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Genotypes at the Internal Transcribed Spacers of the Nuclear rRNA Operon of Pneumocystis jiroveci in Nonimmunosuppressed Infants without Severe Pneumonia

By Anne Totet, Jean-Claude Pautard, Christian Raccurt, Patricia Roux and Gilles Nevez


The frequency of Pneumocystis jiroveci (human-derived Pneumocystis) in immunocompetent infants developing acute respiratory syndromes has recently been evaluated and has been shown to be close to 25%. Until now, there have been no data on the genomic characteristics of the fungus in these patients, while molecular typing of P. jiroveci organisms was mostly performed with samples from immunosuppressed patients with pneumocystosis (Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia [PCP]). The present report describes the genotypes of P. jiroveci organisms in 26 nonimmunosuppressed infants developing a mild Pneumocystis infection contemporaneously with an episode of bronchioloalveolitis. The typing was based on sequence analysis of internal transcribed spacers (ITSs) 1 and 2 of the rRNA operon, followed by the use of two typing scores. By use of the first score, 11 P. jiroveci ITS types were identified: 10 were previously reported in immunosuppressed patients with PCP, while 1 was newly described. By use of the second score, 13 types were identified, of which 2 were newly described. The most frequent type was identified as type B(1)a(3) (first score), which corresponds to type Eg (second score). Mixed infections were diagnosed in three infants. The occurrence of such diversity of P. jiroveci ITS types, an identical main type, and mixed infections has previously been reported in immunosuppressed patients with PCP. Thus, the P. jiroveci ITS genotypes detected in immunocompetent infants and immunosuppressed patients developing different forms of Pneumocystis infection share characteristics, suggesting that both groups of individuals make up a common human reservoir for the fungus. Finally, the frequency of P. jiroveci in nonimmunosuppressed infants with acute respiratory syndromes and the genotyping results provide evidence that this infant population is an important reservoir for the fungus

Topics: Mycology
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
Year: 2003
DOI identifier: 10.1128/JCM.41.3.1173-1180.2003
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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