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Open Access Research

Analysis of kinetoplast cytochrome b gene of 16 Leishmania isolates from different foci of China: different species of Leishmania in China and their phylogenetic inference

Bin-Bin Yang12, Da-Li Chen2, Jian-Ping Chen23*, Lin Liao2, Xiao-Su Hu2 and Jia-Nan Xu2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medical Laboratory, Weifang Medical University, #7166, The West Baotong street, Weifang, Shandong, 261053, China

2 Department of Parasitology, West China School of Preclinical and Forensic Medicine, Sichuan University, #17, The 3th Section of South Renmin Road, Chengdu, Sichuan, 610041, China

3 Animal Disease Prevention and Food Safety Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province, #24, The South 1st Section of Yihuan Road, Chengdu, Sichuan, 610041, China

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Parasites & Vectors 2013, 6:32  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-6-32

Published: 5 February 2013

Abstract

Background

Leishmania species belong to the family Trypanosomatidae and cause leishmaniasis, a geographically widespread disease that infects humans and other vertebrates. This disease remains endemic in China. Due to the large geographic area and complex ecological environment, the taxonomic position and phylogenetic relationship of Chinese Leishmania isolates remain uncertain. A recent internal transcribed spacer 1 and cytochrome oxidase II phylogeny of Chinese Leishmania isolates has challenged some aspects of their traditional taxonomy as well as cladistics hypotheses of their phylogeny. The current study was designed to provide further disease background and sequence analysis.

Methods

We systematically analyzed 50 cytochrome b (cyt b) gene sequences of 19 isolates (16 from China, 3 from other countries) sequenced after polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using a special primer for cyt b as well as 31 sequences downloaded from GenBank. After alignment, the data were analyzed using the maximum parsimony, Bayesian and netwok methods.

Results

Sequences of six haplotypes representing 10 Chinese isolates formed a monophyletic group and clustered with Leishmania tarentolae. The isolates GS1, GS7, XJ771 of this study from China clustered with other isolates of Leishmania donovani complex. The isolate JS1 was a sister to Leishmania tropica, which represented an L. tropica complex instead of clustering with L. donovani complex or with the other 10 Chinese isolates. The isolates KXG-2 and GS-GER20 formed a monophyletic group with Leishmania turanica from central Asia. In the different phylogenetic trees, all of the Chinese isolates occurred in at least four groups regardless of geographic distribution.

Conclusions

The undescribed Leishmania species of China, which are clearly causative agents of canine leishmaniasis and human visceral leishmaniasis and are related to Sauroleishmania, may have evolved from a common ancestral parasite that came from the Americas and may have split off earlier than the other old world Leishmania. Our results also suggest the following: the isolates GS7, GS1 and XJ771 occur as part of the L. donovani complex; the JS1 isolate is L. tropica; and the isolate GS-GER20 identified as Leishmania gerbilli is close to KXG-2 which is L. turanica.

Keywords:
Leishmania; Phylogeny; cyt b; China; Sauroleishmania