Molecular Identification and Phylogenetic Classiﬁcation of Leishmania spp. Isolated from Human Cutaneous Leishmani-asis in Iran: A Cross-sectional Study
AbstractBackground: In Iran, both forms of cutaneous (CL) and visceral leishmaniasis (VL) have been reported; so the accurate species identification of the parasite(s) and the analysis of genetic diversity are necessary. Methods: The smears were collected from lesions samples of 654 patients with CL, who attended local health centers in 12 provinces of Iran during 2013-2015. The smears were checked for the presence of amastigotes by light microscopy. DNA of 648 Leishmania isolates, amplified by targeting a partial sequence of ITS (18S rRNA–ITS1–5.8S rRNA–ITS2) gene. Twenty-five of all the amplicons were sequenced and analyzed with restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) using the Taq1 enzyme. Results: All the smears were positive microscopically. The PCR-RFLP analysis revealed that 176 (27%) CL patients were infected with L. tropica and, 478 (73%) with L. major. The dominant species in all over Iran is L. major. The sequencing results of all CL patients and RFLP analysis confirmed each other. Based on our phylogenetic tree, 25 ITS DNA sequences were grouped into two clusters representing L. major and L. tropica species. Phylogenetic tree derived from the ITS sequences supports a clear divergence between L. major from the other species. Conclusion: Discrimination of Iranian Leishmania isolates using ITS gene gives us this opportunity to detect, identify, and construct the phylogenetic relationship of Iranian isolates.
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