Comparative gene expression analysis throughout the life cycle of Leishmania braziliensis: diversity of expression profiles among clinical isolates

V Adaui, D Castillo, M Zimic, A Gutierrez, S Decuypere, M Vanaerschot, S De Doncker, K Schnorbusch, I Maes, G Van der Auwera, L Maes, A Llanos-Cuentas, J Arevalo, JC Dujardin

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    BACKGROUND: Most of the Leishmania genome is reported to be constitutively expressed during the life cycle of the parasite, with a few regulated genes. Inter-species comparative transcriptomics evidenced a low number of species-specific differences related to differentially distributed genes or the differential regulation of conserved genes. It is of uppermost importance to ensure that the observed differences are indeed species-specific and not simply specific of the strains selected for representing the species. The relevance of this concern is illustrated by current study. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We selected 5 clinical isolates of L. braziliensis characterized by their diversity of clinical and in vitro phenotypes. Real-time quantitative PCR was performed on promastigote and amastigote life stages to assess gene expression profiles at seven time points covering the whole life cycle. We tested 12 genes encoding proteins with roles in transport, thiol-based redox metabolism, cellular reduction, RNA poly(A)-tail metabolism, cytoskeleton function and ribosomal function. The general trend of expression profiles showed that regulation of gene expression essentially occurs around the stationary phase of promastigotes. However, the genes involved in this phenomenon appeared to vary significantly among the isolates considered. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: Our results clearly illustrate the unique character of each isolate in terms of gene expression dynamics. Results obtained on an individual strain are not necessarily representative of a given species. Therefore, extreme care should be taken when comparing the profiles of different species and extrapolating functional differences between them.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
    Issue number5
    Pages (from-to)e1021
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • B780-tropical-medicine
    • Protozoal diseases
    • Leishmaniasis
    • Leishmania braziliensis
    • Vectors
    • Sandflies
    • Lutzomyia
    • Life cycle
    • Genome mapping
    • Transcriptome analysis
    • Species specificity
    • Genetic diversity
    • Strains
    • Isolation
    • In vitro
    • Phenotypes
    • Gene expression
    • Promastigotes
    • Amastigotes
    • Proteins
    • Real-time
    • Polymerase chain reaction
    • PCR
    • Laboratory techniques and procedures


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