CtGEM typing: Discrimination of Chlamydia trachomatis ocular and urogenital strains and major evolutionary lineages by high resolution melting analysis of two amplified DNA fragments

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Journal Article
PLoS ONE, 2018, 13 (4)
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© 2018 Giffard et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Chlamydia trachomatis infects the urogenital tract (UGT) and eyes. Anatomical tropism is correlated with variation in the major outer membrane protein encoded by ompA. Strains possessing the ocular ompA variants A, B, Ba and C are typically found within the phyloge-netically coherent “classical ocular lineage”. However, variants B, Ba and C have also been found within three distinct strains in Australia, all associated with ocular disease in children and outside the classical ocular lineage. CtGEM genotyping is a method for detecting and discriminating ocular strains and also the major phylogenetic lineages. The rationale was facilitation of surveillance to inform responses to C. trachomatis detection in UGT specimens from young children. CtGEM typing is based on high resolution melting analysis (HRMA) of two PCR amplified fragments with high combinatorial resolving power, as defined by computerised comparison of 65 whole genomes. One fragment is from the hypothetical gene defined by Jali-1891 in the C. trachomatis B_Jali20 genome, while the other is from ompA. Twenty combinatorial CtGEM types have been shown to exist, and these encompass unique genotypes for all known ocular strains, and also delineate the TI and T2 major phylogenetic lineages, identify LGV strains and provide additional resolution beyond this. CtGEM typing and Sanger sequencing were compared with 42 C. trachomatis positive clinical specimens, and there were no disjunctions. CtGEM typing is a highly efficient method designed and tested using large scale comparative genomics. It divides C. trachomatis into clinically and biologically meaningful groups, and may have broad application in surveillance.
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