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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 1993 Nov;62(1):37-44.

Two more independent selectable markers for stable transfection of Leishmania.

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Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115.


Genetic transformation of Leishmania has relied upon two exogenous selectable markers, neo and hyg, encoding resistance to G418 and hygromycin B respectively. There is a need for multiple independent selectable markers, since Leishmania is diploid and experimental sexual crosses are not currently feasible. Here we report on the development of two additional markers: pac, conferring resistance to the glycopeptide antibiotic puromycin, and phleo, conferring resistance to the DNA-binding drug phleomycin. We constructed a set of four analogous shuttle vectors with these four markers, using DNA segments flanking the Leishmania major H region hmtxr gene to provide information required for expression. These constructs (pHM-NEO, pHM-HYG, pHM-PAC and pHM-PHLEO) were successfully transfected into L. major, mostly with efficiencies comparable to those observed with previous DHFR-TS-based neo and hyg-containing constructs. The exception was pHM-PHLEO, which transfected 30-fold less efficiently; this may be related to the nonenzymatic mechanism of resistance encoded by phleo. All four constructs were shown to replicate extra-chromosomally. Stable transfectants bearing all paired combinations of pHM constructs were obtained by a second round of transfection. These data show that the four markers are functionally independent and in conjunction with the Leishmania N-acetylglucosaminyl transferase gene, brings the number of selectable markers available in Leishmania to five.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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