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The interplay of DNA and lipid biomarkers in the detection of tuberculosis and leprosy in mummies and other skeletal remains

Minnikin, DE; Besra, GS; Lee, O-C; Spigelman, M; Donoghue, HD; (2011) The interplay of DNA and lipid biomarkers in the detection of tuberculosis and leprosy in mummies and other skeletal remains. In: Gill-Frerking, H and Rosendahl, W and Zink, A and Piombino-Mascasli, D, (eds.) Yearbook of mummy studies. (109 - 114). Verlag Dr. Friedrich Pfeil: München, Germany. Green open access

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Abstract

The detection of ancient DNA and lipid biomarkers has become established for the detection of tuberculosis and leprosy in archaeological material, including mummies. Recording the characteristic profiles of long-chain mycolic acids by fluorescence high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) has been developed to provide a highly specific method for the detection of ancient tuberculosis and leprosy. Initially, mycolate methylanthryl esters were analysed but these derivatives have been superseded by pyrenebutyric acid derivatives of pentafluorobenzyl esters. Long-chain compounds are released by an efficient non-aqueous alkaline extraction and acidic components are converted to stable pentafluorobenzyl esters, which can be preserved for immediate or future analysis. These long-chain components are fractionated into non-hydroxylated esters, mycolates and characteristic phthiocerols. The mycolate pyrenebutyrates are analyzed by fluorescence HPLC to produce profiles characteristic of mycobacterial disease. It is shown in this study that residual material from DNA determinations, on mainly Turkish and Hungarian skeletons, can be used for the detection of mycolic acid biomarkers for tuberculosis and leprosy. The correlation between DNA and mycolic acids biomarker results was not precise, confirming the importance of using complementary methods. In one particular Turkish skeleton, with poor DNA preservation, mycolic acid analysis supported pathological changes indicative of leprosy.

Type: Book chapter
Title: The interplay of DNA and lipid biomarkers in the detection of tuberculosis and leprosy in mummies and other skeletal remains
ISBN-13: 978-3-89937-137-6
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://www.pfeil-verlag.de/03arch/eymsd01.php
Keywords: ancient DNA, human remains, HPLC, leprosy, lipid biomarkers, PCR, tuberculosis
UCL classification: UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Infection and Immunity (Division of)
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1308096
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