DNA microarray-based detection of Coxiella burnetii, the causative agent of Q fever
Background: An easy-to-handle microarray assay based on the cost-effective ArrayTube™ platform has been designed for the rapid and unequivocal identification of Coxiella burnetii, the causative agent of Q fever. The gene targets include the chromosomally coded markers icd, omp/com1, and IS1111 as well as the plasmid coded markers cbbE and cbhE. Results: A representative panel comprising 50 German C. burnetii isolates and 10 clinical samples was examined to validate the test. All tested isolates harboured plasmid QpH1 and were correctly identified, corresponding to 100% sensitivity. The assay’s limit of detection was 100 genome equivalents (GE) for icd, omp/com1, cbbE and cbhE and 10 GE for IS1111. Assay specificity was 100% as determined by analysing a panel of 37 non-Coxiella strains. Conclusions: The present array is a rational assembly of established and evaluated targets for the rapid and unequivocal detection of C. burnetii. This array could be applied to the screening of vaginal swabs from small ruminants; screening of environmental samples e.g. on farms or screening of human samples.