Diversity among clinical isolates of Histoplasma capsulatum detected by polymerase chain reaction with arbitrary primers. uri icon


  • Clinical isolates of the fungal respiratory and systemic pathogen Histoplasma capsulatum have been placed in several different classes by using genomic restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs), but in general have not been distinguished further. We report here that a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based DNA fingerprinting method that has been termed arbitrary primer or random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) PCR can distinguish among isolates in a single RFLP class. In this method, arbitrarily chosen oligonucleotides are used to prime DNA synthesis from genomic sites that they fortuitously match, or almost match, to generate strain-specific arrays of DNA fragments. Each of 29 isolates of RFLP class 2, the group endemic in the American Midwest, was distinguished by using just three arbitrary primers. In contrast, laboratory-derived S and E colony morphology variants of two strains were not distinguished from their R parents by using 18 such primers. Thus, the clinical isolates of H. capsulatum are quite diverse, but their genomes remain stable during laboratory culture. These outcomes suggest new possibilities for epidemiological analysis and studies of fungal populations in infected hosts.

publication date

  • November 1992