Extended Multilocus Variable-Number Tandem-Repeat Analysis of Clostridium difficile Correlates Exactly with Ribotyping and Enables Identification of Hospital Transmission.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • HE Tanner
  • Clare Marriott
  • JS Brazier
  • S Platt

Colleges, School and Institutes


PCR ribotyping is currently used in many countries for epidemiological investigation to track transmission and to identify emerging variants of Clostridium difficile. Although PCR ribotyping differentiates over 300 types, it is not always sufficiently discriminatory for epidemiological investigations particularly for common ribotypes, e.g., ribotypes 027, 106, and 017. Multilocus variable-number tandem-repeat analysis (MLVA) is a highly discriminatory molecular subtyping method that has been applied to a number of bacterial species for high-level subtyping. Two MLVA typing schemes for C. difficile have been previously published, each utilizing seven variable-number tandem-repeat (VNTR) loci on the genome with four loci common to both schemes. Although these schemes are good genotyping methods with the ability to discriminate between isolates, they do not identify the ribotype. We show here that increasing the number of VNTR loci to 15, creating the extended MLVA (eMLVA) scheme, we have successfully subtyped all clinically significant ribotypes while still clustering isolates in concordance with PCR ribotyping. The eMLVA scheme developed here provides insight into the genetic diversity of the C. difficile population at both global and cross-infection clusters in patient levels, with the possibility of replacing PCR ribotyping.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3523-30
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2011