The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of real-time TaqMan PCR assays for detection of coinfections with "Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum" (Mhm), and Mycoplasma haemofelis (Mhf), in vitro and over time in experimentally infected cats. First, the ability of each real-time PCR assay to detect and quantify mixed infections was determined in vitro by testing mixtures of plasmids containing Mhm and Mhf 16S rDNA with each assay. Subsequently, 4 specific pathogen-free (SPF) cats, 2 of which were splenectomized, were inoculated with blood from a cat infected with both Mhm and Mhf. Sixteen blood samples were then collected from each cat over a 55-day period. Each of the 64 postinoculation samples was tested using both conventional polymerase chain reaction (cPCR) and real-time PCR for the 16S rRNA gene of each organism. When applied to mixtures of plasmid DNA from each species, the results of quantitation with each of the real-time PCR assays approximately reflected the number of plasmid copies present. Forty-nine of 64 post-inoculation samples (77%) were positive using both cPCR and real-time PCR, 4 (6%) were positive using cPCR only, and 3 (5%) were positive using real-time PCR only. Both organisms were detected in 23 samples using real-time PCR. Mixed infections were not detected using cPCR. The size of the corresponding cPCR products suggested infection with Mhm in 4 and Mhf in 18 of these samples. The use of multiple separate real-time PCR assays rather than cPCR alone should thus be considered for epidemiologic studies of hemoplasmosis in cats.
- quantitative PCR
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