. MPIL fingerprint analysis revealed that 78% of bovine origin M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis isolates clustered together into a major node, whereas isolates from human and ovine sources showed greater genetic diversity. MPIL analysis also showed that the M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis isolates from ovine and bovine sources from the same state were more closely associated than were isolates from different geographic regions, suggesting that some of the strains are shared between these ruminant species. AFLP fingerprinting revealed a similar pattern, with most isolates from bovine sources clustering into two major nodes, while those recovered from sheep or humans were clustered on distinct branches. Overall, this study identified a high degree of genetic similarity between M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis strains recovered from cows regardless of geographic origin. Further, the results of our analyses reveal a relatively higher degree of genetic heterogeneity among M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis isolates recovered from human and ovine sources.
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis has been incriminated as a cause of Crohn's disease (CD); however, studies to date have been relatively small and generally only used a single diagnostic assay. The objective of the study was to reexamine the association of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis and CD using multiple diagnostic tests. Five methods were used to detect M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis infections in 439 inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients and 324 control subjects in the United States and Denmark. Most assays were adaptations of diagnostic tests for this infection performed routinely on animals. PCR for IS900, a genetic element unique to M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis, was positive significantly more often on resected bowel and lymph node tissues from CD patients (19.0%) and ulcerative colitis (UC) patients (26.2%) than from controls (6.3%) (P < 0.05). Positive IS900 PCR results occurred more often in U.S. than in Danish IBD patients, 32.0 versus 13.3% (P = 0.025). The majority of Danish patients were bacillus Calmette-Guérin (Mycobacterium bovis BCG) vaccinated (CD, 77.5%; UC, 86.6%; controls, 83.0%) whereas none of the U.S. patients with IBD and only 2% of U.S. controls were vaccinated. Among Danish IBD patients, positive PCR findings were four times more common among subjects who were not BCG vaccinated (33.3%) than among BCG vaccinates (8.8%, P = 0.02). Culture of the same tissues tested by PCR using modified BACTEC 12B medium failed to grow M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis from patients or controls. U.S. CD patients had the highest serological evidence (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [ELISA] for serum antibodies) of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis infection (20.7% of patients positive) which was higher than for all UC patients studied (6.1%) or healthy controls (3.8%, P < 0.005). Among Danish patients alone, however, no significant differences in rates of ELISA-positive results among CD, UC, or control patients were found. For 181 study subjects, both IS900 PCR and ELISA were performed. Although 11 were ELISA positive and 36 were PCR positive, in no instance was a patient positive by both tests, suggesting that these states are mutually exclusive. Evaluation of cytokine-mediated immune responses of IBD patients was complicated by the influence of immunosuppressive therapy given most IBD patients. Gamma interferon (IFN-γ) release by peripheral blood leukocytes after M. avium purified protein derivative PPD antigen stimulation showed significantly lower responses in CD patients than in UC patients or controls in both U.S. (by ex vivo assay) and Danish (by in vitro assay) populations (P < 0.05). Interleukin-5 responses were not different among CD, UC, or control groups. Collectively, the PCR, ELISA, and IFN-γ tests for M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis together with the unexpected observation that BCG vaccination influenced M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis detection, lead us to conclude that M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis, or some similarly fastidious mycobacterial species, infects at least a subset of IBD patients. Whether the infection is primary (causal) or secondary, it may contribute to the etiopathogenesis of IBD.
In the present study, a robust TaqMan real-time PCR amplifying the F57 and the ISMav2 sequences of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis from bovine fecal samples was developed and validated. The validation was based on the recommendations of International Organization for Standardization protocols for PCR and real-time PCR methods. For specificity testing, 205 bacterial strains were selected, including 105 M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis strains of bovine, ovine, and human origin and 100 non-M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis strains. Diagnostic quality assurance was obtained by use of an internal amplification control. By investigating six TaqMan reagents from different suppliers, the 100% detection probability was assessed to be 0.1 picogram M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis DNA per PCR. The amplification efficiency was 98.2% for the single-copy gene F57 and 97.8% for the three-copy insertion sequence ISMav2. The analytical method was not limited due to instrument specificity. The triplex real-time PCR allowed the reliable detection of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis DNA using the ABI Prism 7000 sequence detection system, and the LightCycler 1.0. TaqManmgb and locked nucleic acid fluorogenic probes were suitable for fluorescent signal detection. To improve the detection of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis from bovine fecal samples, a more efficient DNA extraction method was developed, which offers the potential for automated sample processing. The 70% limit of detection was assessed to be 102 CFU per gram of spiked bovine feces. Comparative analysis of 108 naturally contaminated samples of unknown M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis status resulted in a relative accuracy of 98.9% and a sensitivity of 94.4% for fecal samples containing <10 CFU/g feces compared to the traditional culture method.
A combination of representational difference analysis and comparative DNA sequencing revealed that four type I (sheep) isolates of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis were differentiated from nine type II (bovine) isolates by the presence of an 11-bp insertion in a novel M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-specific region of genomic DNA. Further, our studies show that M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis type I isolates contain three type-specific loci that are missing in M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis type II but are present in M. avium subsp. avium. Taken together, the results are consistent with the hypothesis that M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis type I strains are an evolutionary intermediate between M. avium subsp. avium and M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis type II isolates or share a subset of M. avium subsp. avium type-specific loci through horizontal transfer.
Thermal inactivation experiments were carried out to assess the utility of a recently optimized phage amplification assay to accurately enumerate viable Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis cells in milk. Ultra-heat-treated (UHT) whole milk was spiked with large numbers of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis organisms (106 to 107 CFU/ml) and dispensed in 100-μl aliquots in thin-walled 200-μl PCR tubes. A Primus 96 advanced thermal cycler (Peqlab, Erlangen, Germany) was used to achieve the following time and temperature treatments: (i) 63°C for 3, 6, and 9 min; (ii) 68°C for 20, 40, and 60 s; and (iii) 72°C for 5, 10, 15, and 25 s. After thermal stress, the number of surviving M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis cells was assessed by both phage amplification assay and culture on Herrold's egg yolk medium (HEYM). A high correlation between PFU/ml and CFU/ml counts was observed for both unheated (r2 = 0.943) and heated (r2 = 0.971) M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis cells. D and z values obtained using the two types of counts were not significantly different (P > 0.05). The D68°C, mean D63°C, and D72°C for four M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis strains were 81.8, 9.8, and 4.2 s, respectively, yielding a mean z value of 6.9°C. Complete inactivation of 106 to 107 CFU of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis/ml milk was not observed for any of the time-temperature combinations studied; 5.2- to 6.6-log10 reductions in numbers were achieved depending on the temperature and time. Nonlinear thermal inactivation kinetics were consistently observed for this bacterium. This study confirms that the optimized phage assay can be employed in place of conventional culture on HEYM to speed up the acquisition of results (48 h instead of a minimum of 6 weeks) for inactivation experiments involving M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-spiked samples.
A high-throughput TaqMan PCR assay for detection of bovine paratuberculosis was evaluated by using fecal samples from 1,808 dairy cattle in seven naturally infected herds and 347 dairy cattle in seven herds considered free of paratuberculosis. Fecal, blood, and milk samples were submitted to laboratories where the PCR-based assay, three different fecal culture procedures for Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (centrifugation, sedimentation, and the BACTEC filter concentration method), two serologic enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs), and one milk ELISA were performed. Results from testing of dairy cattle in herds free of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis showed that the PCR assay's specificity was 99.7%. Twenty-three percent of the dairy cows that were fecal culture positive by at least one of the three methods were positive by the PCR assay. By Bayesian non-“gold standard” analysis methods, the TaqMan PCR assay had a higher specificity than the serum ELISAs (99.3%; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 98.6 to 99.7%) and a test sensitivity similar to that of the serum ELISAs (29%; 95% CI = 24 to 35%). By classical methods, the estimated relative sensitivity of the fecal PCR assay was 4% for light and moderate fecal shedders (compared to 12 to 13% for the ELISAs) and 76% for heavy fecal shedders (compared to 67% for the milk ELISA). The PCR assay has higher sensitivity for detection of heavy fecal shedders than the evaluated milk ELISA but lower sensitivity than a serum or milk ELISA for detection of light and moderate fecal shedders. This assay can be used as a quick test for detection of cattle with heavy fecal shedding, those cattle with the highest risk of transmitting infection to susceptible cattle.
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis is a robust and phenotypically versatile pathogen which causes chronic inflammation of the intestine in many species, including primates. M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis infection is widespread in domestic livestock and is present in retail pasteurized cows' milk in the United Kingdom and, potentially, elsewhere. Water supplies are also at risk. The involvement of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis in Crohn's disease (CD) in humans has been uncertain because of the substantial difficulties in detecting this pathogen. In its Ziehl-Neelsen staining-negative form, M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis is highly resistant to chemical and enzymatic lysis. The present study describes the development of optimized sample processing and DNA extraction procedures with fresh human intestinal mucosal biopsy specimens which ensure access to M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis DNA and maximize detection of these low-abundance pathogens. Also described are two nested PCR methodologies targeted at IS900, designated IS900[L/AV] and IS900[TJ1-4], which are uniquely specific for IS900. Detection of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis in mucosal biopsy specimens was also evaluated by using mycobacterial growth indicator tube (MGIT) cultures (Becton Dickinson). IS900[L/AV] PCR detected M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis in 34 of 37 (92%) patients with CD and in 9 of 34 (26%) controls without CD (noninflammatory bowel disease [nIBD] controls) (P = 0.0002; odds ratio = 3.47). M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis was detected by IS900[L/AV] PCR in MGIT cultures after 14 to 88 weeks of incubation in 14 of 33 (42%) CD patients and 3 of 33 (9%) nIBD controls (P = 0.0019; odds ratio = 4.66). Nine of 15 (60%) MGIT cultures of specimens from CD patients incubated for more than 38 weeks were positive for M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis. In each case the identity of IS900 from M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis was verified by amplicon sequencing. The rate of detection of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis in individuals with CD is highly significant and implicates this chronic enteric pathogen in disease causation.
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis is genetically similar to other members of the Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC), some of which are nonpathogenic and widespread in the environment. We have utilized an M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis whole-genome microarray representing over 95% of the predicted coding sequences to examine the genetic conservation among 10 M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis isolates, two isolates each of Mycobacterium avium subsp. silvaticum and Mycobacterium avium subsp. avium, and a single isolate each of both Mycobacterium intracellulare and Mycobacterium smegmatis. Genomic DNA from each isolate was competitively hybridized with DNA from M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis K10, and open reading frames (ORFs) were classified as present, divergent, or intermediate. None of the M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis isolates had ORFs classified as divergent. The two M. avium subsp. avium isolates had 210 and 135 divergent ORFs, while the two M. avium subsp. silvaticum isolates examined had 77 and 103 divergent ORFs. Similarly, 130 divergent ORFs were identified in M. intracellulare. A set of 97 ORFs were classified as divergent or intermediate in all of the nonparatuberculosis MAC isolates tested. Many of these ORFs are clustered together on the genome in regions with relatively low average GC content compared with the entire genome and contain mobile genetic elements. One of these regions of sequence divergence contained genes homologous to a mammalian cell entry (mce) operon. Our results indicate that closely related MAC mycobacteria can be distinguished from M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis by multiple clusters of divergent ORFs.
A peptide-mediated capture PCR for the detection of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis in bulk milk samples was developed and characterized. Capture of the organism was performed using peptide aMptD, which had been shown to bind to the M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis MptD protein (J. Stratmann, B. Strommenger, R. Goethe, K. Dohmann, G. F. Gerlach, K. Stevenson, L. L. Li, Q. Zhang, V. Kapur, and T. J. Bull, Infect. Immun. 72:1265-1274, 2004). Consistent expression of the MptD receptor protein and binding of the aMptD ligand were demonstrated by capturing different Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis type I and type II strains and subsequent PCR analysis using ISMav2-based primers. The analytical sensitivity of the method was determined to be 5 × 102 CFU ml−1 for artificially contaminated milk. The specificity of aMptD binding was confirmed by culture and competitive capture assays, showing selective enrichment of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis (at a concentration of 5 × 102 CFU ml−1) from samples containing 100- and 1,000-fold excesses of other mycobacterial species, including M. avium subsp. avium and M. avium subsp. hominissuis. The aMptD-mediated capture of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis using paramagnetic beads, followed by culture, demonstrated the ability of this approach to capture viable target cells present in artificially contaminated milk. Surface plasmon resonance experiments revealed that the aMptD peptide is a high-affinity ligand with a calculated association rate constant of 9.28 × 103 and an association constant of 1.33 × 109. The potential use of the method on untreated raw milk in the field was investigated by testing 423 bulk milk samples obtained from different dairy farms in Germany, 23 of which tested positive. Taken together, the results imply that the peptide-mediated capture PCR might present a suitable test for paratuberculosis screening of dairy herds, as it has an analytical sensitivity sufficient for detection of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis in bulk milk samples under field conditions, relies on a defined and validated ligand-receptor interaction, and is adaptable to routine diagnostic laboratory automation.
Raw milk was artificially contaminated with declumped cells of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis at a concentration of 104 to 105 CFU/ml and was used to manufacture model hard (Swiss Emmentaler) and semihard (Swiss Tisliter) cheese. Two different strains of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis were tested, and for each strain, two model hard and semihard cheeses were produced. The survival of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis cells was monitored over a ripening period of 120 days by plating out homogenized cheese samples onto 7H10-PANTA agar. In both the hard and the semihard cheeses, counts decreased steadily but slowly during cheese ripening. Nevertheless, viable cells could still be detected in 120-day cheese. D values were calculated at 27.8 days for hard and 45.5 days for semihard cheese. The most important factors responsible for the death of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis in cheese were the temperatures applied during cheese manufacture and the low pH at the early stages of cheese ripening. Since the ripening period for these raw milk cheeses lasts at least 90 to 120 days, the D values found indicate that 103 to 104 cells of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis per g will be inactivated.
The effect of various pasteurization time-temperature conditions with and without homogenization on the viability of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis was investigated using a pilot-scale commercial high-temperature, short-time (HTST) pasteurizer and raw milk spiked with 101 to 105 M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis cells/ml. Viable M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis was cultured from 27 (3.3%) of 816 pasteurized milk samples overall, 5 on Herrold's egg yolk medium and 22 by BACTEC culture. Therefore, in 96.7% of samples, M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis had been completely inactivated by HTST pasteurization, alone or in combination with homogenization. Heat treatments incorporating homogenization at 2,500 lb/in2, applied upstream (as a separate process) or in hold (at the start of a holding section), resulted in significantly fewer culture-positive samples than pasteurization treatments without homogenization (P < 0.001 for those in hold and P < 0.05 for those upstream). Where colony counts were obtained, the number of surviving M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis cells was estimated to be 10 to 20 CFU/150 ml, and the reduction in numbers achieved by HTST pasteurization with or without homogenization was estimated to be 4.0 to 5.2 log10. The impact of homogenization on clump size distribution in M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis broth suspensions was subsequently assessed using a Mastersizer X spectrometer. These experiments demonstrated that large clumps of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis cells were reduced to single-cell or “miniclump” status by homogenization at 2,500 lb/in2. Consequently, when HTST pasteurization was being applied to homogenized milk, the M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis cells would have been present as predominantly declumped cells, which may possibly explain the greater inactivation achieved by the combination of pasteurization and homogenization.
Attachment of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis to soil particles could increase their availability to farm animals, as well as influence the transportation of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis to water sources. To investigate the possibility of such attachment, we passed a known quantity of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis through chromatography columns packed with clay soil, sandy soil, pure silica, clay-silica mixture, or clay-silica complexes and measured the organisms recovered in the eluent using culture or quantitative PCR. Experiments were repeated using buffer at a range of pH levels with pure silica to investigate the effect of pH on M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis attachment. Linear mixed-model analyses were conducted to compare the proportional recovery of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis in the eluent between different substrates and pH levels. Of the organisms added to the columns, 83 to 100% were estimated to be retained in the columns after adjustment for those retained in empty control columns. The proportions recovered were significantly different across different substrates, with the retention being significantly greater (P < 0.05) in pure substrates (silica and clay-silica complexes) than in soil substrates (clay soil and sandy soil). However, there were no significant differences in the retention of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis between silica and clay-silica complexes or between clay soil and sandy soil. The proportion retained decreased with increasing pH in one of the experiments, indicating greater adsorption of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis to soil particles at an acidic pH (P < 0.05). The results suggest that under experimental conditions M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis adsorbs to a range of soil particles, and this attachment is influenced by soil pH.
Background and aims: The uncertainty surrounding the role of Mycobacterium avium subsp paratuberculosis (Map) in Crohn’s disease has been compounded by possible contamination from Map present in the lumen microflora. This study used laser capture microdissection (LCM) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to detect Map DNA in subepithelial granulomas, isolated from 15 surgically resected, formalin fixed specimens of granulomatous Crohn’s disease and from 12 granulomatous disease controls (10 bowel, 2 non-bowel).
Methods: The effect of amplicon size on reliability of PCR from formalin fixed samples was examined by amplifying 435 bp and 133 bp sequences of the human APC gene. After this, nested primers were designed to detect a small fragment (155 bp) of the Map specific IS900 gene in Crohn’s granulomas. LCM isolated granulomas from Map culture positive bovine intestine was used as positive control. PCR product specificity was confirmed by direct DNA sequencing.
Results: The smaller, but not the larger, fragment of the APC gene amplified reliably in all samples. Amplification of the 155 bp fragment of the IS900 gene detected Map DNA in microdissected Crohn’s granulomas in 6 of 15 cases, and in 0 of 12 disease control granulomas.
Conclusions: LCM can be used to detect Map DNA in granulomas in a proportion of patients with Crohn’s disease. However, formalin fixation requires that comparatively short DNA fragments of the Map specific IS900 gene be targeted, to permit consistent detection. Detection of Map DNA within granulomas might suggest an infectious aetiology in a subset of patients; alternatively, a transmissible agent may not be involved but mycobacterial DNA may influence pathogenesis by modifying the local cytokine responses.
Crohn’s disease; paratuberculosis; polymerase chain reaction; laser capture microdissection