Fluorescence in situ hybridization with PNA probes (PNA-FISH) that target specific bacterial ribosomal RNA sequences is a powerful and rapid tool for identification of bacteria in clinical samples. PNA can diffuse readily through the bacterial cell wall due to its uncharged backbone, and PNA-FISH can be performed with high specificity due to the extraordinary thermal stability of RNA-PNA hybrid complexes. We describe a PNA-FISH procedure and provide examples of the application of PNA-FISH for the identification of bacteria in chronic wounds, cystic fibrosis lungs, and soft tissue fillers. In all these cases, bacteria can be identified in biofilm aggregates, which may explain their recalcitrance to antibiotic treatment.
Methods in Molecular Biology, 2014, Vol 1211, p. 261-71