Sulfatase-activated fluorophores for rapid discrimination of mycobacterial species and strains

K E Beatty, Benjamin Swarts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Most current diagnostic tests for tuberculosis do not reveal the species or strain of pathogen causing pulmonary infection, which can lead to inappropriate treatment regimens and the spread of disease. Here, we report an assay for mycobacterial strain assignment based on genetically conserved mycobacterial sulfatases. We developed a sulfatase-activated probe, 7-hydroxy-9H-(1,3-dichloro-9,9-dimethylacridin-2-one)-sulfate, that detects enzyme activity in native protein gels, allowing the rapid detection of sulfatases in mycobacterial lysates. This assay revealed that mycobacterial strains have distinct sulfatase fingerprints that can be used to judge both the species and lineage. Our results demonstrate the potential of enzyme-activated probes for rapid pathogen discrimination for infectious diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12911--12916
JournalProc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A.
Issue number32
StatePublished - 2013


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