A PCR assay for discriminating Neisseria gonorrhoeaebeta-lactamase-producing plasmids

Mol Cell Probes. 1999 Apr;13(2):89-92. doi: 10.1006/mcpr.1998.0216.


Oligonucleotide primers were developed for use in polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays to differentiate three related, epidemic beta-lactamase-producing plasmids of Neisseria gonorrhoeae-the Asia-(7426 bp), Africa-(5599 bp) and Toronto-(5154 bp) type plasmids. One-hundred and two N. gonorrhoeae isolates with different plasmid profiles were tested-16 isolates carried the Asia plasmid, 41 isolates contained the Africa plasmid, 16 isolates contained the Toronto plasmid and 29 isolates contained no beta-lactamase-producing plasmids. Most (101/102) isolates also carried the gonococcal cryptic plasmid, while 27/102 and 44/102 isolates carried either the transfer plasmid or the tet M-containing plasmids, respectively. The assay was 100% sensitive and specific for identifying the correct plasmid type. This assay is useful for rapidly detecting the presence of gonococcal beta-lactamase-producing plasmids in clinical samples and discriminating them for epidemiological typing.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Africa / epidemiology
  • Asia / epidemiology
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques*
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Electrophoresis, Agar Gel
  • Gonorrhea / epidemiology
  • Gonorrhea / microbiology
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / classification
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / drug effects
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / genetics*
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Penicillin Resistance / genetics*
  • Penicillinase / genetics*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / instrumentation
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • R Factors / genetics*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Species Specificity


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Penicillinase