Molecular diagnostic platforms for detecting Aspergillus

David S. Perlin, Yanan Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Invasive aspergillosis remains difficult to diagnose despite advances in imaging and antigen-based serological testing. To overcome this problem, nucleic acid (NA)-based amplification assays were introduced to identify infecting pathogens. Unfortunately, the reliability of such assays to detect Aspergillus spp. has met with mixed success. A new generation of NA platforms are emerging, which greatly improve our ability to detect Aspergillus-specific DNA and RNA from respiratory and blood samples. These platforms can accurately detect a single genome, and the emergence of pan-fungal and pan-Aspergillus probes offer promise for broader detection. PCR remains the most important platform, especially when coupled with real-time probes. It is multiplex friendly and can distinguish between closely related target sequences. Nucleic acid sequence-based amplification (NASBA) is an RNA-directed isothermal transcription-based amplification platform, which is more robust than PCR resulting in a 1014-fold amplification. RNA-based detection facilitates more target options and can be used to assess cell viability. Both DNA and RNA amplification platforms take advantage of allele-specific properties of probes, which are valuable for assessing drug resistance markers. Finally, as new molecular diagnostic platforms mature, their role may expand to include early monitoring of therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S223-S232
JournalMedical mycology
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Infectious Diseases


  • Drug resistance
  • Molecular diagnostics
  • Nucleic acid
  • PCR


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