16S rDNA PCR and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis; a single generic test for detecting and differentiating Mycoplasma species.
Diagnosis of Mycoplasma infection is normally based on culture and serological tests, which can be time-consuming and laborious. A number of specific PCRs have been developed but to date there has not been a single generic test capable of detecting and differentiating mycoplasmas to a species level. This report describes the development of a new diagnostic test based on PCR of the 16S rRNA gene with Mycoplasma-specific primers and separation of the PCR product according to primary sequence using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). DGGE enabled the differentiation of 67 Mycoplasma species of human and veterinary origin and represents a significant improvement on current tests as diagnosis of Mycoplasma infection can be made directly from clinical samples in less than 24 h.