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Molecular characterization of Hepatozoon sp. from Brazilian dogs and its phylogenetic relationship with other Hepatozoon spp.

Decanato de Ciencias Veterinarias, Departamento de Salud Pública, Area de Parasitologia Veterinaria, Nucleo Dr Hector Ochoa Zuleta, Universidad Centroccidental Lisandro Alvarado UCLA, Cabudare, Barquisimeto, Lara, Venezuela.
Veterinary Parasitology (Impact Factor: 2.38). 05/2007; 145(1-2):21-30. DOI: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2006.10.023
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To characterize phylogenetically the species which causes canine hepatozoonosis at two rural areas of Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil, we used universal or Hepatozoon spp. primer sets for the 18S SSU rRNA coding region. DNA extracts were obtained from blood samples of thirteen dogs naturally infected, from four experimentally infected, and from five puppies infected by vertical transmission from a dam, that was experimentally infected. DNA of sporozoites of Hepatozoon americanum was used as positive control. The amplification of DNA extracts from blood of dogs infected with sporozoites of Hepatozoon spp. was observed in the presence of primers to 18S SSU rRNA gene of Hepatozoon spp., whereas DNA of H. americanum sporozoites was amplified in the presence of either universal or Hepatozoon spp.-specific primer sets; the amplified products were approximately 600bp in size. Cloned PCR products obtained from DNA extracts of blood from two dogs experimentally infected with Hepatozoon sp. were sequenced. The consensus sequence, derived from six sequence data sets, were blasted against sequences of 18S SSU rRNA of Hepatozoon spp. available at GenBank and aligned to homologous sequences to perform the phylogenetic analysis. This analysis clearly showed that our sequence clustered, independently of H. americanum sequences, within a group comprising other Hepatozoon canis sequences. Our results confirmed the hypothesis that the agent causing hepatozoonosis in the areas studied in Brazil is H. canis, supporting previous reports that were based on morphological and morphometric analyses.

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