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Visceral leishmaniasis (VL), the most severe form of leishmaniasis, is caused by Leishmania donovani. In addition to fatal VL, these parasites also cause skin diseases in immune-competent and -suppressed people, post-kala azar dermal leishmaniasis (PKDL) and HIV/VL co-infections, respectively. Genetic polymorphism in 36 Ethiopian and Sudanese L. donovani strains from VL, PKDL and HIV/VL patients was examined using Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP), kDNA minicircle sequencing and Southern blotting. Strains were isolated from different patient tissues: in VL from lymph node, spleen or bone marrow; and in HIV/VL from skin, spleen or bone marrow. When VL and PKDL strains from the same region in Sudan were examined by Southern blotting using a DNA probe to the L. donovani 28S rRNA gene only minor differences were observed. kDNA sequence analysis distributed the strains in no particular order among four clusters (A - D), while AFLP analysis grouped the strains according to geographical origin into two major clades, Southern Ethiopia (SE) and Sudan/Northern Ethiopia (SD/NE). Strains in the latter clade were further divided into subpopulations by zymodeme, geography and year of isolation, but not by clinical symptoms. However, skin isolates showed significantly (p < 0.0001) fewer polymorphic AFLP fragments (average 10 strains = 348.6 ± 8.1) than VL strains (average 26 strains = 383.5 ± 3.8). Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Hanan T Jaber, Asrat Hailu, Francine Pratlong, Patrick Lami, Patrick Bastien, Charles L Jaffe. Analysis of genetic polymorphisms and tropism in East African Leishmania donovani by Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism and kDNA minicircle sequencing. Infection, genetics and evolution : journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases. 2018 Nov;65:80-90

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PMID: 30016714

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