Size-polymorphism of mini-exon gene-bearing chromosomes among natural populations of **Leishmania**, subgenus **Viannia**
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences . Biomedical Sciences
International journal for parasitology. - Oxford
, p. 549-557
In order to explore genomic plasticity at the level of the mini-exon gene-bearing chromosome in natural populations of Leishmania, the molecular karyotype of 84 Leishmania stocks belonging to subgenus Viannia, originating mostly from Peru and Bolivia, and differing according to eco-geographical and clinical parameters, was resolved and hybridised with a mini-exon probe. The results suggest that size variation of the mini-exon gene-bearing chromosome is frequent and important (up to 245-kb size-difference), and partially involves variation (up to 50%) in copy number of mini-exon genes. There is no significant size-difference between mini-exon-bearing chromosomes of Peruvian and Bolivian populations of cutaneous and mucosal isolates of Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis, but there is between eco-geographical populations of Leishmania (Viannia) peruviana. Leishmania (V.) peruviana presented a significantly smaller mini-exon-bearing chromosome than the other species of subgenus Viannia. The contrast between the general chromosome size heterogeneity and the homogeneity observed in some Peruvian Andean areas is discussed in terms of selective pressure.