Detection of Shigella dysenteriae type 1 and Shigella flexneri in feces by immunomagnetic isolation and polymerase chain reaction
A combination of immunomagnetic separation (IMS) and a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) procedure was used for direct isolation and identification of Shigella dysenteriae type 1 and Shigella flexneri from feces. Immunomagnetic particles were coated with monoclonal antibody MASFB, which is specific for a common epitope of the O polysaccharides of S. dysenteriae type 1 and S. flexneri. Bacteria bound to the beads were boiled in water, and target DNA was amplified with a primer pair specific for a gene coded on the invasion-associated locus (ial) of the large virulence plasmid of all four Shigella spp. and enteroinvasive strains of Escherichia coli. A 320-bp DNA fragment was generated and detected by an alkaline phosphatase-conjugated probe. Nonviable cells were also captured and detected by this technique. The method is simple and fast (7 h) and has a detection limit of ca. 10 Shigella organisms per g in fecal samples. The combined IMS-PCR assay correctly identified all 57 samples carrying S. dysenteriae type 1 and 68 samples carrying S. flexneri from 238 fecal specimens and also permitted detection of 17 samples carrying Shigella spp. from 113 specimens from diarrheal patients in whom shigellae were not detected by conventional culture.