Analysis of ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer sequences of the Leishmania donovani complex

Kuhls, K; Mauricio, IL; Pratlong, F; Presber, W; Schonian, G; (2005) Analysis of ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer sequences of the Leishmania donovani complex. Microbes and infection / Institut Pasteur, 7 (11-12). pp. 1224-1234. ISSN 1286-4579 DOI:

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To understand phylogenetic relationships of species and strains within the Leishmania donovani complex, we have analyzed the ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences of 27 Leishmania infantum, 2 Leishmania chagasi, 18 L. donovani and 5 Leishmania archibaldi strains of different zymodemes and geographical origin. Eight ITS sequence types were found. All detected sequence variation within ITS1 and ITS2 was based on 12 polymorphic microsatellites. The L. infantum strains from the Mediterranean region, China and L. chagasi from the New World formed a phylogenetic group well separated from the second main group including all strains from East Africa and India. Within the latter group three distinct phylogenetic subgroups could be differentiated: (1) L. donovani (Sudan/Ethiopia, China) + L. archibaldi (Sudan), (2) L. donovani (Sudan/Ethiopia) + L. infantum (Sudan) + L. archibaldi (Sudan/Ethiopia), and (3) L. donovani (Kenya, India). These groups are not consistent with previous species definitions based on isoenzyme analyses, e.g. L. infantum is polyphyletic and L. archibaldi is not supported as a distinct species. Two groups of Indian strains could be differentiated, one of which has an identical sequence type to the strains from Kenya. Three main lineages of strains can thus be differentiated in East Africa: two quite distantly related groups of strains from Sudan/Ethiopia, and a third group including all strains from Kenya, which is more closely related to part of the Indian strains than to any of the Sudanese/Ethiopian groups. The ITS sequence analysis presented here supports the need for revision of the taxonomy of the L. donovani complex. (c) 2005 Elsevier SAS. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Leishmania infantum, Leishinania archibaldi, Leishmania donovani, molecular markers, microsatellites, ribosomal internal transcribed, spacer, taxonomy, molecular systematics, Visceral leishmaniasis, molecular epidemiology, genus leishmania, clinical-samples, old-world, canine leishmaniasis, eastern sudan, identification, polymorphism, population
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Pathogen Molecular Biology
Research Centre: Leishmaniasis Group
PubMed ID: 16002315
Web of Science ID: 233099800007


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