Aspergillus fumigatus is an important cause of life-threatening invasive fungal disease in patients with compromised immune systems. Resistance to itraconazole in A. fumigatus is closely linked to amino acid substitutions in Cyp51A that replace Gly54. In an effort to develop a new class of molecular diagnostic assay that can rapidly assess drug resistance, a multiplexed assay was established. This assay uses molecular beacons corresponding to the wild-type cyp51A gene and seven mutant alleles encoding either Arg54, Lys54, Val54, Trp54, or Glu54. Molecular beacon structure design and real-time PCR conditions were optimized to increase the assay specificity. The multiplex assay was applied to the analysis of chromosomal DNA samples from a collection of 48 A. fumigatus clinical and laboratory-derived isolates, most with reduced susceptibility to itraconazole. The cyp51A allelic identities for codon 54 were established for all of the strains tested, and mutations altering Gly54 in 23 strains were revealed. These mutations included G54W (n = 1), G 54E (H = 12), G54K (n = 3), G54R (n = 3), and G54V (n = 4). Molecular beacon assay results were confirmed by DNA sequencing. Multiplex real-time PCR with molecular beacons is a powerful technique for allele differentiation and analysis of resistance mutations that is dynamic and suitable for rapid high-throughput assessment of drug resistance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)