Molecular genotyping and quantitation assay for rotavirus surveillance

Jie Liu, Kate Lurain, Shihab U. Sobuz, Sharmin Begum, Happiness Kumburu, Jean Gratz, Gibson Kibiki, Denise Toney, Rashi Gautam, Michael D. Bowen, William A. Petri Jr., Rashidul Haque, Eric R. Houpt
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Rotavirus genotyping is useful for surveillance purposes especially in areas where rotavirus vaccination has been or will be implemented. RT-PCR based molecular methods have been applied widely, but quantitative assays targeting a broad spectrum of genotypes have not been developed. Three real time RT-PCR panels were designed to identify G1, G2, G9, G12 (panel GI), G3, G4, G8, G10 (panel GII), and P[4], P[6], P[8], P[10], P[11] (panel P), respectively. An assay targeting NSP3 was included in both G panels as an internal control. The cognate assays were also formulated as one RT-PCR-Luminex panel for simultaneous detection of all the genotypes listed above plus P[9]. The assays were evaluated with various rotavirus isolates and 89 clinical samples from Virginia, Bangladesh and Tanzania, and exhibited 95% (81/85) sensitivity compared with the conventional RT-PCR-Gel-electrophoresis method, and 100% concordance with sequencing. Real time assays identified a significantly higher rate of mixed genotypes in Bangladeshi samples than the conventional gel-electrophoresis-based RT-PCR assay (32.5% versus 12.5%, P < 0.05). In these mixed infections, the relative abundance of the rotavirus types could be estimated by Cq values. These typing assays detect and discriminate a broad range of G/P types circulating in different geographic regions with high sensitivity and specificity and can be used for rotavirus surveillance.