Detection of pathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica by polymerase chain reaction and digoxigenin-labeled polynucleotide probes.

Journal of clinical microbiology

PubMedID: 1400967

Kwaga J, Iversen JO, Misra V. Detection of pathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica by polymerase chain reaction and digoxigenin-labeled polynucleotide probes. J Clin Microbiol. 1992;30(10):2668-73.
Yersinia enterocolitica is widespread in nature, but only a few bioserotypes are involved in human infections. Pigs are considered to be the major reservoirs of pathogenic strains. It is essential to have an accurate and rapid method for the detection of pathogenic yersiniae. To achieve this objective, 19-base synthetic oligonucleotide primers were used in a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to detect the ail gene (which is conserved only in pathogenic strains) in strains of Y. enterocolitica and related species originating from pigs or pork products. Digoxigenin-labeled probes derived from the ail, inv, and yst genes were also evaluated on these strains. The PCR amplified a 273-bp fragment of the ail gene involved in eukaryotic cell invasion and serum resistance. The PCR detected template DNA only in strains of Y. enterocolitica traditionally classified as human pathogens but not in biotype 1A strains and related species. Other members of the family Enterobacteriaceae were also negative for the target gene. The digoxigenin-labeled ail probe gave identical results to the PCR. By use of this nonisotopic method, inv-homologous DNA was detected only among yersiniae, except for Y. ruckeri. Although all pathogenic serotypes of Y. enterocolitica were positive for the heat-stable enterotoxin yst gene, two strains of biotype 1A, one Y. intermedia strain, and six other species of the Enterobacteriaceae were also positive. Our results support the notion that pigs constitute an important reservoir of pathogenic Y. enterocolitica and that the inv-homologous sequence is Yersinia specific.