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1.  A multi locus variable number of tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) scheme for Streptococcus agalactiae genotyping 
BMC Microbiology  2011;11:171.
Background
Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) is currently the reference method for genotyping Streptococcus agalactiae strains, the leading cause of infectious disease in newborns and a major cause of disease in immunocompromised children and adults. We describe here a genotyping method based on multiple locus variable number of tandem repeat (VNTR) analysis (MLVA) applied to a population of S. agalactiae strains of various origins characterized by MLST and serotyping.
Results
We studied a collection of 186 strains isolated from humans and cattle and three reference strains (A909, NEM316 and 2603 V/R). Among 34 VNTRs, 6 polymorphic VNTRs loci were selected for use in genotyping of the bacterial population. The MLVA profile consists of a series of allele numbers, corresponding to the number of repeats at each VNTR locus. 98 MLVA genotypes were obtained compared to 51 sequences types generated by MLST. The MLVA scheme generated clusters which corresponded well to the main clonal complexes obtained by MLST. However it provided a higher discriminatory power. The diversity index obtained with MLVA was 0.960 compared to 0.881 with MLST for this population of strains.
Conclusions
The MLVA scheme proposed here is a rapid, cheap and easy genotyping method generating results suitable for exchange and comparison between different laboratories and for the epidemiologic surveillance of S. agalactiae and analyses of outbreaks.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-11-171
PMCID: PMC3163538  PMID: 21794143
2.  Multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis for molecular typing of Aspergillus fumigatus 
BMC Microbiology  2010;10:315.
Background
Multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat (VNTR) analysis (MLVA) is a prominent subtyping method to resolve closely related microbial isolates to provide information for establishing genetic patterns among isolates and to investigate disease outbreaks. The usefulness of MLVA was recently demonstrated for the avian major pathogen Chlamydophila psittaci. In the present study, we developed a similar method for another pathogen of birds: the filamentous fungus Aspergillus fumigatus.
Results
We selected 10 VNTR markers located on 4 different chromosomes (1, 5, 6 and 8) of A. fumigatus. These markers were tested with 57 unrelated isolates from different hosts or their environment (53 isolates from avian species in France, China or Morocco, 3 isolates from humans collected at CHU Henri Mondor hospital in France and the reference strain CBS 144.89). The Simpson index for individual markers ranged from 0.5771 to 0.8530. A combined loci index calculated with all the markers yielded an index of 0.9994. In a second step, the panel of 10 markers was used in different epidemiological situations and tested on 277 isolates, including 62 isolates from birds in Guangxi province in China, 95 isolates collected in two duck farms in France and 120 environmental isolates from a turkey hatchery in France. A database was created with the results of the present study http://minisatellites.u-psud.fr/MLVAnet/. Three major clusters of isolates were defined by using the graphing algorithm termed Minimum Spanning Tree (MST). The first cluster comprised most of the avian isolates collected in the two duck farms in France, the second cluster comprised most of the avian isolates collected in poultry farms in China and the third one comprised most of the isolates collected in the turkey hatchery in France.
Conclusions
MLVA displayed excellent discriminatory power. The method showed a good reproducibility. MST analysis revealed an interesting clustering with a clear separation between isolates according to their geographic origin rather than their respective hosts.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-10-315
PMCID: PMC3004892  PMID: 21143842
3.  Longitudinal survey of Staphylococcus aureus in cystic fibrosis patients using a multiple-locus variable-number of tandem-repeats analysis method 
BMC Microbiology  2010;10:24.
Background
Staphylococcus aureus infection in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) is frequent and may be due to colonization by a few pathogenic lineages. Systematic genotyping of all isolates, methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) as well as methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) is necessary to identify such lineages and follow their evolution in patients. Multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA/VNTR) was used to survey S. aureus clinical isolates in a French paediatric CF centre.
Results
During a 30 months period, 108 patients, aged 2 to 21 years, regularly followed up at the centre, provided sputum for culture. From 79 patients, a total of 278 isolates were genotyped by MLVA, resolving into 110 genotypes and 19 clonal complexes (CC) composed of similar or closely related isolates. 71% of the strains were distributed into four main CCs, in term of number of isolates and number of genotypes. Spa (Staphylococcus protein A) typing was performed on representative samples, showing an excellent concordance with MLVA. In 17 patients, strains from two to four different CCs were recovered over time. On six occasions, S. aureus isolates with the same genotype were shared by 2 different patients and they belonged to one of the four main clusters. Methicillin-resistance was observed in 60% of the isolates, 90% of which belonged to the main clonal complexes CC8, CC45 and CC5. In 5 patients, methicillin-resistance of S. aureus isolates was not associated with the mecA gene: for four patients, it was due to overproduction of β-lactamase, leading to BOR-SA (borderline S. aureus) isolates, while a strain showing probably a new modified penicillin-binding capacity (MOD-SA) was observed from one patient.
Conclusion
Systematic genotyping of S. aureus isolates recovered from sputum of CF children allows a thorough analysis of the strains responsible for sporadic as well as chronic colonization and the follow up of their evolution over time. We show here that more than 70% of these strains belong to 4 major CCs. MSSA as well as MRSA, BOR-SA and MOD-SA isolates can persist over several years, despite antibiotic treatments.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-10-24
PMCID: PMC2825195  PMID: 20105324
4.  Genotyping of Bacillus anthracis strains based on automated capillary 25-loci Multiple Locus Variable-Number Tandem Repeats Analysis 
BMC Microbiology  2006;6:33.
Background
The genome of Bacillus anthracis, the etiological agent of anthrax, is highly monomorphic which makes differentiation between strains difficult. A Multiple Locus Variable-number tandem repeats (VNTR) Analysis (MLVA) assay based on 20 markers was previously described. It has considerable discrimination power, reproducibility, and low cost, especially since the markers proposed can be typed by agarose-gel electrophoresis. However in an emergency situation, faster genotyping and access to representative databases is necessary.
Results
Genotyping of B. anthracis reference strains and isolates from France and Italy was done using a 25 loci MLVA assay combining 21 previously described loci and 4 new ones. DNA was amplified in 4 multiplex PCR reactions and the length of the resulting 25 amplicons was estimated by automated capillary electrophoresis. The results were reproducible and the data were consistent with other gel based methods once differences in mobility patterns were taken into account. Some alleles previously unresolved by agarose gel electrophoresis could be resolved by capillary electrophoresis, thus further increasing the assay resolution. One particular locus, Bams30, is the result of a recombination between a 27 bp tandem repeat and a 9 bp tandem repeat. The analysis of the array illustrates the evolution process of tandem repeats.
Conclusion
In a crisis situation of suspected bioterrorism, standardization, speed and accuracy, together with the availability of reference typing data are important issues, as illustrated by the 2001 anthrax letters event. In this report we describe an upgrade of the previously published MLVA method for genotyping of B. anthracis and apply the method to the typing of French and Italian B. anthracis strain collections. The increased number of markers studied compared to reports using only 8 loci greatly improves the discrimination power of the technique. An Italian strain belonging to the B branch was described, and two new branches, D and E, are proposed. Owing to the upgrading achieved here, precise genotyping can now be produced either by automated capillary electrophoresis, or by the more accessible but slower and for some markers slightly less accurate agarose gel methodology.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-6-33
PMCID: PMC1479350  PMID: 16600037
5.  Evaluation and selection of tandem repeat loci for Streptococcus pneumoniae MLVA strain typing 
BMC Microbiology  2005;5:66.
Background
Precise identification of bacterial pathogens at the strain level is essential for epidemiological purposes. In Streptococcus pneumoniae, the existence of 90 different serotypes makes the typing particularly difficult and requires the use of highly informative tools. Available methods are relatively expensive and cannot be used for large-scale or routine typing of any new isolate. We explore here the potential of MLVA (Multiple Loci VNTR Analysis; VNTR, Variable Number of Tandem Repeats), a method of growing importance in the field of molecular epidemiology, for genotyping of Streptococcus pneumoniae.
Results
Available genome sequences were searched for polymorphic tandem repeats. The loci identified were typed across a collection of 56 diverse isolates and including a group of serotype 1 isolates from Africa. Eventually a set of 16 VNTRs was proposed for MLVA-typing of S. pneumoniae. These robust markers were sufficient to discriminate 49 genotypes and to aggregate strains on the basis of the serotype and geographical origin, although some exceptions were found. Such exceptions may reflect serotype switching or horizontal transfer of genetic material.
Conclusion
We describe a simple PCR-based MLVA genotyping scheme for S. pneumoniae which may prove to be a powerful complement to existing tools for epidemiological studies. Using this technique we uncovered a clonal population of strains, responsible for infections in Burkina Faso. We believe that the proposed MLVA typing scheme can become a standard for epidemiological studies of S. pneumoniae.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-5-66
PMCID: PMC1315331  PMID: 16287512

Results 1-5 (5)