16S rRNA, Avium, Crohn's disease, IS1245, IS900, Johne's disease, MAP, MAV, Mycobacterium, Paratuberculosis


The role of Mycobacterium avium subsp paratuberculosis (MAP) in the etiology and pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) including Crohn's Disease (CD), has been investigated. The fastidious characteristics and cross reactivity of MAP with other members in Mycobacteria have produced significant challenges in their detection and identification. In this two year pilot study, an array of three PCR molecular assays based on the detection of sequences from the16S rRNA, IS1245, and IS900 genes, belonging to members of the MAC, have been developed and optimized into a common protocol to be used as a rapid and accurate diagnostic tool regarding M. avium complex (MAC) infection. The PCR protocol time was reduced by half, and the sensitivity and specificity of the molecular assays has been significantly improved barring the need for southern hybridization. This improved methodology was employed for the molecular typing of MAC in 100 resected, full-thickness tissue samples removed from IBD patients. The tissue samples were homogenized, decontaminated, and inoculated into two mycobacterial culture media systems. A total of 328 Bactec and Mycobacteria Growth Indicator Tube (MIGT) cultures were evaluated for positive MAC growth. Harvested cells were then subjected to genomic DNA extraction and subsequent PCR typing. The I6 S rRNA-based PCR resulted in detection of 26/28 (93%) MAC in Bactec cultures. Specifically, 25/28 (89%) of positive MAC indicated the presence of IS1245 specific to M. avium subsp avium (MAV), and 6/28 (21%) produced results consistent with the presence of IS900 following nested PCR. Moreover, 20/100 (20%) of MGIT cultures were positive for MAP. Sequence analysis was performed on amplified regions of the IS900 element from seven isolates. A nucleotide alignment revealed that 2/7 isolates demonstrated 100% homology to Bovine MAP and 5/7 isolates showed 96-99% homology to sequenced Bovine MAP published in GenBank. The detection of at least two Bovine derived MAP in IBD tissue will have great impact on the epidemiology and reclassification of IBD. The significant homology of the other five isolates to Bovine derived MAP suggests a diversity in the geographical distribution of MAP regarding Johne's disease and CD. Ultimately, the etiology, diagnosis, and the treatment of IBD as well as control and prevention measures may be enhanced with better tools for investigating emerging infectious diseases.


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Graduation Date





Naser, Saleh


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Health and Public Affairs


Molecular Biology and Microbiology

Degree Program

Molecular Biology and Microbiology








Release Date

May 2004

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Health and Public Affairs; Health and Public Affairs -- Dissertations, Academic