This week in techniques



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Assays & screens

Sulfatase activity-based profiling for rapid identification of Mycobacterium species and strains

An assay for detecting bacterial sulfatase activity could enable rapid diagnosis of specific Mycobacterium infections. In bacterial culture lysates, a small molecule probe fluoresced upon reaction with multiple type I and type III sulfatases expressed in 15 Mycobacterium species and strains, including
M. tuberculosis. In the lysate of each species or strain, incubation of the probe followed by gel-based separation and fluorescence detection yielded distinct sulfatase activity profiles that enabled identification of the species or strain within 15 minutes. Ongoing work includes optimizing the sensitivity and specificity of the assay and using it to profile sulfatase activity of multidrug-resistant M. tuberculosis.

SciBX 6(32); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.871
Published online Aug. 22, 2013

Unpatented; unlicensed; available for partnering

Beatty, K.E. et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA; published online July 22, 2013;
Contact: Carolyn R. Bertozzi, University of California, Berkeley, Calif.