Research Summary: Population Structure of Invasive Streptococcus pneumoniae in the Netherlands in the Pre-Vaccination Era Assessed by MLVA and Capsular Sequence Typing


The introduction of nationwide pneumococcal vaccination may lead to serotype replacement and the emergence of new variants that have expanded their genetic repertoire through recombination. To monitor alterations in the pneumococcal population structure, we have developed and utilized Capsular Sequence Typing (CST) in addition to Multiple-Locus Variable number tandem repeat Analysis (MLVA).

To assess the serotype of each isolate CST was used. Based on the determination of the partial sequence of the capsular wzh gene, this method assigns a capsular type of an isolate within a single PCR reaction using multiple primersets. The genetic background of pneumococcal isolates was assessed by MLVA. MLVA and CST were used to create a snapshot of the Dutch pneumococcal population causing invasive disease before the introduction of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in the Netherlands in 2006. A total of 1154 clinical isolates collected and serotyped by the Netherlands Reference Laboratory for Bacterial Meningitis were included in the snapshot. The CST was successful in discriminating most serotypes present in our collection. MLVA demonstrated that isolates belonging to some serotypes had a relatively high genetic diversity whilst other serotypes had a very homogeneous genetic background. MLVA and CST appear to be valuable tools to determine the population structure of pneumococcal isolates and are useful in monitoring the effects of pneumococcal vaccination.


Publisher: Public Library of Science

Date Published: 26-May-2011

Author(s): Elberse K., van de Pol I., Witteveen S., van der Heide H., Schot C., van Dijk A., van der Ende A., Schouls L.


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