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Isolation and Characterization of Polymorphic DNA from Entamoeba histolytica

American Society for Microbiology
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  • Parasitology
  • Biology
  • Medicine


An important gap in our understanding of the epidemiology of amebiasis is what determines the outcome of Entamoeba histolytica infections. To investigate the possible existence of invasive and noninvasive strains as one factor, the ability to differentiate individual isolates of E. histolytica is necessary. Two new loci containing internal repeats, locus 1-2 and locus 5-6, have been isolated. Each contains a single repeat block with two types of related direct repeats arranged in tandem. Southern blot analysis suggests that both loci are multicopy and may themselves be arranged in tandem arrays. Three other previously reported, internally repetitive loci containing at least two repeat blocks each with one or more related repeat units were also investigated. PCR was used to study polymorphism at each of these loci, which was detected to various degrees in each case. Variation was seen in the total number of bands obtained per isolate and their sizes. Nucleotide sequence comparison of loci 1-2 and 5-6 in five axenic isolates revealed differences in the number of repeat units, which correlated with the observed PCR product size variation, and in repeat sequence. Use of multiple loci collectively allowed differentiation of a majority of the 13 isolates studied, and we believe that these loci have the potential to be used as polymorphic molecular markers for investigating the epidemiology of E. histolytica and the potential existence of genetically distinct invasive and noninvasive strains.

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