Moroccan Leishmania infantum: Genetic Diversity and Population Structure as Revealed by Multi-Locus Microsatellite Typing

Amro, Ahmad
Hamdi, Salsabil
Lemrani, Meryem
Mouna, Idrissi
Mohammed, Hida
Mostafa, Sabri
Rhajaoui, Mohamed
Hamarsheh, Omar
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Public Library of Science
Leishmania infantum causes Visceral and cutaneous leishmaniasis in northern Morocco. It predominantly affects children under 5 years with incidence of 150 cases/year. Genetic variability and population structure have been investigated for 33 strains isolated from infected dogs and humans in Morocco. A multilocus microsatellite typing (MLMT) approach was used in which a MLMtype based on size variation in 14 independent microsatellite markers was compiled for each strain. MLMT profiles of 10 Tunisian, 10 Algerian and 21 European strains which belonged to zymodeme MON-1 and non-MON-1 according to multilocus enzyme electrophoresis (MLEE) were included for comparison. A Bayesian model-based approach and phylogenetic analysis inferred two L.infantum sub-populations; Sub-population A consists of 13 Moroccan strains grouped with all European strains of MON-1 type; and subpopulation B consists of 15 Moroccan strains grouped with the Tunisian and Algerian MON-1 strains. Theses subpopulations were significantly different from each other and from the Tunisian, Algerian and European non MON-1 strains which constructed one separate population. The presence of these two sub-populations co-existing in Moroccan endemics suggests multiple introduction of L. infantum from/to Morocco; (1) Introduction from/to the neighboring North African countries, (2) Introduction from/to the Europe. These scenarios are supported by the presence of sub-population B and sub-population A respectively. Gene flow was noticed between sub-populations A and B. Five strains showed mixed A/B genotypes indicating possible recombination between the two populations. MLMT has proven to be a powerful tool for eco-epidemiological and population genetic investigations of Leishmania.
Amro A, Hamdi S, Lemrani M, Mouna I, Mohammed H, et al. (2013) Moroccan Leishmania infantum: Genetic Diversity and Population Structure as Revealed by Multi-Locus Microsatellite Typing. PLoS ONE 8(10): e77778. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0077778