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Parasitol Int. 2010 Mar;59(1):75-81. doi: 10.1016/j.parint.2009.10.010. Epub 2009 Nov 4.

Identification of an avirulent Entamoeba histolytica strain with unique tRNA-linked short tandem repeat markers.

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  • 1Department of Parasitology, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, 1-23-1 Toyama, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8640, Japan.


Highly polymorphic, non-coding short tandem repeats (STR) are scattered between the tRNA genes in Entamoeba histolytica in a unique tandemly arrayed organization. STR markers that correlate with the virulence of individual E. histolytica strains have recently been reported. Here we evaluated the usefulness of tRNA-linked STR loci as genetic markers in identifying virulent and avirulent strains of E. histolytica from 37 Japanese E. histolytica samples (12 diarrheic/dysenteric, 20 amebic liver abscess (ALA), and 5 asymptomatic cases). Twenty three genotypes, assigned by combining the STR sequence types from all 6 STR loci, were identified. One to 8 new STR sequence types per locus were also discovered. Genotypes found in asymptomatic isolates were highly polymorphic (4 out of 5 genotypes were unique to this group), while in symptomatic isolates, almost half of the genotypes were shared between diarrhea/dysentery and ALA. One asymptomatic isolate (KU27) showed unique STR patterns in 4 loci. This strain, though associated with the typical pathogenic zymodeme II, failed to induce amebic liver abscess by animal challenge, which suggests that inherently avirulent E. histolytica strains exist, that are associated with unique genotypes. Furthermore, STR genotyping and in vivo challenge of 2 other asymptomatic isolates (KU14 and KU26) verified the covert virulence of these strains.

Copyright 2009. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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