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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America DOI:10.1073/pnas.1119540109

RNA signatures allow rapid identification of pathogens and antibiotic susceptibilities.

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsBarczak, AK, Gomez, JE, Kaufmann, BB, Hinson, ER, Cosimi, L, Borowsky, ML, Onderdonk, AB, Stanley, SA, Kaur, D, Bryant, KF, Knipe, DM, Sloutsky, A, Hung, DT
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Date Published2012/04/17

With rising rates of drug-resistant infections, there is a need for diagnostic methods that rapidly can detect the presence of pathogens and reveal their susceptibility to antibiotics. Here we propose an approach to diagnosing the presence and drug-susceptibility of infectious diseases based on direct detection of RNA from clinical samples. We demonstrate that species-specific RNA signatures can be used to identify a broad spectrum of infectious agents, including bacteria, viruses, yeast, and parasites. Moreover, we show that the behavior of a small set of bacterial transcripts after a brief antibiotic pulse can rapidly differentiate drug-susceptible and -resistant organisms and that these measurements can be made directly from clinical materials. Thus, transcriptional signatures could form the basis of a uniform diagnostic platform applicable across a broad range of infectious agents.