Diversity of Leishmania Strains Isolated from Cutaneous Leishmaniasis Patients in Turkey and its Reflection to Clinics in Mice Model

Özbilgin A., Çulha G., Güray M., Zeyrek F., Akyar I., Töz S., ...More

MIKROBIYOLOJI BULTENI, vol.54, no.3, pp.429-443, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 54 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.5578/mb.69391
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, BIOSIS, EMBASE, MEDLINE, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.429-443
  • Acibadem Mehmet Ali Aydinlar University Affiliated: Yes


Although asexual reproduction has been attributed to Leishmania species, genetic exchange has recently been demonstrated, which helped emerging of hybrid isolates. Situated on the crossroads between three continents, Leishmania hybrids may be present in Turkey. In Turkey, visceral leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania infantum is less common, while cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) caused by Leishmania tropica and L.infantum could reach 2500 reported cases a year. Our aim was to investigate genetic variability of local Leishmania species and presence of hybrid Leishmania strains in Turkey. Twenty CL patients from Sanliurfa and Hatay, where only L.tropica and both L.tropica and L.infantum cause CL, respectively, were registered equally. All isolates were assessed with real-time polymerase chain reaction (Rt-PCR), isoenzyme analysis, gene sequencing, two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2D-PAGE) and MALDI-TOF/TOF-MS followed by in vivo analyses on mouse model. Identification of differentially expressed proteins was performed. These proteins were confirmed by sequence analysis. All isolates from Sanliurfa were found to be L.tropica which caused cutaneous infection in mice. However, one of 10 isolates from Hatay was found as Leishmania major which caused cutaneous infection. Five isolates were found as L.tropica with Rt-PCR and gene sequencing, one of which had one different protein from the reference L.tropica strain and caused cutaneous infection. Four of the five isolates had five different proteins compared to reference strain and caused both cutaneous and visceral infections. Remaining four isolates showed double melting curves in Rt-PCR, which were concordant with L.tropica and L.infantum. Their sequencing and isoenzyme analyses indicated them as L.infantum. They had six different proteins compared to reference L.infantum strain and caused cutaneous and visceral infections. It is concluded that the isolates with different proteins were hybrid Leishmania species. In the present study, outcomes of the proteomics, genomics, clinical manifestations and tissue tropism on animal models were evaluated together for the first time. In addition to L. tropica and L.infantum, L.major was identified as a causative agent for CL and hybrids of Linfantum/tropica were also shown to be present.