Development of quantitative real-time PCR assays to detect Rickettsia typhi and Rickettsia felis, the causative agents of murine typhus and flea-borne spotted fever.

Research paper by Katherine M KM Henry, Ju J Jiang, Patrick J PJ Rozmajzl, Abdu F AF Azad, Kevin R KR Macaluso, Allen L AL Richards

Indexed on: 09 Aug '06Published on: 09 Aug '06Published in: MCP


Rickettsia typhi and Rickettsia felis are the etiologic agents of murine typhus and flea-borne spotted fever, respectively. We have constructed two quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assays to detect these pathogenic rickettsiae. The qPCR assays were developed utilizing unique sequences of the R. typhi and R. felis outer membrane protein B genes (ompB) to design the specific primers and molecular beacon probes. The assays were found to be species-specific and did not yield false-positive reactions with nucleic acid from other rickettsiae, orientiae, neorickettsiae or unrelated bacteria. In addition, the assays were sensitive enough to detect three target sequence copies per reaction and were capable of detecting R. typhi and R. felis nucleic acid in the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis. These results demonstrate that two sensitive and specific qPCR assays have been successfully developed to detect and enumerate R. typhi and R. felis.

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