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J Clin Microbiol. 1998 Jul;36(7):1989-95.

Single-step multiplex PCR assay for characterization of New World Leishmania complexes.

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1
Program in Molecular Pathogenesis, University of California, San Francisco, 94143-0422, USA. eharris@cgl.ucsf.edu

Abstract

We have developed a PCR assay for one-step differentiation of the three complexes of New World Leishmania (Leishmania braziliensis, Leishmania mexicana, and Leishmania donovani). This multiplex assay is targeted to the spliced leader RNA (mini-exon) gene repeats of these organisms and can detect all three complexes simultaneously, generating differently sized products for each complex. The assay is specific to the Leishmania genus and does not recognize related kinetoplastid protozoa, such as Trypanosoma cruzi, Trypanosoma brucei, and Crithidia fasciculata. It correctly identified Leishmania species with a broad geographic distribution in Central and South America. The sensitivity of the PCR amplification ranged from 1 fg to 10 pg of DNA (0.01 to 100 parasites), depending on the complex detected. Crude extracts of cultured parasites, prepared simply by boiling diluted cultures, served as excellent templates for amplification. Crude preparations of clinical material were also tested. The assay detected L. braziliensis in dermal scrapings from cutaneous leishmanial lesions, Leishmania chagasi in dermal scrapings of atypical cutaneous leishmaniasis, and L. mexicana from lesion aspirates from infected hamsters. We have minimized the material requirements and maximized the simplicity, rapidity, and informative content of this assay to render it suitable for use in laboratories in countries where leishmaniasis is endemic. This assay should be useful for rapid in-country identification of Leishmania parasites, particularly where different Leishmania complexes are found in the same geographical area.

PMID:
9650950
PMCID:
PMC104966
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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