Harmonization of the multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis method between Denmark and Norway for typing Salmonella Typhimurium isolates and closer examination of the VNTR loci

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Abstract

Aims

Harmonization and evaluation of the multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) method for sub-typing Salmonella enterica ssp. enterica serovar Typhimurium (Salm. Typhimurium) in Denmark and Norway, and analysis of the typing data.

Methods and Results

The Salm. Typhimurium MLVA (STMLVA) method, which uses length polymorphisms in five tandem-repeated DNA loci to differentiate isolates, was harmonized between Denmark and Norway, using a common set of 14 isolates. The MLVA assay that is routinely used at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health was set up at the Statens Serums Institute. Both the institutes used an ABI-310 Genetic Analyzer for capillary separation of PCR products, and the same internal size standard. Running the same set of 14 test isolates in both countries and comparing the results showed an excellent typing match at all loci in all isolates. Subsequently, 461 isolates were genotyped in Norway and 454 isolates were genotyped in Denmark. The STMLVA assay displayed a large number of allelic profiles that were distinct for each country as well as shared profiles. Differences in variable number of tandem repeats allele frequencies and absence of amplification products were observed between Denmark and Norway.

Conclusions

The MLVA method was set up in two different laboratories and produced completely matching typing data that could be shared rapidly by e-mail for comparison. Notably, differences in allele frequencies and absence of amplification were noted between the countries.

Significance and Impact of the Study

The STMLVA method was shown to be easily implemented and to produce typing data, which were shared over the Internet. This enables increased speed of typing and comparison of data between countries, when compared with earlier typing methods. Information embedded in the allele frequencies might give clues to the origin and source of isolates.

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