Polymorphisms in the ITS rDNA regions for differentiating strains of the Trichophyton mentagrophytes complex in Sfax-Tunisia



The Trichophyton mentagrophytes complex is the main cause of superficial mycoses in humans and animals. Molecular research has provided useful insights into the taxonomy of this complex to overcome the challenges with conventional diagnostics. The aim of this study was to identify, type and differentiate anthropophilic and zoophilic species of the T. mentagrophytes complex. Sixty clinical samples identified as T. mentagrophytes by morphological characteristics were isolated using polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism and sequence analysis of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions. The identification of our strains by conventional methods was confirmed using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) sequencing in 93.34% of the cases. The strains under investigation were recategorised as T. rubrum (Tr2711). In addition, PCR products were independently digested with the restriction endonucleases, MvaI and HinfI, to produce a single dominant profile for T. interdigitale. ITS sequence analysis revealed a polymorphism in the ITS1 and 5.8S regions. Analysis of the consensus sequences distinguished four types of genotypes among our T. interdigitale species. Moreover, ITS type I was the dominant genotype characterising the anthropophilic variant of T. interdigitale. The phylogenetic study showed that only 5% of our strains were zoophilic. PCR sequencing was useful for distinguishing anthropophilic and zoophilic species of T. interdigitale, in which the differentiation is relevant because it helps to prescribe the correct treatment and to identify the surrounding source of infection.