Quantitative multiplexed detection of common pulmonary fungal pathogens by labeled primer polymerase chain reaction

Zhengming Gu, Daelynn R. Buelow, Ruta Petraitiene, Vidmantas Petraitis, Thomas J. Walsh, Randall T. Hayden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context. - Invasive fungal infections are an important cause of morbidity and mortality among immunocompromised patients. Objective. - To design and evaluate a multiplexed assay aimed at quantitative detection and differentiation of the 5 molds that are most commonly responsible for pulmonary infections. Design. - Using labeled primer polymerase chain reaction chemistry, an assay was designed to target the 5.8S and 28S ribosomal RNA genes of Aspergillus spp, Fusarium spp, Scedosporium spp, and members of the order Mucorales (Rhizopus oryzae, Rhizopus microsporus, Cunninghamella bertholletiae, Mucor circinelloides, Lichtheimia corymbifera, and Rhizomucor pusillus). This assay was split into 2 multiplexed reactions and was evaluated using both samples seeded with purified nucleic acid from 42 well-characterized clinical fungal isolates and 105 archived samples (47 blood [45%], 42 bronchoalveolar lavage fluid [40%], and 16 tissue [15%]) collected from rabbit models of invasive pulmonary fungal infections. Results. - Assay detection sensitivity was less than 25 copies of the target sequence per reaction for Aspergillus spp, 5 copies for Fusarium spp and Scedosporium spp, and 10 copies for the Mucorales. The assay showed quantitative linearity from 5 × 101 to 5 × 105 copies of target sequence per reaction. Sensitivities and specificities for bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, tissue, and blood samples were 0.86 and 0.99, 0.60 and 1.00, and 0.46 and 1.00, respectively. Conclusions. - Labeled primer polymerase chain reaction permits rapid, quantitative detection and differentiation of common agents of invasive fungal infection. The assay described herein shows promise for clinical implementation that may have a significant effect on the rapid diagnosis and treatment of patients' severe infections caused by these pulmonary fungal pathogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1474-1480
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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