Evolution of nuclear DNA and the occurrence of sequences related to new small chromosomal DNAs in the trypanosomatid genus Endotrypanum

Angela H. Angela, David Iovannisci, Maria Petrillo-Peixoto, Diane McMahon-Pratt, Stephen M. Beverley

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Comparisons of nuclear DNA restriction fragment patterns were used to examine the evolutionary relatedness among 17 strains previously identified as Endotrypanum, a trypanosomatid parasite of sloths. Fragments were obtained with 6 restriction enzymes and analyzed by Southern blotting with hybridization probes from three loci. An estimate of the percent nucleotide sequence divergence among strains, Δ, was calculated and used to construct molecular evolutionary trees. The 17 isolates fell into four distinct groups, one of which (group D) showed no more relationship to groups A-C than it did to other genera (Leishmania, Crithidia, Leptomonas, Trypanosoma), being too distant to be resolved with this method. These and other data suggest that group D may not actually be Endotrypanum. Molecular karyotype analysis revealed considerable variation among the chromosomes of these strains. One strain (LV88, group B) contained a linear 70-kb chromosome not evident in other isolates. Hybridization probes specific for this chromosome (LV88-70) were developed and revealed that related sequences were present at high levels in group B isolates and low levels in group A isolates, although a complex hybridization pattern was evident. Sequences related to LV88-70 were not present in groups C and D, nor in Leishmania major, showing that this DNA has a disjunct distribution which curiously parallels that of virus-like particles present in these isolates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-161
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular and Biochemical Parasitology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1990


  • Biogeography
  • Molecular evolution
  • Pulsed-field electrophoresis
  • Sloths
  • Virus-like particle


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