A rapid field inversion gel electrophoresis (FIGE) protocol was combined with an rRNA gene probe in the analysis of staphylococci that were difficult to study epidemiologically by conventional means. The following groups of clinical isolates were examined: (i) predominantly antibiotic-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus strains containing no detectable plasmids and unresponsive to bacteriophage typing and (ii) methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis strains carrying a single plasmid ca. 30 kilobase in size. The results indicated that strain interrelationships could be established on the basis of SmaI-generated chromosomal restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs) analyzed by FIGE. RFLP analysis of strains known to be unrelated established the importance of minor differences in DNA banding patterns as indicators of strain dissimilarities. Hybridization studies with an rRNA gene probe confirmed this conclusion. These results suggest that FIGE analysis of chromosomal RFLPs (especially in combination with molecular probes) is an important addition to the armamentarium of molecular epidemiology.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)