DAO 34:223-229 (1998)  -  doi:10.3354/dao034223

Development of a nested polymerase chain reaction for amplification of a sequence of the p57 gene of Renibacterium salmoninarum that provides a highly sensitive method for detection of the bacterium in salmonid kidney

Dorothy M. Chase, Ronald J. Pascho*

U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division, Western Fisheries Research Center, 6505 N.E. 65th Street, Seattle, Washington 98115, USA

ABSTRACT: Nucleic acid-based assays have shown promise for diagnosing Renibacterium salmoninarum in tissues and body fluids of salmonids. Development of a nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method to detect a 320 bp DNA segment of the gene encoding the p57 protein of R. salmoninarum is described. Whereas a conventional PCR for a 383 bp segment of the p57 gene reliably detected 1000 R. salmoninarum cells per reaction in kidney tissue, the nested PCR detected as few as 10 R. salmoninarum per reaction in kidney tissue. Two DNA extraction methods for the nested PCR were compared and the correlation between replicate samples was generally higher in samples extracted by the QIAamp system compared with those extracted by the phenol/chloroform method. The specificity of the nested PCR was confirmed by testing DNA extracts of common bacterial fish pathogens and a panel of bacterial species reported to cause false-positive reactions in the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and the fluorescent antibody test (FAT) for R. salmoninarum. Kidney samples from 74 naturally infected chinook salmon were examined by the nested PCR, the ELISA, and the FAT, and the detected prevalences of R. salmoninarum were 61, 47, and 43%, respectively.

KEY WORDS: Polymerase chain reaction · Renibacterium salmoninarum · p57 protein · Bacterial kidney disease · BKD detection

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