Project description:Kinetoplastid parasites of the Leishmania genus cause several forms of leishmaniasis. Leishmania species pathogenic to human are separated into two subgenera, Leishmania (Leishmania) and L. (Viannia). Species from the Viannia subgenus cause predominantly cutaneous leishmaniasis in Central and South America, occasionally leading to more severe clinical presentations. Although the genomes of several species of Leishmania have been sequenced to date, only one belongs to this rather different subgenus. Here we explore the unique features of the Viannia subgenus by sequencing and analyzing the genome of L. (Viannia) panamensis. Against a background of conservation in gene content and synteny, we found key differences at the genomic level that may explain the occurrence of molecular processes involving nucleic acid manipulation and differential modification of surface glycoconjugates. These differences may in part explain some phenotypic characteristics of the Viannia parasites, including their increased adaptive capacity and enhanced metastatic ability.
Project description:Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis is an important Leishmania species circulating in several Central and South American countries. Among Leishmania species circulating in Brazil, Argentina and Colombia, L. braziliensis has the highest genomic variability. However, genomic variability at the whole genome level has been only studied in Brazilian and Peruvian isolates; to date, no Colombian isolates have been studied. Considering that in Colombia, L. braziliensis is a species with great clinical and therapeutic relevance, as well as the role of genetic variability in the epidemiology of leishmaniasis, we analyzed and evaluated intraspecific genomic variability of L. braziliensis from Colombian and Bolivian isolates and compared them with Brazilian isolates. Twenty-one genomes were analyzed, six from Colombian patients, one from a Bolivian patient, and 14 Brazilian isolates downloaded from public databases. The results obtained of Phylogenomic analysis showed the existence of four well-supported clades, which evidenced intraspecific variability. The whole-genome analysis revealed structural variations in the somy, mainly in the Brazilian genomes (clade 1 and clade 3), low copy number variations, and a moderate number of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in all genomes analyzed. Interestingly, the genomes belonging to clades 2 and 3 from Colombia and Brazil, respectively, were characterized by low heterozygosity (~90% of SNP loci were homozygous) and regions suggestive of loss of heterozygosity (LOH). Additionally, we observed the drastic whole genome loss of heterozygosity and possible hybridization events in one genome belonging to clade 4. Unique/shared SNPs between and within the four clades were identified, revealing the importance of some of them in biological processes of L. braziliensis. Our analyses demonstrate high genomic variability of L. braziliensis in different regions of South America, mainly in Colombia and suggest that this species exhibits striking genomic diversity and a capacity of genomic hybridization; additionally, this is the first study to report whole-genome sequences of Colombian L. braziliensis isolates.
Project description:Leishmania (Viannia) panamensis is one of the most important Leishmania species associated with cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) in Latin America. Despite its wide geographic distribution and pathogenic potential in humans and animals, the genomic variability of this species is low compared with other Leishmania species circulating in the same geographical area. No studies have reported a detailed analysis of the whole genome of L. panamensis from clinical isolates using DNA high-throughput sequencing to clarify its intraspecific genomic variability or plausible divergence. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate the intraspecific genomic variability of L. panamensis from Colombia and Panama. A total of 22 genomes were analyzed, 19 from Colombian patients with CL and three genomes from Panama obtained from public databases. The phylogenomic analysis revealed the potential existence of three well-supported clades as evidence of intraspecific divergence. Additionally, the whole-genome analysis showed low structural variations in terms of ploidy, copy number variations, and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). SNPs shared among all clades were identified, revealing their importance in different biological processes of L. panamensis. The findings not only expand our knowledge of intraspecific genomic variability of one of the most important Leishmania species in South America but also highlights the possible existence of different clades/lineages/subpopulations across a geographic scale.
Project description:Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) is one of the multilocus enzymes used to identify Leishmania by zymodeme analysis. The polymorphic pattern revealed by partial characterization of the gene encoding G6PD generated molecular markers useful in the identification of different Leishmania species by PCR. Initially degenerate oligonucleotides were designed on the basis of data on the conserved active center described for other organisms. Primers for reverse transcription-PCR experiments, designed from the nucleotide sequence of the PCR product, enabled us to characterize the 5' and 3' untranslated regions and the G6PD open reading frame of reference strains of Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis, Leishmania (Viannia) guyanensis, Leishmania (Leishmania) mexicana, and Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis. Sets of paired primers were designed and used in PCR assays to discriminate between the parasites responsible for tegumentar leishmaniasis of the subgenera Leishmania (Leishmania) and Leishmania (Viannia) and to distinguish L. (Viannia) braziliensis from others organisms of the subgenus Leishmania (Viannia). No amplification products were detected for the DNA of Crithidia fasciculata, Trypanosoma cruzi, or Leishmania (Sauroleishmania) tarentolae or DNA from a healthy human control. The tests proved to be specific and were sensitive enough to detect parasites in human biopsy specimens. The successful discrimination of L. (Viannia) braziliensis from other parasites of the subgenus Leishmania (Viannia) opens the way to epidemiological studies in areas where more than one species of the subgenus Leishmania (Viannia) exist, such as Amazonia, as well as follow-up studies after chemotherapy and assessment of clinical prognoses.
Project description:The unicellular protozoan parasite Leishmania causes the neglected tropical disease leishmaniasis, affecting 12 million people in 98 countries. In South America, where the Viannia subgenus predominates, so far only L. (Viannia) braziliensis and L. (V.) panamensis have been sequenced, assembled and annotated as reference genomes. Addressing this deficit in molecular information can inform species typing, epidemiological monitoring and clinical treatment. Here, L. (V.) naiffi and L. (V.) guyanensis genomic DNA was sequenced to assemble these two genomes as draft references from short sequence reads. The methods used were tested using short sequence reads for L. braziliensis M2904 against its published reference as a comparison. This assembly and annotation pipeline identified 70 additional genes not annotated on the original M2904 reference. Phylogenetic and evolutionary comparisons of L. guyanensis and L. naiffi with 10 other Viannia genomes revealed four traits common to all Viannia: aneuploidy, 22 orthologous groups of genes absent in other Leishmania subgenera, elevated TATE transposon copies and a high NADH-dependent fumarate reductase gene copy number. Within the Viannia, there were limited structural changes in genome architecture specific to individual species: a 45?Kb amplification on chromosome 34 was present in all bar L. lainsoni, L. naiffi had a higher copy number of the virulence factor leishmanolysin, and laboratory isolate L. shawi M8408 had a possible minichromosome derived from the 3' end of chromosome 34. This combination of genome assembly, phylogenetics and comparative analysis across an extended panel of diverse Viannia has uncovered new insights into the origin and evolution of this subgenus and can help improve diagnostics for leishmaniasis surveillance.
Project description:Leishmania is a protozoan parasite causing several disease presentations collectively known as leishmaniasis. Pathogenic species of Leishmania are divided into two subgenera, L. (Leishmania) and L. (Viannia). Species belonging to the Viannia subgenus have only been reported in Central and South America. These species predominantly cause cutaneous leishmaniasis, but in some cases, parasites can migrate to the nasopharyngeal area and cause a highly disfiguring mucocutaneous presentation. Despite intensive efforts, no effective antileishmanial vaccine is available for use in humans, although a few candidates mainly designed for L. (Leishmania) species are now in clinical trials. After sequencing the genome of Leishmania panamensis, we noticed a high degree of sequence divergence among several orthologous proteins from both subgenera. Consequently, some of the previously published candidates may not work properly for species of the Viannia subgenus. To help in vaccine design, we predicted CD4+ and CD8+ T cell epitopes in the theoretical proteomes of four strains belonging to the Viannia subgenus. Prediction was performed with at least two independent bioinformatics tools, using the most frequent human major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and class II alleles in the affected geographic area. Although predictions resulted in millions of peptides, relatively few of them were predicted to bind to several MHC alleles and can therefore be considered promiscuous epitopes. Comparison of our results to previous applications to species of the Leishmania subgenus confirmed that approximately half of the reported candidates are not present in Viannia proteins with a threshold of 80% sequence similarity and coverage. However, our prediction methodology was able to predict 70-100% of the candidates that could be found in Viannia. All the prediction data generated in this study are publicly available in an interactive database called VianniaTopes.
Project description:This article contains the data regarding Leishmania species identification in human and canine clinical samples from a Brazilian region endemic for Leishmania (Viannia) spp., Leishmania (Leishmania) infantum and Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis, using a previously developed approach involving two qPCR assays (qPCR-ML and qPCR-ama). The data are related to the article "Real-time PCR to differentiate among Leishmania (Viannia) subgenus, Leishmania (Leishmania) infantum and Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis: application on Brazilian clinical samples" , and include also details of clinical evaluation/diagnosis of human patients and primer sequences used in the qPCR assays. The Leishmania species has been determined in 27 canine samples and 11 human samples, exploiting HRM analysis of qPCR-ML and Cq values of qPCR-ML and qPCR-ama, as reported previously . The qPCR data were in agreement with the species characterization obtained with other methods such as conventional species-specific PCR, ITS1 PCR-RFLP or DNA sequencing. Despite the limited number of clinical samples, these data are encouraging for a potential application in regions where L. (Viannia) spp., L. (L.) infantum and L. (L.) amazonensis are co-endemic.
Project description:Leishmania species of the subgenus Viannia and especially Leishmania braziliensis are responsible for a large proportion of New World leishmaniasis cases. The reproductive mode of Leishmania species has often been assumed to be predominantly clonal, but remains unsettled. We have investigated the genetic polymorphism at 12 microsatellite loci on 124 human strains of Leishmania braziliensis from 2 countries, Peru and Bolivia. There is substantial genetic diversity, with an average of 12.4 +/- 4.4 alleles per locus. There is linkage disequilibrium at a genome-wide scale, as well as a substantial heterozygote deficit (more than 50% the expected value from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium), which indicates high levels of inbreeding. These observations are inconsistent with a strictly clonal model of reproduction, which implies excess heterozygosity. Moreover, there is large genetic heterogeneity between populations within countries (Wahlund effect), which evinces a strong population structure at a microgeographic scale. Our findings are compatible with the existence of population foci at a microgeographic scale, where clonality alternates with sexuality of an endogamic nature, with possible occasional recombination events between individuals of different genotypes. These findings provide key clues on the ecology and transmission patterns of Leishmania parasites.
Project description:Parasitic protozoa of the flagellate order Kinetoplastida represent one of the deepest branches of the eukaryotic tree. Among this group of organisms, the mechanism of RNA interference (RNAi) has been investigated in Trypanosoma brucei and to a lesser degree in Leishmania (Viannia) spp. The pathway is triggered by long double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) and in T. brucei requires a set of five core genes, including a single Argonaute (AGO) protein, T. brucei AGO1 (TbAGO1). The five genes are conserved in Leishmania (Viannia) spp. but are absent in other major kinetoplastid species, such as Trypanosoma cruzi and Leishmania major. In T. brucei small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) are methylated at the 3' end, whereas Leishmania (Viannia) sp. siRNAs are not. Here we report that T. brucei HEN1, an ortholog of the metazoan HEN1 2'-O-methyltransferases, is required for methylation of siRNAs. Loss of TbHEN1 causes a reduction in the length of siRNAs. The shorter siRNAs in hen1(-/-) parasites are single stranded and associated with TbAGO1, and a subset carry a nontemplated uridine at the 3' end. These findings support a model wherein TbHEN1 methylates siRNA 3' ends after they are loaded into TbAGO1 and this methylation protects siRNAs from uridylation and 3' trimming. Moreover, expression of TbHEN1 in Leishmania (Viannia) panamensis did not result in siRNA 3' end methylation, further emphasizing mechanistic differences in the trypanosome and Leishmania RNAi mechanisms.
Project description:A precise identification of Leishmania species involved in human infections has epidemiological and clinical importance. Herein, we describe a preliminary validation of a restriction fragment length polymorphism assay, based on the calmodulin intergenic spacer region, as a tool for detecting and typing Leishmania species. After calmodulin amplification, the enzyme HaeIII yielded a clear distinction between reference strains of Leishmania mexicana, Leishmania amazonensis, Leishmania infantum, Leishmania lainsoni, and the rest of the Viannia reference species analyzed. The closely related Viannia species: Leishmania braziliensis, Leishmania panamensis, and Leishmania guyanensis, are separated in a subsequent digestion step with different restriction enzymes. We have developed a more accessible molecular protocol for Leishmania identification/typing based on the exploitation of part of the calmodulin gene. This methodology has the potential to become an additional tool for Leishmania species characterization and taxonomy.