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Characterization of the Taenia spp HDP2 sequence and development of a novel PCR-based assay for discrimination of Taenia saginata from Taenia asiatica

Luis M González1, Begoña Bailo1, Elizabeth Ferrer2, Maria D Fernandez García1, Leslie JS Harrison3, Michael RE Parkhouse4, Donald P McManus5 and Teresa Gárate1*

Author Affiliations

1 Parasitology Department, Centro Nacional de Microbiología, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, 28220 Majadahonda, Madrid, Spain

2 BIOMED and Parasitology Department, Universidad de Carabobo Sede Aragua, Maracay, Venezuela

3 Sir Alexander Robertson Building, The University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush Veterinary Centre, Easter Bush, Roslin, Midlothian, Scotland, EH25 9RG UK

4 Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia, R. Quinta Grande 6, Oerias, Portugal

5 Molecular Parasitology Laboratory, Australian Centre for International and Tropical Health, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, The Bancroft Centre, 300 Herston Road, Brisbane, Queensland 4029, Australia

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Parasites & Vectors 2010, 3:51  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-3-51

Published: 11 June 2010


A previously described Taenia saginata HDP2 DNA sequence, a 4-kb polymorphic fragment, was previously used as the basis for developing PCR diagnostic protocols for the species-specific discrimination of T. saginata from T. solium and for the differentiation of T. saginata from T. asiatica. The latter was shown subsequently to lack the required specificity, so we undertook genetic studies of the HDP2 sequence from T. saginata and T. asiatica to determine why, and to develop a novel HDP2-PCR protocol for the simultaneous unambiguous identification of human taeniids. Sequencing and further analysis of the HDP2 DNA fragments of 19 Asiatic isolates of T. saginata and T. asiatica indicated that the HDP2 sequences of both species exhibited clear genomic variability, due to polymorphic variable fragments, that could correspond to the non-transcribed region of ribosomal DNA. This newly observed polymorphism allowed us to develop a novel, reproducible and reliable HDP2-PCR protocol which permitted the simultaneous discrimination of all T. saginata and T. asiatica isolates examined. This species-specific identification was based on, and facilitated by, the clear size difference in amplicon profiles generated: fragments of 1300 bp, 600 bp and 300 bp were produced for T. asiatica, amplicons of 1300 bp and 300 bp being obtained for T. saginata. Control T. solium samples produced one amplicon of 600 bp with the HDP2-PCR protocol. The assay has the potential to prove useful as a diagnostic tool in areas such as South East Asia where T. saginata, T. asiatica and T. solium coexist.