Entamoeba dispar andEntamoeba histolytica are now recognized as two distinct species-the former being nonpathogenic to humans. We had earlier studied the organization of ribosomal RNA genes inE. histolytica. Here we report the analysis of ribosomal RNA genes inE. dispar. The rRNA genes ofE. dispar, like their counterpart inE. histolytica are located on a circular rDNA molecule. From restriction map analysis, the size ofE. dispar rDNA circle was estimated to be 24·4 kb. The size was also confirmed by linearizing the circle withBsaHI, and by limited DNAseI digestion. The restriction map of theE. dispar rDNA circle showed close similarity to EhR1, the rDNA circle ofE. histolytica strain HM-1:IMSS which has two rDNA units per circle. The various families of short tandem repeats found in the upstream and downstream intergenic spacers (IGS) of EhR1 were also present inE. dispar. Partial sequencing of the cloned fragments ofE. dispar rDNA and comparison with EhR1 revealed only 2·6% to 3·8% sequence divergence in the IGS. The region Tr and the adjoiningPvuI repeats in the IGS of EhR1, which are missing in thoseE. histolytica strains that have one rDNA unit per circle, were present in theE. dispar rDNA circle. Such close similarity in the overall organization and sequence of the IGS of rDNAs of two different species is uncommon. In fact the spacer sequences were only slightly more divergent than the 18S rRNA gene sequence which differs by 1·6% in the two species. The most divergent sequence betweenE. histolytica andE. dispar was the internal transcribed spacer, ITS2. Therefore, it was concluded that probes derived from the ITS1 and ITS 2 sequences would be more reliable and reproducible than probes from the IGS regions used earlier for identifying these species.
Volume 48, 2023
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