We developed a single-step real-time fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) merged with melting curve analysis for the detection of Wuchereria bancrofti and Brugia malayi DNA in blood-fed mosquitoes. Real-time FRET multiplex PCR is based on fluorescence melting curve analysis of a hybrid of amplicons generated from two families of repeated DNA elements: the 188 bp SspI repeated sequence, specific to W. bancrofti, and the 153-bp HhaI repeated sequence, specific to the genus Brugia and two pairs of specific fluorophore-labeled probes. Both W. bancrofti and B. malayi can be differentially detected in infected vectors by this process through their different fluorescence channel and melting temperatures. The assay could distinguish both human filarial DNAs in infected vectors from the DNAs of Dirofilaria immitis- and Plasmodium falciparum-infected human red blood cells and noninfected mosquitoes and human leukocytes. The technique showed 100% sensitivity and specificity and offers a rapid and reliable procedure for differentially identifying lymphatic filariasis. The introduced real-time FRET multiplex PCR can reduce labor time and reagent costs and is not prone to carry over contamination. The test can be used to screen mosquito vectors in endemic areas and therefore should be a useful diagnostic tool for the evaluation of infection rate of the mosquito populations and for xenomonitoring in the community after eradication programs such as the Global Program to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis.
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Vol. 46 • No. 1