Open Access Research article

Variable-number tandem-repeat markers for typing Mycobacterium intracellulare strains isolated in humans

Frédéric-Antoine Dauchy12*, Sébastien Dégrange2, Alain Charron2, Michel Dupon1, Yi Xin2, Cécile Bébéar2 and Jeanne Maugein2

Author Affiliations

1 Service de Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales, Hôpital Pellegrin, Université Victor Segalen Bordeaux 2, 33076 Bordeaux, France

2 Laboratoire de Bactériologie EA 3671, Université Victor Segalen Bordeaux 2, CHU de Bordeaux, 33076 Bordeaux Cedex, France

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Microbiology 2010, 10:93  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-10-93

Published: 29 March 2010



Mycobacterium intracellulare, a species of the Mycobacterium avium complex, may be the cause of severe lung, lymphatic node, skin and bone/joint infections, as well as bacteriemia. The goal of this work was to identify Mycobacterial Interspersed Repetitive Unit-Variable Number Tandem Repeat (MIRU-VNTR) markers and to study their variability in a collection of isolates of M. intracellulare collected in humans. We studied 61 isolates collected in humans between 2001 and 2008, as well as the reference strain, M. intracellulare ATCC 13950.


We identified 45 MIRU-VNTR candidates, of which 17 corresponded to the MIRU-VNTR identified in the genome of M. intracellulare ATCC 13950. Among the 45 potential MIRU-VNTR, seven were selected for use in a MIRU-VNTR assay applied to our collection of isolates. Forty-four patterns were found by MIRU-VNTR typing and the discriminatory power of the assay was high with a Hunter-Gaston diversity index of 0.98. We do not have evidence of a particular distribution of MIRU-VNTR polymorphism according to clinical situation.


Our results suggest that MIRU-VNTR typing could be used for molecular epidemiological studies applied to M. intracellulare.