The use of IS2404 restriction fragment length polymorphisms suggests the diversity of Mycobacterium ulcerans from different geographical areas.

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  • 1 Department of Microbiology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium.

Buruli ulcer, caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans, has been reported in five continents: Africa, Asia, Australia, and North and South America. In the present study, restriction fragment length polymorphism with the recently described M. ulcerans specific insertion sequence IS2404 as a probe, was applied to Mycobacterium shinshuense, Mycobacterium marinum, and 14 clinical M. ulcerans isolates originating from six geographic areas: Africa (n = 6), Australia (n = 2), Mexico (n = 1), south Asia (n = 2), Asia (n = 1), and South America (n = 2). Using this probe, six subtypes of M. ulcerans, related to the six geographic origins of the isolates were distinguished, confirming that M. ulcerans can be divided into subgroups corresponding to different geographic variants of the same species.

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