Analysis of the 5.8S rRNA gene and the internal transcribed spacers in Naegleria spp. and in N. fowleri

J Eukaryot Microbiol. Mar-Apr 2000;47(2):116-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1550-7408.2000.tb00020.x.


Internal transcribed spacers (ITS) and the 5.8S ribosomal gene of 21 Naegleria fowleri strains and eight other species including Naegleria gruberi were sequenced. The results showed that this region can help differentiate between and within species. The phylogeny of Naegleria spp. deduced from the ITS and the 5.8S gene produced four major lineages, fowleri-lovaniensis, galeacystis-italica-clarki-gruberi-australiensis, andersoni-jamiesoni, and pussardi, that fit perfectly with those inferred from the 18S rRNA gene analysis. The N. gruberi isolate, NG260, was closely related to Naegleria pussardi. The other N. gruberi isolates branched together with Naegleria australiensis in another lineage. The ITS and 5.8S results for N. fowleri were congruent with those previously deduced by RAPD analysis. The phylogenetic analysis inferred from ITS and RAPD data revealed two major groups. The French Cattenom and Chooz and South Pacific strains constituted the first group. The second group encompassed the strains corresponding to the Euro-American and Widespread RAPD variants and shared the same substitution in the 5.8S gene. In addition, it was possible to define species specific primers in ITS regions to rapidly identify N. fowleri.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA, Protozoan / genetics
  • DNA, Ribosomal / genetics*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Naegleria / classification*
  • Naegleria / genetics*
  • Naegleria fowleri / classification
  • Naegleria fowleri / genetics*
  • Phylogeny*
  • RNA, Protozoan / genetics
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 5.8S / genetics*
  • Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA Technique


  • DNA, Protozoan
  • DNA, Ribosomal
  • RNA, Protozoan
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 5.8S