SodC-based real-time PCR for detection of neisseria meningitidis

Jennifer Dolan Thomas, Cynthia P. Hatcher, Dara A. Satterfield, M. Jordan Theodore, Michelle C. Bach, Kristin B. Linscott, Xin Zhao, Xin Wang, Raydel Mair, Susanna Schmink, Kathryn E. Arnold, David S. Stephens, Lee H. Harrison, Rosemary A. Hollick, Ana Lucia Andrade, Juliana Lamaro-Cardoso, Ana Paula S. de Lemos, Jenna Gritzfeld, Stephen Gordon, Ahmet SoysalMustafa Bakir, Dolly Sharma, Shabnam Jain, Sarah W. Satola, Nancy E. Messonnier, Leonard W. Mayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Real-time PCR (rt-PCR) is a widely used molecular method for detection of Neisseria meningitidis (Nm). Several rt-PCR assays for Nm target the capsule transport gene, ctrA. However, over 16% of meningococcal carriage isolates lack ctrA, rendering this target gene ineffective at identification of this sub-population of meningococcal isolates. The Cu-Zn superoxide dismutase gene, sodC, is found in Nm but not in other Neisseria species. To better identify Nm, regardless of capsule genotype or expression status, a sodC-based TaqMan rt-PCR assay was developed and validated. Standard curves revealed an average lower limit of detection of 73 genomes per reaction at cycle threshold (Ct) value of 35, with 100% average reaction efficiency and an average R2 of 0.9925. 99.7% (624/626) of Nm isolates tested were sodC-positive, with a range of average Ct values from 13.0 to 29.5. The mean sodC Ct value of these Nm isolates was 17.6±2.2 (±SD). Of the 626 Nm tested, 178 were nongroupable (NG) ctrA-negative Nm isolates, and 98.9% (176/178) of these were detected by sodC rt-PCR. The assay was 100% specific, with all 244 non-Nm isolates testing negative. Of 157 clinical specimens tested, sodC detected 25/157 Nm or 4 additional specimens compared to ctrA and 24 more than culture. Among 582 carriage specimens, sodC detected Nm in 1 more than ctrA and in 4 more than culture. This sodC rt-PCR assay is a highly sensitive and specific method for detection of Nm, especially in carriage studies where many meningococcal isolates lack capsule genes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere19361
JournalPloS one
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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