Detection of Mycobacterium leprae by Real-time PCR Targeting Mycobacterium leprae-Specific Repetitive Element Sequence

  • Jin, Hyun-Woo (Department of Biomedical Laboratory Science, College of Health Sciences, Yonsei University) ;
  • Wang, Hye-Young (Department of Biomedical Laboratory Science, College of Health Sciences, Yonsei University) ;
  • Kim, Jong-Pill (Affiliated Hospital, Korean Leprosy Control Association) ;
  • Cho, Sang-Nae (Department of Microbiology, Yonsei University College of Medicine) ;
  • Lee, Hye-Young (Department of Biomedical Laboratory Science, College of Health Sciences, Yonsei University)
  • Received : 2010.03.19
  • Accepted : 2010.06.21
  • Published : 2010.06.30


Mycobacterium leprae detection is difficult even with molecular biological techniques due to the low sensitivity of current methodologies. In this report, real-time PCR targeting the M. leprae-specific repetitive element (RLEP) sequence was developed as a new diagnostic tool and evaluated using clinical specimens. For this, M. leprae DNAs were extracted from skin biopsy specimens from 80 patients and analyzed by real-time PCR using TaqMan probe. Then, the detection efficiency of the real-time PCR was compared with that of standard PCR. In brief, the rate of positive detection by the standard PCR and real-time PCR was 32.50% and 66.25%, respectively. The results seemed to clearly show that the TaqMan real-time PCR developed in this study may be a useful tool for sensitive detection of M. leprae from clinical specimens.


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