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1.  Combined rpoB duplex PCR and hsp65 PCR restriction fragment length polymorphism with capillary electrophoresis as an effective algorithm for identification of Mycobacterial species from clinical isolates 
BMC Microbiology  2012;12:137.
Background
Mycobacteria can be quickly and simply identified by PCR restriction-enzyme analysis (PRA), but misidentification can occur because of similarities in band sizes that are critical for discriminating among species. Capillary electrophoresis can provide computer-aided band discrimination. The aim of this research was to develop an algorithm for identifying mycobacteria by combined rpoB duplex PRA (DPRA) and hsp65 PRA with capillary electrophoresis.
Results
Three hundred and seventy-six acid-fast bacillus smear-positive BACTEC cultures, including 200 Mycobacterium tuberculosis complexes (MTC) and 176 non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) were analyzed. With combined hsp65 and rpoB DPRA, the accuracy rate was 100% (200 isolates) for the MTC and 91.4% (161 isolates) for the NTM. Among the discordant results (8.6%) for the NTM, one isolate of Mycobacterial species and an isolate of M. flavescens were found as new sub-types in hsp65 PRA.
Conclusions
This effective and novel identification algorithm using combined rpoB DPRA and hsp65 PRA with capillary electrophoresis can rapidly identify mycobacteria and find new sub-types in hsp65 PRA. In addition, it is complementary to 16 S rDNA sequencing.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-12-137
PMCID: PMC3511182  PMID: 22769981
rpoB duplex polymerase chain reaction; hsp65 restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis,Capillary electrophoresis
2.  Assessment of hypermucoviscosity as a virulence factor for experimental Klebsiella pneumoniae infections: comparative virulence analysis with hypermucoviscosity-negative strain 
BMC Microbiology  2011;11:50.
Background
Klebsiella pneumoniae displaying the hypermucoviscosity (HV) phenotype are considered more virulent than HV-negative strains. Nevertheless, the emergence of tissue-abscesses-associated HV-negative isolates motivated us to re-evaluate the role of HV-phenotype.
Results
Instead of genetically manipulating the HV-phenotype of K. pneumoniae, we selected two clinically isolated K1 strains, 1112 (HV-positive) and 1084 (HV-negative), to avoid possible interference from defects in the capsule. These well-encapsulated strains with similar genetic backgrounds were used for comparative analysis of bacterial virulence in a pneumoniae or a liver abscess model generated in either naïve or diabetic mice. In the pneumonia model, the HV-positive strain 1112 proliferated to higher loads in the lungs and blood of naïve mice, but was less prone to disseminate into the blood of diabetic mice compared to the HV-negative strain 1084. In the liver abscess model, 1084 was as potent as 1112 in inducing liver abscesses in both the naïve and diabetic mice. The 1084-infected diabetic mice were more inclined to develop bacteremia and had a higher mortality rate than those infected by 1112. A mini-Tn5 mutant of 1112, isolated due to its loss of HV-phenotype, was avirulent to mice.
Conclusion
These results indicate that the HV-phenotype is required for the virulence of the clinically isolated HV-positive strain 1112. The superior ability of the HV-negative stain 1084 over 1112 to cause bacteremia in diabetic mice suggests that factors other than the HV phenotype were required for the systemic dissemination of K. pneumoniae in an immunocompromised setting.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-11-50
PMCID: PMC3060850  PMID: 21385400
3.  Characterization of 13 multi-drug resistant Salmonella serovars from different broiler chickens associated with those of human isolates 
BMC Microbiology  2010;10:86.
Background
Salmonella are frequently isolated from chickens and their products. Prevalent serogroups and serovars of Salmonella as well as their genotypes and antibiograms were determined for cloacal samples from 1595 chickens. To understand the possible serovar and H antigens for transmission between chicken and human, serovars and their H antigens of 164 chicken and 5314 human isolates were compared.
Results
Prevalence of Salmonella differed among chicken lines and ages. Chicken and human isolates belonged mainly to serogroup B, C1, C2-C3, D, and E. 13 serovars and 66 serovars were identified for chicken and human isolates respectively. The common serovars for chicken and human isolates were S. Typhimurium, S. Enteritidis, S. Albany, S. Derby, and S. Anatum and shared common H1 antigens "g complex; i; e,h; and z4,z24" and H2 antigens "1 complex and -". In human isolates, H1 antigen "i" and H2 antigen "-" were common in all serogroups. In chicken, antimicrobial susceptibility differed among serogroups, serovars and three counties. All isolates were susceptible to cefazolin and ceftriaxone, but highly resistant to ampicillin, chloramphenicol, flumequine, streptomycin, sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim, and tetracycline. Except those isolates of serogroup C1 of Chick group and serogroup G, all isolates were multi-drug resistance. Only S. Kubacha, S. Typhimurium, S. Grampian, and S. Mons were resistant to ciprofloxacin and/or enrofloxacin.
Conclusion
In chicken, prevalent serogroups and serovars were associated with chicken ages, lines and regions; and flouroquinolone-resistant and MDR isolates emerged. H1 antigens "g complex and i" and H2 antigens "1 complex and -" might be important for transmission of Salmonella between chicken and human.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-10-86
PMCID: PMC2859872  PMID: 20307324
4.  Multilocus variable-number tandem repeat analysis for molecular typing and phylogenetic analysis of Shigella flexneri 
BMC Microbiology  2009;9:278.
Background
Shigella flexneri is one of the causative agents of shigellosis, a major cause of childhood mortality in developing countries. Multilocus variable-number tandem repeat (VNTR) analysis (MLVA) is a prominent subtyping method to resolve closely related bacterial isolates for investigation of disease outbreaks and provide information for establishing phylogenetic patterns among isolates. The present study aimed to develop an MLVA method for S. flexneri and the VNTR loci identified were tested on 242 S. flexneri isolates to evaluate their variability in various serotypes. The isolates were also analyzed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) to compare the discriminatory power and to evaluate the usefulness of MLVA as a tool for phylogenetic analysis of S. flexneri.
Results
Thirty-six VNTR loci were identified by exploring the repeat sequence loci in genomic sequences of Shigella species and by testing the loci on nine isolates of different subserotypes. The VNTR loci in different serotype groups differed greatly in their variability. The discriminatory power of an MLVA assay based on four most variable VNTR loci was higher, though not significantly, than PFGE for the total isolates, a panel of 2a isolates, which were relatively diverse, and a panel of 4a/Y isolates, which were closely-related. Phylogenetic groupings based on PFGE patterns and MLVA profiles were considerably concordant. The genetic relationships among the isolates were correlated with serotypes. The phylogenetic trees constructed using PFGE patterns and MLVA profiles presented two distinct clusters for the isolates of serotype 3 and one distinct cluster for each of the serotype groups, 1a/1b/NT, 2a/2b/X/NT, 4a/Y, and 6. Isolates that had different serotypes but had closer genetic relatedness than those with the same serotype were observed between serotype Y and subserotype 4a, serotype X and subserotype 2b, subserotype 1a and 1b, and subserotype 3a and 3b.
Conclusions
The 36 VNTR loci identified exhibited considerably different degrees of variability among S. flexneri serotype groups. VNTR locus could be highly variable in a serotype but invariable in others. MLVA assay based on four highly variable loci could display a comparable resolving power to PFGE in discriminating isolates. MLVA is also a prominent molecular tool for phylogenetic analysis of S. flexneri; the resulting data are beneficial to establish clear clonal patterns among different serotype groups and to discern clonal groups among isolates within the same serotype. As highly variable VNTR loci could be serotype-specific, a common MLVA protocol that consists of only a small set of loci, for example four to eight loci, and that provides high resolving power to all S. flexneri serotypes may not be obtainable.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-9-278
PMCID: PMC2806262  PMID: 20042119
5.  Clonal dissemination of the multi-drug resistant Salmonella enterica serovar Braenderup, but not the serovar Bareilly, of prevalent serogroup C1 Salmonella from Taiwan 
BMC Microbiology  2009;9:264.
Background
Nontyphoidal Salmonella is the main cause of human salmonellosis. In order to study the prevalent serogroups and serovars of clinical isolates in Taiwan, 8931 Salmonellae isolates were collected from 19 medical centers and district hospitals throughout the country from 2004 to 2007. The pulsed-field eletrophoresis types (PFGE) and antibiotic resistance profiles of Salmonella enterica serovars Bareilly (S. Bareilly) and Braenderup (S. Braenderup) were compared, and multi-drug resistance (MDR) plasmids were characterized.
Results
Over 95% of human salmonellosis in Taiwan was caused by five Salmonella serogroups: B, C1, C2-C3, D1, and E1. S. Typhymurium, S. Enteritidis, S. Stanley and S. Newport were the four most prevalent serovars, accounting for about 64% of isolates. While only one or two major serovars from four of the most prevalent serogroups were represented, four predominant serovars were found in serogroup C1 Salmonellae. The prevalence was decreasing for S. Choleraeuis and S. Braenderup, and S. Virchow and increasing for S. Bareilly. S. Braenderup mainly caused gastroenteritis in children; in contrast, S. Bareiley infected children and elderly people. Both serovars differed by XbaI-PFGE patterns. Almost all S. Bareilly isolates were susceptible to antibiotics of interest, while all lacked plasmids and belonged to one clone. Two distinct major clones in S. Braenderup were cluster A, mainly including MDR isolates with large MDR plasmid from North Taiwan, and cluster B, mainly containing susceptible isolates without R plasmid from South Taiwan. In cluster A, there were two types of conjugative R plasmids with sizes ranging from 75 to 130 kb. Type 1 plasmids consisted of replicons F1A/F1B, blaTEM, IS26, and a class 1 integron with the genes dfrA12-orfF-aadA2-qacEΔ1-sulI. Type 2 plasmids belonged to incompatibility group IncI, contained tnpA-blaCMY-2-blc-sugE genetic structures and lacked both IS26 and class 1 integrons. Although type 2 plasmids showed higher conjugation capability, type 1 plasmids were the predominant plasmid.
Conclusions
Serogroups B, C1, C2-C3, D1, and E1 of Salmonella caused over 95% of human salmonellosis. Two prevalent serovars within serogroup C1, S. Bareilly and cluster B of S. Braenderup, were clonal and drug-susceptible. However, cluster A of S. Braenderup was MDR and probably derived from susceptible isolates by acquiring one of two distinct conjugative R plasmids.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-9-264
PMCID: PMC2806260  PMID: 20017951
6.  Association of the shuffling of Streptococcus pyogenes clones and the fluctuation of scarlet fever cases between 2000 and 2006 in central Taiwan 
BMC Microbiology  2009;9:115.
Background
The number of scarlet fever occurrences reported between 2000 and 2006 fluctuated considerably in central Taiwan and throughout the nation. Isolates of Streptococcus pyogenes were collected from scarlet fever patients in central Taiwan and were characterized by emm sequencing and a standardized pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) method. National weekly report data were collected for investigating epidemiological trends.
Results
A total of 23 emm types were identified in 1,218 S. pyogenes isolates. The five most prevalent emm types were emm12 (50.4%), emm4 (23.2%), emm1 (16.4%), emm6 (3.8%) and emm22 (3.0%). PFGE analysis with SmaI suggested that, with a few exceptions, strains with a common emm type belonged to the same clone. There were two large emm12 clones, one with DNA resistant to cleavage by SmaI. Each prevalent emm clone had major PFGE strain(s) and many minor strains. Most of the minor strains emerged in the population and disappeared soon after. Even some major strains remained prevalent for only 2–3 years before declining. The large fluctuation of scarlet fever cases between 2000 and 2006 was associated with the shuffling of six prevalent emm clones. In 2003, the dramatic drop in scarlet fever cases in central Taiwan and throughout the whole country was associated with the occurrence of a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak that occurred between late-February and mid-June in Taiwan.
Conclusion
The occurrences of scarlet fever in central Taiwan in 2000–2006 were primarily caused by five emm types, which accounted for 96.8% of the isolates collected. Most of the S. pyogenes strains (as defined by PFGE genotypes) emerged and lasted for only a few years. The fluctuation in the number of scarlet fever cases during the seven years can be primarily attributed to the shuffling of six prevalent emm clones and to the SARS outbreak in 2003.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-9-115
PMCID: PMC2697166  PMID: 19486515
7.  Use of a multilocus variable-number tandem repeat analysis method for molecular subtyping and phylogenetic analysis of Neisseria meningitidis isolates 
BMC Microbiology  2006;6:44.
Background
The multilocus variable-number tandem repeat (VNTR) analysis (MLVA) technique has been developed for fine typing of many bacterial species. The genomic sequences of Neisseria meningitidis strains Z2491, MC58 and FAM18 have been available for searching potential VNTR loci by computer software. In this study, we developed and evaluated a MLVA method for molecular subtyping and phylogenetic analysis of N. meningitidis strains.
Results
A total of 12 VNTR loci were identified for subtyping and phylogenetic analysis of 100 N. meningitidis isolates, which had previously been characterized by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and multilocus sequence typing. The number of alleles ranges from 3 to 40 for the 12 VNTR loci; theoretically, the numbers of alleles can generate more than 5 × 1011 MLVA types. In total, 93 MLVA types were identified in the 100 isolates, indicating that MLVA is powerful in discriminating N. meningitidis strains. In phylogenetic analysis with the minimal spanning tree method, clonal relationships, established with MLVA types, agreed well with those built with ST types.
Conclusion
Our study indicates that the MLVA method has a higher degree of resolution than PFGE in discriminating N. meningitidis isolates and may be a useful tool for phylogenetic studies of strains evolving over different time scales.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-6-44
PMCID: PMC1481605  PMID: 16686962

Results 1-7 (7)