Nucleic acid sequence-based amplification (NASBA) detection of medically important Candida species
Widjojoatmodjo, M.N.; Borst, A.; Schukkink, R.A.; Box, A.T.; Tacken, N.M.; Van Gemen, B.; Verhoef, J.; Top, B.; Fluit, A.C.
Journal of Microbiological Methods 38(1-2): 81-90
Nucleic Acid Sequence Based Amplification (iNASBA), an isothermal amplification technique for nucleic acids, was evaluated for the identification of medically important Candida species using primers selected from 18S rRNA sequences conserved in fungi. An RNA fragment of 257 nucleotides was amplified for Candida albicans. Nineteen different fungi were tested for rRNA amplification with the NASBA. All were positive when analyzed on agarose gel, whereas human RNA was negative. For the identification of Candida species, NASBA amplification products were analyzed in an enzyme bead-based detection format, using species-specific biotinylated probes and a generic Candida HRPO probe or a membrane-based system using biotinylated probes and avidin-HPRO. Discrimination of the major human pathogenic Candida spp. was based on a panel of biotinylated probes for C. krusei, C. tropicalis, C. albicans, C. glabrata, and C. lusitaniae. Using rRNA dilutions obtained from pure cultures of C. albicans, the combination of NASBA and the enzymatic bead-based detection yielded a sensitivity equivalent to 0.01 CFU. In a model system using 1 ml of artificially contaminated blood as few as 1-10 CFU of C. albicans could be detected. Testing of 68 clinical blood samples from patients suspected of candidemia showed that eight samples were positive for C. albicans and one for C. glabrata. Testing of 13 clinical plasma samples from patients suspected of fungemia identified the presence of C. albicans in two specimens. The whole procedure of sample preparation, amplification and identification by hybridization can be performed in 1 day. This speed and the observed sensitivity of the assay make the NASBA a good alternative to PCR for the detection of candidemia.