Chromosomal copy number variation analysis by next generation sequencing confirms ploidy stability in Trypanosoma brucei subspecies

Microb Genom. 2018 Oct;4(10):e000223. doi: 10.1099/mgen.0.000223. Epub 2018 Sep 27.


Although aneuploidy usually results in severe abnormalities in multicellular eukaryotes, recent data suggest that it could be beneficial for unicellular eukaryotes, such as yeast and trypanosomatid parasites, providing increased survival under stressful conditions. Among characterized trypanosomatids, Trypanosoma cruzi, Trypanosoma brucei and species from the genus Leishmania stand out due to their importance in public health, infecting around 20 million people worldwide. The presence of aneuploidies in T. cruzi and Leishmania was recently confirmed by analysis based on next generation sequencing (NGS) and fluorescence in situ hybridization, where they have been associated with adaptation during transmission between their insect vectors and mammalian hosts and in promoting drug resistance. Although chromosomal copy number variations (CCNVs) are present in the aforementioned species, PFGE and fluorescence cytophotometry analyses suggest that aneuploidies are absent from T. brucei. A re-evaluation of CCNV in T. b gambiense based on NGS reads confirmed the absence of aneuploidies in this subspecies. However, the presence of aneuploidies in the other two T. brucei subspecies, T. b. brucei and T. b. rhodesiense, has not been evaluated using NGS approaches. In the present work, we tested for aneuploidies in 26 T. brucei isolates, including samples from the three T. brucei subspecies, by both allele frequency and read depth coverage analyses. These analyses showed that none of the T. brucei subspecies presents aneuploidies, which could be related to differences in the mechanisms of DNA replication and recombination in these parasites when compared with Leishmania.

Keywords: Trypanosoma brucei; aneuploidy; chromosomal copy number variation; genome; genome replication.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosomes / genetics*
  • Chromosomes / metabolism
  • DNA Copy Number Variations*
  • DNA Replication / physiology
  • DNA, Protozoan / biosynthesis
  • DNA, Protozoan / genetics
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Leishmania / genetics
  • Leishmania / metabolism
  • Phylogeny*
  • Ploidies*
  • Species Specificity
  • Trypanosoma brucei brucei / genetics*
  • Trypanosoma brucei brucei / metabolism
  • Trypanosoma cruzi / genetics*
  • Trypanosoma cruzi / metabolism


  • DNA, Protozoan