Quantification of Fungal DNA by Using Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer and the Light Cycler System


Loeffler J, Henke N, Hebart H, Schmidt D, Hagmeyer L, Schumacher U, Einsele H

Date: 1 January 2000


The Light Cycler technique combines rapid in vitro amplification of DNA in glass capillaries with real-time species determination and quantification of DNA load. We have established a quantitative PCR protocol for two clinically important pathogens, Candida albicans and Aspergillus fumigatus. The sensitivity of the assay was comparable to those of previously described PCR protocols (5 CFU/ml). Specific detection of C. albicans and A. fumigatus could be achieved. The assay showed a high reproducibility of 96 to 99%. The assay was linear in a range between 10(1) and 10(4) Aspergillus conidia. As capillaries do not have to be reopened for post-PCR analysis, the risk of carryover contaminations could be minimized. The Light Cycler allowed quantification of the fungal loads in a limited number of clinical specimens from patients with hematological malignancies and histologically proven invasive fungal infections. Five of nine positive samples had fungal loads between 5 and 10 CFU/ml of blood, two of nine positive samples had fungal loads between 10 and 100 CFU/ml of blood, and two of nine samples had fungal loads of more than 100 CFU/ml of blood. All samples were also found to be PCR positive by PCR-enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay analysis.

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