BackgroundAmblyomma cajennense F. is one of the best known and studied ticks in the New World because of its very wide distribution, its economical importance as pest of domestic ungulates, and its association with a variety of animal and human pathogens. Recent observations, however, have challenged the taxonomic status of this tick and indicated that intraspecific cryptic speciation might be occurring. In the present study, we investigate the evolutionary and demographic history of this tick and examine its genetic structure based on the analyses of three mitochondrial (12SrDNA, d-loop, and COII) and one nuclear (ITS2) genes. Because A. cajennense is characterized by a typical trans-Amazonian distribution, lineage divergence dating is also performed to establish whether genetic diversity can be linked to dated vicariant events which shaped the topology of the Neotropics.ResultsTotal evidence analyses of the concatenated mtDNA and nuclear + mtDNA datasets resulted in well-resolved and fully congruent reconstructions of the relationships within A. cajennense. The phylogenetic analyses consistently found A. cajennense to be monophyletic and to be separated into six genetic units defined by mutually exclusive haplotype compositions and habitat associations. Also, genetic divergence values showed that these lineages are as distinct from each other as recognized separate species of the same genus. The six clades are deeply split and node dating indicates that they started diverging in the middle-late Miocene.ConclusionsBehavioral differences and the results of laboratory cross-breeding experiments had already indicated that A. cajennense might be a complex of distinct taxonomic units. The combined and congruent mitochondrial and nuclear genetic evidence from this study reveals that A. cajennense is an assembly of six distinct species which have evolved separately from each other since at least 13.2 million years ago (Mya) in the earliest and 3.3 Mya in the latest lineages. The temporal and spatial diversification modes of the six lineages overlap the phylogeographical history of other organisms with similar extant trans-Amazonian distributions and are consistent with the present prevailing hypothesis that Neotropical diversity often finds its origins in the Miocene, after the Andean uplift changed the topology and consequently the climate and ecology of the Neotropics.
Entomological monitoring of Leishmania infection in leishmaniasis endemic areas offers epidemiologic advantages for predicting the risk and expansion of the disease, as well as evaluation of the effectiveness of control programs. In this study, we developed a highly sensitive loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) method for the mass screening of sand flies for Leishmania infection based on the 18S rRNA gene. The LAMP technique could detect 0.01 parasites, which was more sensitive than classical PCR. The method was robust and could amplify the target DNA within 1 hr from a crude sand fly template without DNA purification. Amplicon
The FTA card (Whatman) was assessed for its utility as a molecular epidemiological tool in collecting samples from patients with leishmaniasis in Peru because the card has a variety of merits; it is less invasive for patients and easy to handle for both physicians and other medical personnel for sample collection or diagnosis, in addition to its simplicity and easy countrywide and/or intercountry transportation for analysis.
Sand flies from the Andean areas of Ecuador and Peru were examined for Leishmania infections by using our recently established molecular mass screening method. Leishmanial minicircle DNA-positive sand flies were detected in 3 of 192 and 1 of 462 samples from Ecuador and Peru, respectively. Sand fly species were identified by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) of the 18S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene, and the positive flies were Lutzomyia (Lu.) ayacuchensis and Lu. peruensis, respectively. Furthermore, cytochrome b and mannose-phosphate isomerase gene sequence analyses identified the parasites from Ecuador and Peru as Leishmania (Leishmania) mexicana and L. (Viannia) peruviana, respectively. Thus, the mass screening method was confirmed to be a powerful tool for sand fly research.
Leishmaniasis remains one of the world's most neglected diseases, and early detection of the infectious agent, especially in developing countries, will require a simple and rapid test. In this study, we established a quick, one-step, single-tube, highly sensitive loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay for rapid detection of Leishmania DNA from tissue materials spotted on an FTA card. An FTA-LAMP with pre-added malachite green was performed at 64 degrees C for 60 mm using a heating block and/or water bath and DNA amplification was detected immediately after incubation. The LAMP assay had high detection sensitivity down to a level of 0.01 parasites per mu l. The field- and clinic-applicability of the colorimetric FTA-LAMP assay was demonstrated with 122 clinical samples collected from patients suspected of having cutaneous leishmaniasis in Peru, from which 71 positives were detected. The LAMP assay in combination with an FTA card described here is rapid and sensitive, as well as simple to perform, and has great potential usefulness for diagnosis and surveillance of leishmaniasis in endemic areas. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved
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