MtDNA CytB Structure of Rhombomys opimus (Rodentia: Gerbellidae), the Main Reservoir of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in the Borderline of Iran-Turkmenistan


Background: Great gerbils, Rhombomys opimus, are the main reservoir host of zoonootic cutaneous leishmaniasis (ZCL) in Iran and neighboring countries. Based on morphological traits two subspecies R. opimus sodalis and R. opimus sargadensis have reported in the country. However, variation in infection rate and signs to Leishmania parasites, phenotype, size, and sexual polymorphisms demand more details to elucidate clearly the role of great gerbils in ZCL epidemiology.Methods: PCR-RFLP and PCR-direct sequencing were used to analyze mitochondrial DNA cytochrome B (mtDNA- cytB) gene structure of R. opimus collected from Golestan and Khorasan-e-Razavi Provinces in 2011 that are neighbor to Turkmenistan Country where ZCL is endemic in both sides of the borderline.Results: All of the specimens (n= 61) were morphologically or genetically similar to the typical R. opimus sodalis. However, there were 9 (1.5%) DNA substitutions throughout the 583 bp of the Cyt b gene of the samples sequenced comprising six DNA haplotypes. Maximum likelihood or neighbor joining phylogenetic trees inferred from the sequences could resolve the populations according to their subspecies as well as geographical origins.Discussion: The DNA polymorphisms in the great gerbils may correspond to the signs and infection rate in the animal.  However, further  studies are  needed  to  match  these  six  haplotypes  with  different  signs  and  parasite sustaining following infection with L. major in the great gerbils.

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Iran Leishmaniasis Rombomys opimus ZCL mtDNA cytB

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Bakhshi H, Oshaghi MA, Abai MR, Rassi Y, Akhavan AA, Mohebali M, Hajaran H, Mohtarami F, Mirzajani H, Maleki-Ravasan N. MtDNA CytB Structure of Rhombomys opimus (Rodentia: Gerbellidae), the Main Reservoir of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in the Borderline of Iran-Turkmenistan. J Arthropod Borne Dis. 1;7(2):173-184.