A real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay for the direct identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and M. bovis using molecular beacons was developed. The assay was modified for use in regular thermal cyclers. Molecular beacons that were specific for M. tuberculosis (Tb-B) and M. bovis (Bo-B) were designed. The fluorescence of the target PCR product-molecular beacon probe complex was detected visually using a transilluminator. The results were then compared with those of conventional multiplex PCR (CM-PCR) assays and biochemical identification. The detection limit of Tb-B and Bo-B beacons was 500 fg and 50 fg by the visual format and real-time PCR assay, respectively, compared with 5 pg by CM-PCR assay. Pulmonary and extrapulmonary samples were examined. The agreement between culture and the two assays was very good in sputum samples and fair in extrapulmonary samples. The agreement between clinical diagnoses with the two assays was moderate in extrapulmonary samples. There was very good agreement between CM-PCR and visual format assays for all samples used in the study. Concordance in the identification of isolates by the visual, CM-PCR assay, and biochemical identification was seen. Hence, the use of molecular beacon detection of M. tuberculosis and M. bovis in clinical samples is feasible by setting up two asymmetric PCRs concurrently. The assay is sensitive, specific , simple to interpret, and takes less than 3 hours to complete.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Molecular Medicine