The substructure of three repetitive DNA regions of Schistosoma haematobium group species as a potential marker for species recognition and interbreeding detection
Webster, Bonnie L.
King, Charles H.
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Background: Schistosoma haematobium is the causative agent of human urogenital schistosomiasis affecting ~112 million people in Africa and the Middle East. The parasite is transmitted by snails of the genus Bulinus, which also transmit other closely related human and animal schistosomes. The accurate discrimination of S. haematobium from species infecting animals will aid effective control and elimination programs. Previously we have shown the utility of different repetitive nuclear DNA sequences (DraI, sh73bp, and sh77bp) for the identification of S. haematobiumgroup species and inter-repeat sequences for discriminating S. haematobium from S. bovis. Results: In this current study we clarify the structural arrangement and association between the three repetitive sequences (DraI, sh73bp, and sh77bp) in both S. haematobium and S. bovis, with a unique repeat linker being found in S. haematobium (Sh64bp repeat linker) and in S. bovis (Sb30bp repeat linker). Sequence data showed that the 3′- end of the repeat linker was connected to the DraI repetitive sequence array, and at the 5′-end of the repeat linker sh73bp and sh77bp were arranged in an alternating manner. Species-specific oligonucleotides were designed targeting the species-specific repeat linkers and used in a reverse line blot (RLB) hybridization assay enabling differentiation between S. haematobium and S. bovis. The assay was used to discriminate natural infections in wild caught Bulinus globosus. Conclusion: This research enabled the characterisation of species-specific DNA regions that enabled the design of species-specific oligonucleotides that can be used to rapidly differentiate between S. haematobium and S. bovis and also have the potential to aid the detection of natural hybridization between these two species.