Novel Insights Into the Genetic Diversity of Balantidium and Balantidium-like Cyst-Forming Ciliates

PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2013;7(3):e2140. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0002140. Epub 2013 Mar 28.

Abstract

Balantidiasis is considered a neglected zoonotic disease with pigs serving as reservoir hosts. However, Balantidium coli has been recorded in many other mammalian species, including primates. Here, we evaluated the genetic diversity of B. coli in non-human primates using two gene markers (SSrDNA and ITS1-5.8SDNA-ITS2). We analyzed 49 isolates of ciliates from fecal samples originating from 11 species of captive and wild primates, domestic pigs and wild boar. The phylogenetic trees were computed using Bayesian inference and Maximum likelihood. Balantidium entozoon from edible frog and Buxtonella sulcata from cattle were included in the analyses as the closest relatives of B. coli, as well as reference sequences of vestibuliferids. The SSrDNA tree showed the same phylogenetic diversification of B. coli at genus level as the tree constructed based on the ITS region. Based on the polymorphism of SSrDNA sequences, the type species of the genus, namely B. entozoon, appeared to be phylogenetically distinct from B. coli. Thus, we propose a new genus Neobalantidium for the homeothermic clade. Moreover, several isolates from both captive and wild primates (excluding great apes) clustered with B. sulcata with high support, suggesting the existence of a new species within this genus. The cysts of Buxtonella and Neobalantidium are morphologically indistinguishable and the presence of Buxtonella-like ciliates in primates opens the question about possible occurrence of these pathogens in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic
  • Animals, Wild
  • Balantidiasis / parasitology
  • Balantidiasis / veterinary*
  • Balantidium / classification*
  • Balantidium / genetics*
  • Balantidium / isolation & purification
  • Cluster Analysis
  • DNA, Protozoan / chemistry
  • DNA, Protozoan / genetics
  • DNA, Ribosomal / chemistry
  • DNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • DNA, Ribosomal Spacer / chemistry
  • DNA, Ribosomal Spacer / genetics
  • Genes, rRNA
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Primate Diseases / parasitology*
  • Primates
  • RNA, Protozoan / genetics
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 18S / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA

Substances

  • DNA, Protozoan
  • DNA, Ribosomal
  • DNA, Ribosomal Spacer
  • RNA, Protozoan
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 18S

Associated data

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Grant support

This work was supported by the project “CEITEC” – Central European Institute of Technology” (grant no. CZ.1.05/1.1.00/02.0068) from the European Regional Development Fund, by grant from the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic (grant no. 206/09/0927), and by institutional support of Institute of Vertebrate Biology Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (grant no. RVO:68081766) and by OPVK 2.3 project – Development of Scientific Team and Laboratory for Infectious Diseases Common to Humans and Great Apes (CZ.1.07/2.3.00/20.0300). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.