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Evidence of Subpopulations with Distinct Biological Features Within a Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis Strain

Cysne-Finkelstein, Léa, Silva-Almeida, Mariana, Pereira, Bernardo Acácio Santini, dos Santos Charret, Karen, Bertho, Álvaro Luiz, Bastos, Leonardo Soares, de Oliveira Pinto, Luzia, de Oliveira, Francisco Odêncio Rodrigues, da Souza Pereira, Mirian Cláudia, Alves, Carlos Roberto
Protist 2018 v.169 no.1 pp. 107-121
Leishmania braziliensis, amastigotes, aspartic proteinases, cysteine proteinases, gene expression, gene expression regulation, genes, immune response, in vitro culture, interleukin-12, interleukin-1beta, interleukin-6, macrophages, mice, nitric oxide, parasites, pathogenicity, promastigotes, serine proteinases, tumor necrosis factor-alpha
The present study demonstrates that the Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis strain MCAN/BR/1998/R619 is composed of multiple subpopulations with measurable distinctions. Single parasites were separated from a culture of promastigotes in stationary phase by cell sorting and then cultivated as subpopulations. Subsequently, these subpopulations were evaluated for features of in vitro growth, infectivity to murine macrophages and proteinase gene expression. The first evidence of distinct characteristics was observed during the in vitro cultivation of isolated subpopulations, as distinct clusters of patterns were formed among the cultures, indicating the existence of quantifiable fluctuations in metrics. Further, when infecting murine macrophages, the subpopulations induced distinct patterns of production of immune response mediators. While some subpopulations mainly induced the production of IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α, others induced the production of IL-12p70 and nitric oxide. Finally, amastigotes of these subpopulations had higher expression of proteinase genes than promastigotes. Additionally, cysteine proteinase, serine proteinase, metalloproteinase and aspartic proteinases were differentially expressed in promastigote and amastigote forms. These data suggest the existence of distinct profiles for the L. (V.) braziliensis MCAN/BR/1998/R619 strain and subpopulations that could drive the success of parasite adaptation to the environments that they inhabit.