Multilocus sequence typing: Data analysis in clinical microbiology and public health

Mol Biotechnol. 2005 Mar;29(3):245-54. doi: 10.1385/MB:29:3:245.


Numerous computer-based statistical packages have been developed in recent years and it has become easier to analyze nucleotide sequence data and gather subsequent information that would not normally be available. Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) is used for characterizing isolates of bacterial and fungal species and uses nucleotide sequences of internal fragments of housekeeping genes. This method is finding a place in clinical microbiology and public health by providing data for epidemiological surveillance and development of vaccine policy. It adds greatly to our knowledge of the genetic variation that can occur within a species and has therefore been used for studies of population biology. Analysis requires the detailed interpretation of nucleotide sequence data obtained from housekeeping and nonhousekeeping genes. This is due to the amount of data generated from nucleotide sequencing and the information generated from an array of analytical tools improves our understanding of bacterial pathogens. This can benefit public health interventions and the development of enhanced therapies and vaccines. This review concentrates on the analytical tools used in MLST and their use in the clinical microbiology and public health fields.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques* / methods
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics*
  • DNA, Fungal / genetics*
  • DNA, Intergenic / genetics
  • Fungi / classification
  • Fungi / genetics*
  • Mycological Typing Techniques* / methods
  • Quantitative Trait Loci / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / methods


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • DNA, Fungal
  • DNA, Intergenic