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Multiplex PCR Method for Detection of Three Aeromonas Enterotoxin Genes

Bin Kingombe, Cesar I., D'Aoust, Jean-Yves, Huys, Geert, Hofmann, Lisa, Rao, Mary, Kwan, Judy
Applied and environmental microbiology 2010 v.76 no.2 pp. 425-433
Aeromonas salmonicida subsp. salmonicida, dominant genes, polymerase chain reaction, proteins
A novel multiplex PCR method using three sets of specific primers was developed for the detection of the cytotoxic (act), heat-labile (alt), and heat-stable (ast) enterotoxin genes in Aeromonas spp. This assay was used to characterize 35 reference strains as well as 537 food-borne isolates. A total of seven gene pattern combinations were encountered, including act, alt, act/alt, act/alt/ast, act/alt/148-bp amplicon, alt/ast, and alt/148-bp amplicon. The alt gene was detected with 34 reference strains (97%) and occurred singly in 14% of these strains. The frequency of occurrence of the act/alt, act/alt/ast, and alt/ast gene patterns in reference strains was 14 (40%), 2 (6%), and 2 (6%), respectively. An unpredicted amplicon was detected in 11 reference strains (31%). Characterization of this amplicon showed that its size was 148 bp, as generated by the AHLF and AHLR primers, and that it uniquely aligned with the Aeromonas salmonicida A449 genome sequence (GenBank accession number CP000644). This amplicon was named Aeromonas salmonicida subsp. salmonicida hypothetical protein amplicon (AssHPA). In the 537 food-borne isolates, the act and alt genes were most dominant and were detected in 349 (65%) and 452 (84%) isolates, respectively, either alone or in combinations. The act and alt genes occurred singly in 30 (6%) and 128 (24%) of these strains, respectively. The act/alt gene pattern occurred in 315 isolates (59%), whereas the ast gene was always linked to strains exhibiting the act/alt/ast and alt/ast gene combinations in 4 (0.7%) and 5 (0.9%) isolates, respectively. The uniplex amplification of three enterotoxin genes separately confirms the specificity of the unique selected primers. This multiplex PCR is rapid and simple and can detect the presence of three Aeromonas enterotoxin genes in a single assay.