Quantitative TaqMan PCR for detection of Pneumocystis jiroveci.J Microbiol Methods. 2005 Jun; 61(3):381-7.JM
We developed a quantitative real-time PCR assay for detection and quantification of Pneumocystis jiroveci in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) specimens based on primers and probe targeting the gene encoding beta-tubulin. The assay was able to detect 50 DNA copies per ml of a standard plasmid containing the target sequence. The intra- and interassay coefficients of variation were 0.46%-4.27% and 0.05-2.00% over 5 log(10) values. Fifty-seven controls of human, viruses, bacteria and fungi DNA samples were amplified and found negative. Fifty-three BAL samples sent to the laboratory for diagnosis of pneumocystosis were prospectively investigated by real-time PCR and direct microscopic examinations (DME) using Giemsa stain and direct immunofluorescence. All PCR negative samples were negative by microscopy. Among the 24 (45%) BAL found PCR positive, 8 were positive by microscopy (35%). The copy numbers of the target gene were between 4.4 x 10(3) and 2.8 x 10(6) per ml for the microscopically positive samples and between 8 and 9.2 x 10(3) per ml for the microscopically negative samples. In conclusion, we developed a rapid, sensitive and specific real time PCR for the diagnosis and quantification of Pneumocystis jiroveci in BAL samples.