Design and validation of a qPCR assay for accurate detection and initial serogrouping of Legionella pneumophila in clinical specimens by the ESCMID Study Group for Legionella Infections (ESGLI)

M. Mentasti, D. Kese, F. Echahidi, S. A. Uldum, B. Afshar, S. David, J. Mrazek, R. De Mendonça, Timothy Harrison, Victoria Chalker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Prompt detection of Legionella pneumophila is essential for rapid investigation of legionellosis. Furthermore, as the majority of L. pneumophila infections are caused by serogroup 1 (sg1) strains, rapid identification of such strains can be critical in both routine and outbreak scenarios. The ESCMID Study Group for Legionella Infections (ESGLI) was established in 2012 and immediately identified as a priority the validation of a reliable, easy to perform and interpret, cost-effective qPCR assay to standardise the detection of L. pneumophila DNA amongst members. A novel L. pneumophila assay targeting the mip gene was designed and combined with previously published methodologies amplifying the sg1 marker (wzm) and the green fluorescent protein gene (gfp) internal process control. The resulting triplex assay was validated internationally on the three qPCR platforms used by the majority of European Legionella reference laboratories: ABI 7500 (Life Technologies), LightCycler 480 Instrument II (Roche) and Rotor-Gene Q (Qiagen). Clinical and EQA specimens were tested together with a large panel of strains (251 in total) to validate the assay. The assay proved to be 100 % specific for L. pneumophila and sg1 DNA both in silico and in vitro. Efficiency values for mip and wzm assays ranged between 91.97 and 97.69 %. Limit of detection values estimated with 95 % confidence were adopted for mip and wzm assays on all three qPCR platforms. Inhibition was not observed. This study describes a robust assay that could be widely implemented to standardise the molecular detection of L. pneumophila among ESGLI laboratories and beyond.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1387-1393
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Volume34
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Crown Copyright.

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