Molecular typing of Yersinia pestis using MLVA-19


  1. Bader, D.E.
  2. Stratilo, C.W.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Suffield, Ralston ALTA (CAN)
Yersinia pestis, a potential biothreat agent, shows highly conserved genomic sequences between strains of diverse origin. Variable number tandem repeats (VNTRs) have been used in numerous bacteria species (e.g., Bacillus anthracis) for strain-specific discrimination. Using several VNTR loci in combination, a robust PCR-based typing system called MLVA or multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis allows bacteria that are the same species to be differentiated from each other even if they are genetically very homogeneous. MLVA typing of Y. pestis using 42 VNTR loci for strain discrimination was reduced to a subset of 19 polymorphic markers (MLVA-19). The most polymorphic markers were selected because they are considered more effective for identifying genetic similarity on small geographic scales. DNA from nine Y. pestis strains analyzed using MLVA-19 generated six distinct genotypes demonstrating the YP-MLVA-19 typing scheme was able to discriminate Y. pestis isolates from a very small sample set. Decreasing the number of MLVA loci did not negatively impact the resolving power of this typing method. The methods and cluster database that were developed in this project can be used to type and characterize genetic relatedness of additional Y. pestis strains in the future.

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Yersinia pestis;molecular typing;VNTR;variable number of tandem repeats;MLVA;multi-locus VNTR analysis
Report Number
DRDC-SUFFIELD-TM-2013-150 — Technical Memorandum
Date of publication
01 Dec 2013
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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