IS1311 is an insertion sequence from Mycobacterium avium and M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis. Using a 180 bp fragment of IS 1311 as a probe, 7-10 copies of IS1311 were revealed in strains of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis. With a given restriction enzyme, the restriction fragment length polymorphism patterns obtained from isolates of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis from cattle were all identical, but they differed from those of isolates from sheep, which could be separated into two types. A 1259 bp fragment of IS1311 produced by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) from two isolates of M. avium subsp.paratuberculosis from cattle and two isolates from sheep was sequenced and compared to the sequence known from M. avium. Apart from five point differences the sequences were identical. Restriction endonuclease analysis (REA) of the PCR product was used to distinguish isolates of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis from M. avium, in addition to the conventional test for IS900. In isolates of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis from cattle the IS1311 gene was polymorphic at position 223, which enabled isolates from sheep and cattle to be distinguished by PCR-REA. These simple tests will be used to enhance disease control programmes for Johne's disease in ruminants. The findings of this study raise interesting questions about the evolution of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis.
Copyright 1998 Academic Press