Genetic variability of Leishmania infantum in naturally infected dogs in the state of Bahia, Brazil

Variabilidade genética de Leishmania infantum em cães naturalmente infectados no estado da Bahia, Brasil

Fábio Santos Carvalho George Rêgo Albuquerque Paulo Luiz Souza Carneiro Amauri Arias Wenceslau About the authors

Abstract

In Brazil, Leishmania infantum mainly affects humans and dogs. The state of Bahia presents many dogs that are positive for this parasite. Despite the importance of epidemiology in this region, there are still very few studies that have assessed the genetic characteristics of L. infantum. The aim of this study is to investigate the genetic variability of L. infantum isolated identified in naturally infected dogs, in order to verify occurrence of subpopulation of this parasite in the different biomes existing in the state of Bahia. Thirty-two samples of L. infantum were analyzed, which were obtained isolated in dogs from the Mata Atlântica (rainforest), Caatinga (semi-arid scrub forest), and Cerrado (a vast tropical savannah eco-region) Bahia municipalities’ biomes. All animals presented with clinical changes suggestive of Leishmania spp. and they exhibited positive reactions to serological tests. kDNA analysis with RFLP markers revealed the presence of genetic variability and gene flow in subpopulations of L. infantum; samples from the Mata Atlântica areas were genetically more similar to those from the areas of Caatinga and they were less likely to resemble those of the Cerrado. This data may be used to investigate the dissemination of parasite in the canine population of state of Bahia.

Keywords:
Canine Leishmaniasis; PCR-RFLP; populations; enzyme; zoonosis

Resumo

No Brasil a Leishmania infantum afeta principalmente o homem e os cães. O estado da Bahia apresenta elevado número de cães positivos por este parasito. Apesar da importância epidemiologia para a região, ainda há poucos estudos que avaliam as características genéticas de L. infantum. Objetivou-se com este estudo investigar a variabilidade genética de cepas de L. infantum identificadas em cães naturalmente infectados, a fim de verificar a ocorrência de sobpopulações do parasito nos diferentes biomas existentes no estado da Bahia. Foram analisadas 32 amostras de L. infantum isoladas em cães de municípios baianos distribuídos nos biomas Mata Atlântica, Caatinga e Cerrado. Todos os animais apresentavam alterações clínicas sugestivas de Leishmania spp. e reação positiva em exames sorológicos. A análise do kDNA com marcadores RFLP revelaram a presença de variabilidade genética e fluxo gênico nas subpopulações de L. infantum sendo que as amostras das áreas de Mata Atlântica foram geneticamente mais semelhantes as das áreas de Caatinga e foram mais distantes daquelas oriundas do Cerrado. Estas informações podem auxiliar em investigações de dispersão do parasito na população canino do Estado da Bahia.

Palavras-chave:
Leishmaniose canina; PCR-RFLP; populações; enzima; zoonose

Introduction

In Brazil, Leishmania infantum is responsible for cases of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) and it affects thousands of people every year (WHO, 2015World Health Organization – WHO. Leishmaniasis [online]. 2015 [cited 2015 Dec 1]. Available from: http://apps.who.int/neglected_diseases/ntddata/leishmaniasis/leishmaniasis.html.
http://apps.who.int/neglected_diseases/n...
; DANTAS-TORRES & OTRANTO, 2014Dantas-Torres F, Otranto D. Dogs, cats, parasites, and humans in Brazil: opening the black box. Parasit Vectors 2014; 7(1): 22. PMid:24423244. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1756-3305-7-22.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1756-3305-7-22...
). The number of infected dogs is also high and can vary according to the region studied (LEÇA et al., 2015Leça NF Jr, Guedes PEB, Santana LN, Almeida VA, Carvalho FS, Albuquerque GR, et al. Epidemiology of canine leishmaniasis in southern Bahia, Brazil. Acta Trop 2015; 148: 115-119. PMid:25917715. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actatropica.2015.04.008.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actatropica....
; CARVALHO et al., 2015Carvalho FS, Wenceslau AA, Albuquerque GR, Munhoz AD, Gross E, Carneiro HC, et al. Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis in dogs in Brazil: epidemiology, co-infection, and clinical aspects. Genet Mol Res 2015; 14(4): 12062-12073. PMid:26505353. http://dx.doi.org/10.4238/2015.October.5.19.
http://dx.doi.org/10.4238/2015.October.5...
; OLIVEIRA et al., 2016Oliveira TNA, Guedes PEB, Souza GB, Carvalho FS, Alberto Carlos RS, Albuquerque GR, et al. Diagnosis and epidemiology of canine leishmaniasis in southeastern Bahia, Brazil. Genet Mol Res 2016; 15(3): 210. PMid:27706707. http://dx.doi.org/10.4238/gmr.15038684.
http://dx.doi.org/10.4238/gmr.15038684...
). These infected dogs, when infected by L. infantum, pose numerous risks to public health (DANTAS-TORRES, 2007Dantas-Torres F. The role of dogs as reservoirs of Leishmania parasites, with emphasis on Leishmania (Leishmania) infantum and Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis. Vet Parasitol 2007; 149(3-4): 139-146. PMid:17703890. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2007.07.007.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2007....
). However, there are few studies about the genetic profile of this parasite, and occurrence of subpopulations in the differents ecosystems of states of Bahia.

The use of molecular techniques represents an alternative for the early and accurate identification of the Leishmania spp. present in animals, and they still facilitate studies of their genetic structure (BANETH et al., 2008Baneth G, Koutinas AF, Solano-Gallego L, Bourdeau P, Ferrer L. Canine Leishmaniosis-new concepts and insights on an expanding zoonosis: part one. Trends Parasitol 2008; 24(7): 324-330. PMid:18514028. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pt.2008.04.001.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pt.2008.04.0...
; MIRÓ et al., 2008Miró G, Cardoso L, Pennisi MG, Oliva G, Baneth G. Canine leishmaniosis: new concepts and insights on an expanding zoonosis: part two. Trends Parasitol 2008; 24(8): 371-377. PMid:18603476. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pt.2008.05.003.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pt.2008.05.0...
). Different regions of the genetic code of the parasite can be analyzed by using several different genetic markers. Polymerase chain reaction restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) analysis techniques have allowed the identification and evaluation of the genetic structure of populations and strains of Leishmania spp., revealing the presence of different genotypes and polymorphisms in strains isolated in Brazil and in Europe (CORTES et al., 2006Cortes S, Maurício I, Almeida A, Cristóvão JM, Pratlong F, Dedet JP, et al. Application of kDNA as a molecular marker to analyse Leishmania infantum diversity in Portugal. Parasitol Int 2006; 55(4): 277-283. PMid:16959531. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.parint.2006.07.003.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.parint.2006....
; ALONSO et al., 2010Alonso DP, Costa DL, Mendonça IL, Costa CHN, Ribolla PEM. Heterogeneity of Leishmania infantum chagasi Kinetoplast DNA in Teresina (Brazil). Am J Trop Med Hyg 2010; 82(5): 819-821. PMid:20439961. http://dx.doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.2010.09-0600.
http://dx.doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.2010.09-...
). These factors, may be attributed to known genetic events, as well as, external environmental pressures (LAINSON & SHAW, 1987Lainson R, Shaw JJ. Evolution, classification and geographical distribution. In: Peters W, Killick-Krendrick R, editors. The Leishmaniasis in Biology and Medicine. New York: Academic Press; 1987. p. 1-120.).

The obtaining epidemiological information as much as genetics are essential to understanding of parasite's biology, and dinamic of disease, as well as to stimulate the realize of new studies and methodological development which allow a greater control of dissemination of parasite, in animals and humans for competent public authorities.

The aim of this study was to investigate the genetic variability of L. infantum isolated present in naturally infected dogs by using the PCR-RFLP technique, in order to verify occurrence of subpopulation of parasite in the different biomes existing in the state of Bahia.

Materials and Methods

Thirty-two isolated of L. infantum identified in dogs in municipalities of the state of Bahia were studied and they were found to present different geo-climatic characteristics. A total of 5 mL of blood was obtained from dogs presenting with the clinical signs for L. infantum, and their serological reactions in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and PCR tests were positive for infection with this parasite. The genomic DNA was obtained from 500 µL of whole blood with added extraction buffer (20 mM Tris, 50 mM EDTA, 5 μg/mL of K, and sodium dodecyl sulfate [SDS] proteinase 1%), and it was kept at 60°C for 80 min. The samples were purified with phenol: chloroform: active amyl alcohol at a ratio of 25:24:1 (Invitrogen®), precipitated with 100% ethanol and 5 M ammonium acetate (SAMBROOK et al., 1989Sambrook J, Fritsch EF, Maniatis T. Molecular cloning: a laboratory manual. 2nd ed. New York: Cold Spring Harbor; 1989.). The samples were quantified in NanoDrop2000 (Thermo Fisher Scientific, Waltham, MA, USA), standardized and amplified with 10 pmoles of specific primers MC1 5' - GTTAGCCGATGGTGGTCTTG-3´ and MC2 5' - CACCCATTTTTCCGATTTTG-3' (CORTES et al., 2006Cortes S, Maurício I, Almeida A, Cristóvão JM, Pratlong F, Dedet JP, et al. Application of kDNA as a molecular marker to analyse Leishmania infantum diversity in Portugal. Parasitol Int 2006; 55(4): 277-283. PMid:16959531. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.parint.2006.07.003.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.parint.2006....
), 2 mM of MgCl2, 1.5 U of Taq DNA polimerase (Ivintrogen®), 2.5% of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), and 100 ng of the genomic DNA in a final volume of 50 µL submitted to 35 cycles and held at a annealing temperature of 60°C. Then, the amplicons obtained were purified with a Purelink™ kit (Invitrogen®) according to the manufacturer's protocol. Subsequently, they were subjected to digestion with enzymes BgL II RsaI (AflI), DdeI, VspI (AseI), Bme1390 (BssKI), HapII, and HaeIII. For the digestion reaction buffer at 1X, 2 U of enzyme and approximately 100 ng of amplicon were used. The results were viewed in 3.5% agarose gel and stained with Syber® Safe DNA Gel Stain. The results were analyzed with the LabImage® ID program. The control samples of L. infantum were provided by the Leishmania Collection of the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz (CLIOC) and Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG) (Table 1). The obtained restriction patterns were analyzed with the TFPGA program version 1.3 (MILLER, 1997Miller MP. Tools for Population Genetic Analysis (TFPGA), 1.3: a Windows program for the analysis of allozyme and molecular population genetic data. Distributed by the author; 1997.) by adopting Nei’s coefficient (NEI, 1972Nei M. Genetic distance between populations. Am Nat 1972; 106(949): 283-292. http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/282771.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/282771...
). The Neighbor-joining method, with 10,000 bootstrap replications, was used in the cluster analysis. This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Animal Use - CEUA/UESC under protocol number 018/12 and followed the guidelines established by the Brazilian College of Animal Experimentation (COBEA), Federal Law 11.794.

Table 1
References isolated of Leishmania infantum provided by Instituto Oswaldo Cruz and Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais.

Results and Discussion

The samples that were positive for L. infantum were distributed in the Mata Atlântica (28.12%), Caatinga (56.25%), and Cerrado (15.62%) biomes. The isolated were identical when examined with the BgLII, HapII, and HaeIII enzymes. However, during the analysis with the DdeI, AflI, BsspK, and AseI enzymes, different electrophoretic patterns were identified (Table 1).

The subpopulations of L. infantum that were studied in this investigation presented with 17 polymorphic loci in all 21 that were analyzed (Table 2). Eleven genotypic profiles were identified, the most frequent of which were classified as Brazil A (BrA = 57.57%), Brazil B (BrB = 12.12%), and Brazil C (BrC = 12.12%). Some of these genotypes profiles are present in all of the analyzed biomes, while others were exclusive to certain biomes. The Caatinga and Cerrado biomes, presented greatest genotype diversity compared to areas of Mata Atlântica. Some genotypes observed in samples of L. infantum, present in areas of Caatinga has already been reported in isolated parasite, studied in others regions (CORTES et al., 2006Cortes S, Maurício I, Almeida A, Cristóvão JM, Pratlong F, Dedet JP, et al. Application of kDNA as a molecular marker to analyse Leishmania infantum diversity in Portugal. Parasitol Int 2006; 55(4): 277-283. PMid:16959531. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.parint.2006.07.003.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.parint.2006....
; ALVARENGA, 2007Alvarenga JSC. Estudo da variabilidade genética inter e intra-específica de Leishmania (Leishmania) chagasi (Cunha & Chagas, 1937) e Leishmania (Leishmania) infantum (Nicolle, 1908) [Tese]. Belo Horizonte: Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais; 2007.; ALONSO et al., 2010Alonso DP, Costa DL, Mendonça IL, Costa CHN, Ribolla PEM. Heterogeneity of Leishmania infantum chagasi Kinetoplast DNA in Teresina (Brazil). Am J Trop Med Hyg 2010; 82(5): 819-821. PMid:20439961. http://dx.doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.2010.09-0600.
http://dx.doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.2010.09-...
).

Table 2
Fragment patterns obtained after enzymatic digestion of amplicom (MC1/MC2) in Leishmania infantum. The results are expressed in cut patterns obtained for each enzyme and its respective identified loci.

When analyzing the behavior of the samples of L. infantum in relation to the studied biomes, one notes intense gene flow and little genetic structuring in subpopulations with a value of FST = 0.0122 (Figure 1).

Figure 1
Dendrogram generated from the genotypes identified in the Bahia biomes presenting two main groups and intense correlation of isolated Leishmania infantum and studied biomes. MT – Mata Atlântica; CA – Caatinga; EC – Cerrado in the state of Bahia.

In Brazil L. infantum is commonly identified in areas of dry climate and with relief composed of valleys and mountains, although it has already been registered the presence of these parasites in large urban centers and coastal areas in the northeast (COURA-VITAL et al., 2011Coura-Vital W, Marques MJ, Veloso VM, Roatt BM, Aguiar-Soares RDO, Reis LES, et al. Prevalence and factors associated with Leishmania infantum infection of dogs from an urban area of Brazil as identified by molecular methods. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2011; 5(8): e1291. PMid:21858243. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0001291.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0...
; DIAS et al., 2011Dias ES, Regina-Silva S, França-Silva JC, Paz GF, Michalsky EM, Araújo SC, et al. Eco-epidemiology of visceral leishmaniasis in the urban area of Paracatu, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Vet Parasitol 2011; 176(2-3): 101-111. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2010.11.014.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2010....
; BRASIL, 2014Brasil. Ministério da Saúde. Manual de vigilância e controle da Leishmaniose Visceral. Brasilia: MS; 2014.). It was possible to verify the existence of a unique L. infantum population with genetic variability and gene flow in the Leishmania isolated identified in dogs of different Bahia biomes. These data differ from those found by Alonso et al. (2010)Alonso DP, Costa DL, Mendonça IL, Costa CHN, Ribolla PEM. Heterogeneity of Leishmania infantum chagasi Kinetoplast DNA in Teresina (Brazil). Am J Trop Med Hyg 2010; 82(5): 819-821. PMid:20439961. http://dx.doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.2010.09-0600.
http://dx.doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.2010.09-...
, that using PCR-RFLP identified homogeneous standards and reduced genetic variability in strains of L. infantum obtained in Teresina, located in the Caatinga region. Factors such as carrying out transference of cultures, the scientific methodology adopted, the region where the DNA was obtained, and the genetic marker used can contribute to such divergent responses.

With respect to Leishmania spp., genetic isoenzymatic markers (multilocus enzyme electrophoresis [MLEE]) are commonly used, and although they share a co-dominant character, they feature limitations as they are influenced by intrinsic cellular processes involved in the production of enzymes and cellular proteins; thus, they may not accurately reflect the specific genetic sequence (BAÑULS et al., 1999Bañuls AL, Jonquieres R, Guerrini F, Le-Pont F, Barrera C, Espinel I, et al. Genetic analysis of Leishmania parasites in Ecuador: are Leishmania (Viannia) panamensis and Leishmania (V.) guyanensis distinct taxa? Am J Trop Med Hyg 1999; 61(5): 838-845. PMid:10586922. http://dx.doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.1999.61.838.
http://dx.doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.1999.61....
; QUISPE TINTAYA et al., 2004Quispe Tintaya KW, Ying X, Dedet JP, Rijal S, De Bolle X, Dujardin JC. Antigen genes for molecular epidemiology of leishmaniasis: polymorphism of cysteine proteinase B and surface metalloprotease glycoprotein 63 in the Leishmania donovani complex. J Infect Dis 2004; 189(6): 1035-1043. PMid:14999607. http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/382049.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/382049...
).

Recently, other co-dominant markers, such as PCR-RFLP and microsatellites, have enabled the identification of genetic variability in the genome of strains of L. infantum, even in those strains grouped in the same zymodeme and isolated in the same region (BAÑULS et al., 1999Bañuls AL, Jonquieres R, Guerrini F, Le-Pont F, Barrera C, Espinel I, et al. Genetic analysis of Leishmania parasites in Ecuador: are Leishmania (Viannia) panamensis and Leishmania (V.) guyanensis distinct taxa? Am J Trop Med Hyg 1999; 61(5): 838-845. PMid:10586922. http://dx.doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.1999.61.838.
http://dx.doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.1999.61....
; CORTES et al., 2006Cortes S, Maurício I, Almeida A, Cristóvão JM, Pratlong F, Dedet JP, et al. Application of kDNA as a molecular marker to analyse Leishmania infantum diversity in Portugal. Parasitol Int 2006; 55(4): 277-283. PMid:16959531. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.parint.2006.07.003.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.parint.2006....
; KUHLS et al., 2008Kuhls K, Chicharro C, Cañavate C, Cortes S, Campino L, Haralambous C, et al. Differentiation and Gene Flow among European Populations of Leishmania infantum MON-1. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2008; 2(7): e261. PMid:18612461. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0000261.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0...
; ALVARENGA et al., 2012Alvarenga JSC, Ligeiro CM, Gontijo CMF, Cortes S, Campino L, Vago AR, et al. KDNA Genetic signatures obtained by LSSP-PCR analysis of Leishmania (Leishmania) infantum isolated from the new and the old world. PLoS One 2012; 7(8): e43363. PMid:22912862. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0043363.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0...
).

The cluster analysis performed here revealed a group that tested positive for genetically similar strains of L. infantum, while in others strains the occurrence of genetic variability is observed. Samples obtained from the Mata Atlântica regions grouped with greater affinity than those obtained in the Caatinga biome. This may reflect the closeness between these biomes and the fact that these transition areas interact, which can contribute to the circulation of vectors and parasites, while maintaining the genetic flow among the strains of L. infantum

In other groupings, there is the approximation of strains of L. infantum that were derived from the Caatinga and Cerrado regions. These biomes also share common areas and characteristics (such as temperature and similar rainfalls), which may favor the presence of the parasites and their vectors.

The presence of the Caatinga biome in the northeastern region of Brazil promotes greater geographic distance between strains that are present in coastal areas with those in the Cerrado regions. Geophysical factors, such as the presence of the São Francisco River and high-altitude areas (such as Chapada Diamantina, which are mainly comprised of the Serra do Sincorá, Barbado, Mangabeira, and Espinhaço), which are present in the Caatinga biome, can act as limiting factors in the dissemination of vectors and strains of L. infantum, consequently resulting in greater species distinction and isolation. These factors may be contributing to greater genetic variability, as well as to the increasing number of genotypes identified (Figure 2).

Figure 2
Map of the state of Bahia with their respective biomes and genotypes of Leishmania infantum identified.

When analyzing the grouping of reference strains, the formation of a homogenous block including samples from the states of Bahia, Sergipe, and Espírito Santo was found. In another group, this finding was evident in samples from Bahia, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso do Sul, and Bolivia. The genotypic proximity of isolated strains in Brazil and those of Bolivia corroborate the findings of studies that have shown the dissemination of strains of L. infantum following construction of the Northwest Railway, the Vitória-Corumbá highway, and the Bolivia Brazil gas pipeline in the 1990s (CARDIM et al., 2013Cardim MFM, Rodas LA, Dibo MR, Guirado MM, Oliveira AM, Chiaravalloti-Neto F. Introdução e expansão da Leishmaniose visceral americana em humanos no estado de São Paulo, 1999-2011. Rev Saude Publica 2013; 47(4): 691-700. PMid:24346660. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-8910.2013047004454.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-8910.201...
). Spatial and temporal analyses carried out by Antonialli et al. (2007)Antonialli SAC, Torres TG, Paranhos AC Fo, Tolezano JE. Spatial analysis of American Visceral Leishmaniasis in Mato Grosso do Sul State, Central Brazil. J Infect 2007; 54(5): 509-514. PMid:16979241. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jinf.2006.08.004.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jinf.2006.08...
demonstrate the dissemination of and increases in cases of VL toward the west and east, primarily involving the states of Mato Grosso do Sul and São Paulo. In the regions of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais there is no Caatinga biome and the relationship between the coastline and the areas of Cerrado becomes narrow, which can justify the proximity between some strains isolated in these environments.

Although we didactically suggest the presence of three subpopulations, the value of Fst near to zero shows intense genetic flow among the analyzed samples. This likely occurred due to the clonal profile of strains of L. infantum, as well as to the intense traffic of people and dogs, which are possibly infected, between the municipalities of the studied areas. The largest number of genotypes identified in the Caatinga biome (Figure 2) can indicate the center of origin of L. infantum, which then disseminated to other areas of Bahia, although the colonization process (which took place more than 500 years ago) began in the Bahia foreshore and in other areas of Brazil’s northeast. A bottleneck effect, rare mechanisms of exchange of genetic material, small mutations (TIBAYRENC & AYALA, 1999Tibayrenc M, Ayala FJ. Evolutionary genetics of Trypanosoma and Leishmania. Microbes Infect 1999; 1(6): 465-472. PMid:10602679. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1286-4579(99)80050-1.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1286-4579(99)...
; LYTHGOE, 2000Lythgoe KA. The coevolution of parasites with host-acquired immunity and the evolution of sex. Evolution 2000; 54(4): 1142-1156. PMid:11005284. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0014-3820.2000.tb00550.x.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0014-3820.20...
; VICTOIR & DUJARDIN, 2002Victoir K, Dujardin JC. How to succeed in parasitic life without sex? Asking Leishmania. Trends Parasitol 2002; 18(2): 81-85. PMid:11832299. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1471-4922(01)02199-7.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1471-4922(01)...
), and evidence of sexual reproduction (KREUTZER et al., 1994Kreutzer RD, Yemma JJ, Grogl M, Tesh RB, Martin TI. Evidence of sexual reproduction in the protozoan parasite Leishmania (Kinetoplastida: Trypanosomatidae). Am J Trop Med Hyg 1994; 51(3): 301-307. PMid:7943548. http://dx.doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.1994.51.301.
http://dx.doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.1994.51....
; AKOPYANTS et al., 2009Akopyants NS, Kimblin N, Secundino N, Patrick R, Peters N, Lawyer P, et al. Demonstration of genetic exchange during cyclical development of Leishmania in the sand fly vector. Science 2009; 324(5924): 265-268. PMid:19359589. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1169464.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.116946...
) can also justify the value of Fst and the variability found in the studied strains.

Some restriction patterns obtained in this research were identical to the ones found in other studies conducted on L. infantum that were already carried out in Brazil and Portugal (CORTES et al., 2006Cortes S, Maurício I, Almeida A, Cristóvão JM, Pratlong F, Dedet JP, et al. Application of kDNA as a molecular marker to analyse Leishmania infantum diversity in Portugal. Parasitol Int 2006; 55(4): 277-283. PMid:16959531. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.parint.2006.07.003.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.parint.2006....
; ALVARENGA, 2007Alvarenga JSC. Estudo da variabilidade genética inter e intra-específica de Leishmania (Leishmania) chagasi (Cunha & Chagas, 1937) e Leishmania (Leishmania) infantum (Nicolle, 1908) [Tese]. Belo Horizonte: Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais; 2007.; ALONSO et al., 2010Alonso DP, Costa DL, Mendonça IL, Costa CHN, Ribolla PEM. Heterogeneity of Leishmania infantum chagasi Kinetoplast DNA in Teresina (Brazil). Am J Trop Med Hyg 2010; 82(5): 819-821. PMid:20439961. http://dx.doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.2010.09-0600.
http://dx.doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.2010.09-...
). Three genotypes obtained in the Bahia samples were identical to the ones found in samples of L. infantum isolated from dogs in Portugal and in other countries (CORTES et al., 2006Cortes S, Maurício I, Almeida A, Cristóvão JM, Pratlong F, Dedet JP, et al. Application of kDNA as a molecular marker to analyse Leishmania infantum diversity in Portugal. Parasitol Int 2006; 55(4): 277-283. PMid:16959531. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.parint.2006.07.003.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.parint.2006....
). The genotypical profile E (BrJ) shares similarities to the samples from Brazil and Portugal; while G (BrI) was identified in samples of Portugal, Sudan, and Ethiopia; and O (BrF) was found in isolated samples from Malta (CORTES et al., 2006Cortes S, Maurício I, Almeida A, Cristóvão JM, Pratlong F, Dedet JP, et al. Application of kDNA as a molecular marker to analyse Leishmania infantum diversity in Portugal. Parasitol Int 2006; 55(4): 277-283. PMid:16959531. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.parint.2006.07.003.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.parint.2006....
). These data corroborate the previously available data on the dissemination of the parasite among continents (WHO, 2015World Health Organization – WHO. Leishmaniasis [online]. 2015 [cited 2015 Dec 1]. Available from: http://apps.who.int/neglected_diseases/ntddata/leishmaniasis/leishmaniasis.html.
http://apps.who.int/neglected_diseases/n...
), and they provide further support for the type of asexual reproduction used by the parasite (TIBAYRENC et al., 1993Tibayrenc M, Neubauer K, Barnabé C, Guerrini F, Skarecky D, Ayala F. Genetic characterization of six parasitic protozoa: Parity between random-primer DNA typing and multilocus enzyme electrophoresis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1993; 90(4): 1335-1339. PMid:8433991. http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.90.4.1335.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.90.4.1335...
; TIBAYRENC & AYALA, 1999Tibayrenc M, Ayala FJ. Evolutionary genetics of Trypanosoma and Leishmania. Microbes Infect 1999; 1(6): 465-472. PMid:10602679. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1286-4579(99)80050-1.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1286-4579(99)...
)

However, the genotypes generated by BssKI, RsaI, and AseI presented with atypical patterns to those found in Portugal and Minas Gerais, Brazil (CORTES et al., 2006Cortes S, Maurício I, Almeida A, Cristóvão JM, Pratlong F, Dedet JP, et al. Application of kDNA as a molecular marker to analyse Leishmania infantum diversity in Portugal. Parasitol Int 2006; 55(4): 277-283. PMid:16959531. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.parint.2006.07.003.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.parint.2006....
; ALVARENGA, 2007Alvarenga JSC. Estudo da variabilidade genética inter e intra-específica de Leishmania (Leishmania) chagasi (Cunha & Chagas, 1937) e Leishmania (Leishmania) infantum (Nicolle, 1908) [Tese]. Belo Horizonte: Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais; 2007.). In this study, the HaeIII enzyme was employed for the first time, although it cleaved the DNA sequence of L. infantum into two fragments; this revealed a homogeneous pattern between the samples and the controls analyzed. Atypical genotypes may represent important changes in the kDNA molecule of Leishmania due to the genetic and population processes already mentioned above. Such changes can promote adaptive advantages to certain individuals or subpopulations of parasites in different biomes.

Conclusion

The Leishmania infantum strains that were naturally isolated in dogs showed intense genetic variability and gene flow among the strains, revealing the presence of a single population of parasites, although variations occurred in the kDNA regions studied. It was not possible to determine specific patterns in the strains of L. infantum studied herein, which would have enabled correlations to be made with the biomes studied.

Acknowledgements

The Leishmania Collection of the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz (Dra. Elisa Cupolillo), providing the positive controls for the species of Leishmania spp.

Animal owners and coordinators of CCZ’s and NGO’s contributing to this study.

Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz (UESC), granting the physical space, laboratory and equipment.

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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    10 July 2017
  • Date of issue
    Jul-Sep 2017

History

  • Received
    30 Jan 2017
  • Accepted
    29 May 2017
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