Tentative evidence of AIDS-associated biotype of Mycobacterium kansasii

E. Tortoli, M. T. Simonetti, C. Lacchini, V. Penati, P. Urbano

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Previous studies revealed heterogeneous behavior within the species Mycobacterium kansasii against commercially available DNA probes (Accuprobe M. kansasii culture identification test; Gen-Probe); several isolates, conventionally identified as M. kansasii, failed in fact to hybridize. Looking for a possible association with phenotypic features, we tested a fully characterized panel of 69 clinical isolates of M. kansasii (19 of which were Accuprobe negative) with a semiquantitative micromethod which tests for 19 enzymatic activities (Api Zym; BioMerieux). The strains were from 25 hospitals in 18 Italian towns; 20 isolates came from human immunodeficiency virus type 1-positive patients who fulfilled the Centers for Disease Control criteria for AIDS diagnosis. On the basis of the whole set of phenotypic traits, our strains clustered in two groups, allowing the differentiation of biotypes within the species. There was a perfect association between biotype 2 and hybridization failures with Accuprobe and a very significant association between this novel biotype 2 and AIDS status, which suggests that it differs in virulence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1779-1782
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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