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Human Blastocystis subtyping with subtype-specific primers developed from unique sequences of the SSU rRNA gene

Yoshikawa, Hisao, Iwamasa, Ayana
Parasitology international 2016 v.65 no.6 pp. 785-791
Blastocystis, DNA primers, electrophoresis, eukaryotic cells, feces, fungi, genes, humans, parasites, phylogeny, polymerase chain reaction, ribosomal DNA, ribosomal RNA
The genus Blastocystis is one of the most genetically diverse parasites. Blastocystis isolates from humans and animals have been classified into subtypes (STs) based on the phylogeny of the small subunit rRNA gene (SSU rDNA). Although human Blastocystis isolates are limited to STs 1–9, the identification of all 9 STs remains challenging due to the lack of specific primers for several STs. The sequencing of partial SSU rDNA is therefore essential for the identification of several STs. In this study, we developed 9 sets of PCR primers to detect each of the 9 kinds of ST in humans. When these ST-specific primer pairs were examined reference Blastocystis for the 9 STs, all 9 amplified only the target ST even in a DNA mixture of all 9 STs. The specificities of the 9 primer sets were tested against several intestinal parasites and fungi found in human stool samples. No amplification with these common human intestinal eukaryotes was observed using the primer pairs for 8 STs, while the ST5 primer set gave only faint bands with some parasites. Since genomic DNA levels of these parasites extracted from Blastocystis-positive cultures are expected to be markedly lower than the pure or highly concentrated DNA samples tested, the cross-amplifications with these organisms are unlikely to be detected when DNA samples are extracted from Blastocystis-positive cultures. The PCR conditions for all 9 primer sets were the same, hence a one-step analysis by PCR amplification, followed by electrophoresis has potential as a simple tool for the subtyping of human Blastocystis isolates.