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Comparative genomics reveals multiple genetic backgrounds of human pathogenicity in the Trypanosoma brucei complex

Sistrom, Mark and Evans, Benjamin and Bjornson, Robert and Gibson, Wendy and Balmer, Oliver and Mäser, Pascal and Aksoy, Serap and Caccone, Adalgisa. (2014) Comparative genomics reveals multiple genetic backgrounds of human pathogenicity in the Trypanosoma brucei complex. Genome biology and evolution, Vol. 6, H. 10. pp. 2811-2819.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A6319242

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Abstract

The Trypanosoma brucei complex contains a number of subspecies with exceptionally variable life histories, including zoonotic subspecies, which are causative agents of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) in sub-Saharan Africa. Paradoxically, genomic variation between taxa is extremely low. We analyzed the whole-genome sequences of 39 isolates across the T. brucei complex from diverse hosts and regions, identifying 608,501 single nucleotide polymorphisms that represent 2.33% of the nuclear genome. We show that human pathogenicity occurs across a wide range of parasite genotypes, and taxonomic designation does not reflect genetic variation across the group, as previous studies have suggested based on a small number of genes. This genome-wide study allowed the identification of significant host and geographic location associations. Strong purifying selection was detected in genomic regions associated with cytoskeleton structure, and regulatory genes associated with antigenic variation, suggesting conservation of these regions in African trypanosomes. In agreement with expectations drawn from meiotic reciprocal recombination, differences in average linkage disequilibrium between chromosomes in T. brucei correlate positively with chromosome size. In addition to insights into the life history of a diverse group of eukaryotic parasites, the documentation of genomic variation across the T. brucei complex and its association with specific hosts and geographic localities will aid in the development of comprehensive monitoring tools crucial to the proposed elimination of HAT by 2020, and on a shorter term, for monitoring the feared merger between the two human infective parasites, T. brucei rhodesiense and T. b. gambiense, in northern Uganda.
Faculties and Departments:09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Department of Medical Parasitology and Infection Biology > Parasite Chemotherapy (Mäser)
UniBasel Contributors:Balmer, Oliver and Mäser, Pascal
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Bibsysno:Link to catalogue
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:1759-6653
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:09 Jan 2015 09:24
Deposited On:09 Jan 2015 09:24

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