A Multilocus Genotypic Analysis of Cryptosporidium meleagridis


Corresponding author: L. Xiao -Telephone: 770–488–4840; FAX: 770–488–4454; E-mail: laxO@cdc.gov


ABSTRACT. Cryptosporidium meleagridis is a common cause of cryptosporidiosis in birds. In addition, recent reports have described the parasite as an etiologic agent of cryptosporidiosis in both immunocompetent and immunocompromised humans. Therefore, it is important to genetically characterize isolates of C. meleagridis from different hosts and geographic areas, and to develop molecular tools to differentiate isolates from various hosts or areas. In this study, a total of 11 isolates of Cryptosporidium meleagridis from both human and avian hosts were examined at three genetic loci: the small-subunit rRNA, 60-kDa glycoprotein precursor, and 70-kDa heat shock protein genes. Two genotypes of C. meleagridis were seen at the small-subunit rRNA locus. These differed from each other by the presence or lack of a heterogeneous copy of the gene and an ATT repeat. The 60-kDa glycoprotein precursor gene divided these eleven isolates of C. meleagridis into six genotypes with high sequence diversity between groups. The highest genetic heterogeneity, however, was seen at the 70-kDa heat shock protein locus, and was primarily present at the 3′end of the gene. This heterogeneity separated eight isolates of C. meleagridis into six genotypes. These data could be useful in the development of molecular tools to promote understanding of the transmission of C. meleagridisiin humans.