Pourahmad F, Adams A, Thompson KD & Richards RH (2019) Identification of aquatic mycobacteria based on sequence analysis of the 16S-23S rRNA internal transcribed spacer region. Journal of Medical Microbiology, 68 (2), pp. 221-229. https://doi.org/10.1099/jmm.0.000891
Purpose. Mycobacteria are common causative agents of bacterial infections in many species of freshwater and marine fish. Identification of mycobacteria to the species level based on phenotypic tests is inappropriate and time consuming. Molecular methods such as partial or entire gene sequence determination in mycobacteria have been employed to resolve these problems. The objective of this study was to assess the use of sequence analysis of the mycobacterial 16S–23S internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region for the identification of different aquatic mycobacteria species.
Methodology. Using published primers, the ITS sequences of 64 field and reference strains were determined.
Results/Key findings. The identity of all isolates previously identified as Mycobacterium marinum by RFLP was confirmed as M. marinum by sequence analysis. With the exception of five rapidly growing mycobacteria isolates, all other mycobacteria were easily identified by sequencing of the ITS region. Using this spacer region, it was possible to differentiate between slowly growing and rapidly growing mycobacteria, even before sequence analysis, by the size of the PCR product, although species identification could not be made by size alone.
Conclusion. Overall, direct sequencing of this genetic element following PCR has been shown to be useful in the identification of aquatic mycobacteria species. With regard to the variability of the ITS region for different mycobacteria isolates, this may be a useful tool in epidemiological studies.
identification; aquatic mycobacteria; ITS sequence analysis
Journal of Medical Microbiology: Volume 68, Issue 2