We studied the restriction endonuclease cleavage patterns of rRNA genes (ribotypes) of 72 clinical isolates of Shigella flexneri representing eight serotypes to determine whether ribotyping could be used to distinguish S. flexneri strains and to compare the discriminating ability of the method with that of serotyping. By using a cloned Escherichia coli rRNA operon as the probe, Southern blot hybridization of restriction endonuclease-digested total DNA was carried out. Ribotyping of the isolates with each of the five restriction endonucleases BamHI, EcoRI, HindIII, PstI, and SalI generated reproducible restriction patterns. However, HindIII produced the optimum digestion pattern of the rRNA genes and was more useful than the other enzymes used in differentiating strains. Analysis of the 72 isolates showed 11 different HindIII cleavage patterns of their rRNA genes. Four of these HindIII-generated ribotypes could be further differentiated into two to four subribotypes by using PstI. The results indicate that ribotyping has an application for differentiation of S. flexneri strains and can complement serotyping. Definition of strains in terms of both serotype and ribotype may be of greater use in epidemiological studies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)