Genetic diversity among Trichophyton mentagrophytes isolates using random amplified polymorphic DNA method

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Trichophyton mentagrophytes is a common cosmopolitan dermatophyte species composed of two varieties: T. mentagrophytes var. interdigitale (anthropophilic form) and T. mentagrophytes var. mentagrophytes (zoophilic form). We used a random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) method to study the genetic diversity of 46 clinical isolates of the T. mentagrophytes complex collected from 38 patients with different geographical origins (Europe, Africa, South America). The T. mentagrophytes were isolated either from a unique lesion for 31 patients, including two patients living together, or from at least two sites for seven patients. Only one primer of 15 primers tested showed DNA polymorphism in the isolates, producing 23 distinct patterns belonging to three clusters. There was no specific cluster grouping isolates from the same geographical origin. The same pattern is shared by all the four T. mentagrophytes var. mentagrophytes and 13 of 42 T. mentagrophytes var. interdigitale. An identity of strains responsible for several lesions in seven individuals suggests an homogeneous T. mentagrophytes population in the case of multiple lesions. In contrast, the dissimilarity of two strains recovered from two patients living together argues against person-to-person transmission in that case. This study indicates that RAPD can be successfully applied to show genetic diversity among T. mentagrophytes isolates.

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