Comparison of molecular markers for strain typing of Leishmania infantum

Yanick Botilde, Thierry Laurent, Wilber Quispe Tintaya, Carmen Chicharro, Carmen Cañavate, Israel Cruz, Katrin Kuhls, Gabriele Schönian, Jean Claude Dujardin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


The epidemiology of Leishmania infantum, the etiological agent of visceral leishmaniasis, is changing rapidly; hence powerful typing tools are required in order to monitor the parasite populations spreading and to adapt adequate control measures. We compared here the resolving power of four molecular methods at the zymodeme level: PCR-RFLP analysis of kDNA minicircles (kDNAPCR-RFLP) and antigen genes (cysteine proteinase b and major surface protease, cpb- and gp63PCR-RFLP), multilocus microsatellite typing (MLMT) and random amplification of polymorphic DNA (RAPD) were applied to samples of 25 L. infantum MON-1 strains obtained from different hosts (HIV+ patients, HIV- patients and dogs) coming from three Spanish foci: Madrid, Mallorca and Ibiza. While RAPD was not sufficiently resolving, the other three methods allowed genotyping within the zymodeme. KDNAPCR-RFLP and MLMT were the most discriminatory and appeared the most adequate for strain fingerprinting. In an eco-geographical context, cpbPCR-RFLP, MLMT and kDNAPCR-RFLP were all informative: they showed here a similar picture, with the existence of cluster(s) of isolates from the islands and other one(s) of mixed composition (Madrid and the islands). None of the markers revealed an association with the host type or the clinical form. In general, there was a significant correlation between each pair of distances calculated from the cpb, microsatellite and kDNA data, respectively, but visual inspection of the trees revealed a better congruence between cpb and microsatellite trees. The methods used here are complementary and each adapted to answer specific epidemiological questions. Their choice should be the result of a compromise between the required resolving power, the genetic features of the respective markers and the technical aspects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)440-446
Number of pages7
JournalInfection, Genetics and Evolution
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Leishmania infantum
  • MON-1
  • Microsatellites
  • RAPD
  • Spain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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