tmRNA - a novel high-copy-number RNA diagnostic target - its application for Staphylococcus aureus detection using real-time NASBA

Justin O'Grady, Katrina Lacey, Barry Glynn, Terry J Smith, Thomas Barry, Majella Maher

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A real-time nucleic acid sequence-based amplification assay, targeting tmRNA, was designed for the rapid identification of Staphylococcus aureus. The selectivity of the assay was confirmed against a panel of 76 Staphylococcus strains and species and 22 other bacterial species. A detection limit of 1 cell equivalent was determined for the assay. A chimeric in vitro transcribed internal amplification control was developed and included in the assay. Application of the assay in natural and artificially contaminated unpasteurized (raw) milk enabled detection of 1-10 CFUS. aureus mL(-1) in 3-4 h, without the need for culture enrichment. Staphylococcus aureus was detected in all artificially contaminated milk samples (n=20) and none of the natural milk samples (n=20). Microbiological analysis of the natural milk samples was performed in parallel according to ISO 6888-3 and confirmed the absence of S. aureus. The method developed in this study has the potential to enable the specific detection of S. aureus in raw milk in a significantly shorter time frame than current standard methods. The assay further demonstrates the usefulness of tmRNA/ssrA as a nucleic acid diagnostic target.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-223
Number of pages6
JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
Issue number2
Early online date1 Dec 2009
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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