J Clin Microbiol 2004 Jun;42(6):2411-8
Department of Microbiology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2N2, Canada.
Pythium insidiosum, the only species in the genus that infects mammals, is the etiological agent of pythiosis, a granulomatous disease characterized by cutaneous and subcutaneous lesions and vascular diseases. Accurate diagnosis of pythiosis and identification of its causal agent are often inconsistent with current immunological diagnostic methods. A species-specific DNA probe was constructed by using a 530-bp HinfI fragment from the ribosomal DNA intergenic spacer of P. insidiosum. When the probe was incubated with dot blots of genomic DNA from 104 Pythium species, it hybridized only to the DNA of P. insidiosum and P. destruens-two species that have been considered conspecific. The probe also hybridized to DNA from 22 P. insidiosum isolates in this study, regardless of their geographic origin or animal host. When tested against genomic DNA from other pathogenic organisms (Aspergillus fumigatus, Basidiobolus ranarum, Conidiobolus coronatus, Lagenidium giganteum, Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, and Prototheca wickerhamii), no cross-hybridization of the probe was detected. The specificity of the probe to hybridize to genomic DNA from all isolates of P. insidiosum and not cross-react with DNA from other Pythium species or pathogens that cause symptoms similar to pythiosis in their hosts makes it a powerful tool for the accurate diagnosis of pythiosis. In addition, the probe has the potential for pathological and environmental diagnostic applications.