Unravelling the bacterial vaginosis-associated biofilm: a multiplex Gardnerella vaginalis and Atopobium vaginae fluorescence in situ hybridization assay using Peptide Nucleic Acid probes

Liselotte Hardy, Vicky Jespers, Nassira Dahchour, Lambert Mwambarangwe, Viateur Musengamana, Mario Vaneechoutte, Tania Crucitti

    Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-article

    57 Downloads (Pure)


    Bacterial vaginosis (BV), a condition defined by increased vaginal discharge without significant inflammation, is characterized by a change in the bacterial composition of the vagina. Lactobacillus spp., associated with a healthy vaginal microbiome, are outnumbered by BV-associated organisms. These bacteria could form a polymicrobial biofilm which allows them to persist in spite of antibiotic treatment. In this study, we examined the presence of Gardnerella vaginalis and Atopobium vaginae in vaginal biofilms using Peptide Nucleic Acid (PNA) probes targeting these bacteria. For this purpose, we developed three new PNA probes for A. vaginae. The most specific A. vaginae probe, AtoITM1, was selected and then used in an assay with two existing probes, Gard162 and BacUni-1, to evaluate multiplex FISH on clinical samples. Using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) as the gold standard, we demonstrated a sensitivity of 66.7% (95% confidence interval: 54.5% - 77.1%) and a specificity of 89.4% (95% confidence interval: 76.1% - 96%) of the new AtoITM1 probe. FISH enabled us to show the presence of a polymicrobial biofilm in bacterial vaginosis, in which Atopobium vaginae is part of a Gardnerella vaginalis-dominated biofilm. We showed that the presence of this biofilm is associated with high bacterial loads of A. vaginae and G. vaginalis.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Issue number8
    Pages (from-to)e0136658
    Number of pages16
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    Dive into the research topics of 'Unravelling the bacterial vaginosis-associated biofilm: a multiplex<em> Gardnerella vaginalis</em> and <em>Atopobium vaginae</em> fluorescence<em> in situ</em> hybridization assay using Peptide Nucleic Acid probes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this