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Int J Parasitol. 2009 May;39(6):675-81. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2008.11.011. Epub 2008 Dec 24.

Revised karyotyping and gene mapping of the Biomphalaria glabrata embryonic (Bge) cell line.

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Laboratory of Nuclear and Genomic Health, Centre for Cell and Chromosome Biology, Biosciences, School of Health Sciences and Social Care, Brunel University, West London UB8 3PH, UK.


The fresh water snail Biomphalaria glabrata (2n=36) belongs to the taxonomic class Gastropoda (family Planorbidae) and is integral to the spread of the human parasitic disease schistosomiasis. The importance of this mollusc is such that it has been selected as a model molluscan organism for whole genome sequencing. In order to understand the structure and organisation of the B. glabrata's genome it is important that gene mapping studies are established. Thus, we have studied the genomes of two B. glabrata embryonic (Bge) cell line isolates 1 and 2 grown in separate laboratories, but both derived from Eder L. Hansen's original culture from the 1970s. This cell line continues to be an important tool and model system for schistosomiasis and B. glabrata. Using these cell line isolates, we have investigated the genome content and established a revised karyotype based on chromosome size and centromere position for these cells. Unlike the original karyotype (2n=36) established for the cell line, our investigations now show the existence of extensive aneuploidy in both cell line isolates to the extent that the total complement of chromosomes in both greatly exceeds the original cell line's diploid number of 36 chromosomes. The isolates, designated Bge 1 and 2, had modal chromosome complements of 64 and 67, respectively (calculated from 50 metaphases). We found that the aneuploidy was most pronounced, for both isolates, amongst chromosomes of medium metacentric morphology. We also report, to our knowledge for the first time using Bge cells, the mapping of single-copy genes peroxiredoxin (BgPrx4) and P-element induced wimpy testis (piwi) onto Bge chromosomes. These B. glabrata genes were mapped onto pairs of homologous chromosomes using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Thus, we have now established a FISH mapping technique that can eventually be utilized for physical mapping of the snail genome.

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