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LR1: a candidate RNA virus of Leishmania.

Publication Date
  • Research Article
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Although viruses are important biological agents and useful molecular tools, little is known about the viruses of parasites. We report here the discovery of a candidate for an RNA virus in a kinetoplastid parasite. This potential virus, which we term LR1, is present in the promastigote form of the human pathogen Leishmania braziliensis guyanensis CUMC1-1A but not in 11 other stocks of Leishmania that were examined nor in Trypanosoma brucei. The candidate viral RNA has a size of approximately 6000 nucleotides, is single-stranded, and is largely, if not exclusively, located in the cytoplasm. No homologous LR1 sequences are detected in genomic DNA. The candidate viral RNA is associated with a spherical particle 32 nm in diameter that has a sedimentation coefficient of approximately 130 S. There is as yet no evident effect of this potential virus on parasite physiology or the disease caused by the parasite.

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