Multiplex Real-Time PCR Assay Using TaqMan Probes for the Identification of Trypanosoma cruzi DTUs in Biological and Clinical Samples

Carolina I. Cura, Tomas Duffy, Raúl H. Lucero, Margarita Bisio, Julie Péneau, Matilde Jimenez-Coello, Eva Calabuig, María J. Gimenez, Edward Valencia Ayala, Sonia A. Kjos, José Santalla, Susan M. Mahaney, Nelly M. Cayo, Claudia Nagel, Laura Barcán, Edith S. Málaga Machaca, Karla Y. Acosta Viana, Laurent Brutus, Susana B. Ocampo, Christine AznarCesar A. Cuba Cuba, Ricardo E. Gürtler, Janine M. Ramsey, Isabela Ribeiro, John L. VandeBerg, Zaida E. Yadon, Antonio Osuna, Alejandro G. Schijman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    50 Scopus citations


    Trypanosoma cruzi has been classified into six Discrete Typing Units (DTUs), designated as TcI–TcVI. In order to effectively use this standardized nomenclature, a reproducible genotyping strategy is imperative. Several typing schemes have been developed with variable levels of complexity, selectivity and analytical sensitivity. Most of them can be only applied to cultured stocks. In this context, we aimed to develop a multiplex Real-Time PCR method to identify the six T. cruzi DTUs using TaqMan probes (MTq-PCR).The MTq-PCR has been evaluated in 39 cultured stocks and 307 biological samples from vectors, reservoirs and patients from different geographical regions and transmission cycles in comparison with a multi-locus conventional PCR algorithm. The MTq-PCR was inclusive for laboratory stocks and natural isolates and sensitive for direct typing of different biological samples from vectors, reservoirs and patients with acute, congenital infection or Chagas reactivation. The first round SL-IR MTq-PCR detected 1 fg DNA/reaction tube of TcI, TcII and TcIII and 1 pg DNA/reaction tube of TcIV, TcV and TcVI reference strains. The MTq-PCR was able to characterize DTUs in 83% of triatomine and 96% of reservoir samples that had been typed by conventional PCR methods. Regarding clinical samples, 100% of those derived from acute infected patients, 62.5% from congenitally infected children and 50% from patients with clinical reactivation could be genotyped. Sensitivity for direct typing of blood samples from chronic Chagas disease patients (32.8% from asymptomatic and 22.2% from symptomatic patients) and mixed infections was lower than that of the conventional PCR algorithm.Typing is resolved after a single or a second round of Real-Time PCR, depending on the DTU. This format reduces carryover contamination and is amenable to quantification, automation and kit production.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article numbere0003765
    JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - May 19 2015

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
    • Infectious Diseases


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