Genetic variations in the internal transcribed spacer and mitochondrial small subunit rRNA gene of Naegleria spp

J Eukaryot Microbiol. 2003;50 Suppl:522-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1550-7408.2003.tb00617.x.


Naegleria spp. are widely distributed free-living amebas, but one species in the genus, N. fowleri, causes acute fulminant primary amebic meningoencephalitis in humans and other animals. Thus, it is important to differentiate N. fowleri from the rest in the genus of Naegleria, and to develop tools for the detection of intra-specific genetic variations. In this study, one isolate each of N. australiensis, N. gruberi, N. jadini, and N. lovaniensis and 22 isolates of N. fowleri were characterized at the internal transcribed spacers (ITS) and mitochondrial small subunit rRNA (mtSSU rRNA) gene. The mtSSU rRNA primers designed amplified DNA of all isolates, with distinct sequences obtained from all species examined. In contrast, the ITS primers only amplified DNA from N. lovaniensis and N. fowleri, with minor sequence differences between the two. Three genotypes of N. fowleri were found among the isolates analyzed in both the mtSSU rRNA gene and ITS. The extent of sequence variation was greater in the mtSSU rRNA gene, but the ITS had the advantage of length polymorphism. These data should be useful in the development of molecular tools for rapid species differentiation and genotyping of Naegleria spp.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Protozoan / genetics
  • DNA, Ribosomal / genetics*
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Mitochondria / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Naegleria / classification
  • Naegleria / genetics*
  • Naegleria / isolation & purification
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Ribosomal / genetics*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Protozoan
  • DNA, Ribosomal
  • RNA, Ribosomal

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AY376148
  • GENBANK/AY376149
  • GENBANK/AY376150
  • GENBANK/AY376151
  • GENBANK/AY376152
  • GENBANK/AY376153
  • GENBANK/AY376154
  • GENBANK/AY376155
  • GENBANK/AY376156
  • GENBANK/AY376157
  • GENBANK/AY376158