Epidemiological and forensic analyses of bioterrorism events involving Bacillus anthracis could be improved if both variable number tandem repeats (VNTRs) and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) could be combined on a single analysis platform. Here we present the use of electrospray ionization Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (ESI-FTICR-MS) to characterize 24 alleles from 6 VNTR loci and 11 alleles from 7 SNP loci in B. anthracis. The results obtained with ESI-FTICR-MS were consistent with independent results obtained from traditional approaches using electrophoretic detection of fluorescent products. However, ESI-FTICR-MS improves on the traditional approaches because it does not require fluorescent labeling of PCR products, minimizes post-PCR processing, obviates electrophoresis, and provides unambiguous base composition of both SNP and VNTR PCR products. In addition, ESI-FTICR-MS allows both marker types to be examined simultaneously and at a rate of approximately 1 sample per min. This technology represents a significant advance in our ability to rapidly characterize B. anthracis isolates using VNTR and SNP loci.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)