PCR detection and differentiation of Chlamydia pneumoniae, Chlamydia psittaci and Chlamydia trachomatis

Stephanie J. Rasmussen,1* Fiona P. Douglas2 and Peter Timms1

1Centre for Molecular Biotechnology, School of Life Science, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia, and

2Menzies School of Health Research, Darwin, Australia


A PCR-based system was developed for the detection and differentiation of Chlamydia trachomatis, Chlamydia psittaci and Chlamydia pneumoniae. A conserved 145 by fragment of the chlamydial omp1 gene was amplified from all three species. The three species were then differentiated from each other by digestion of this PCR product with restriction enzymes Eco RI and either Hin dill or Pst I. The system was shown to work for two strains of C. pneumoniae, 11 strains of C. psittaci and 10 serovars of C. trachomatis, and had a sensitivity of less than 10 chlamydial elementary bodies. This method was also applicable to the detection of C . trachomatis in conjunctival and nasopharyngeal swabs.