Parasitology Research

, Volume 109, Issue 1, pp 163–173 | Cite as

Species delimitation and phylogenetic relationships of Chinese Leishmania isolates reexamined using kinetoplast cytochrome oxidase II gene sequences

  • De-Ping Cao
  • Xian-Guang Guo
  • Da-Li ChenEmail author
  • Jian-Ping ChenEmail author
Original Paper


Leishmaniasis is a geographically widespread disease caused by protozoan parasites belonging to the genus Leishmania and transmitted by certain species of sand fly. This disease still remains endemic in China, especially in the west and northwest frontier regions. A recent ITS1 phylogeny of Chinese Leishmania isolates has challenged some aspects for their traditional taxonomy and cladistic hypotheses of their phylogeny. However, disagreement with respect to relationships within Chinese Leishmania isolates highlights the need for additional data and analyses. Here, we test the phylogenetic relationships among Chinese isolates and their relatives by analyzing kinetoplast cytochrome oxidase II (COII) gene sequences, including 14 Chinese isolates and three isolates from other countries plus 17 sequences retrieved from GenBank. The COII gene might have experienced little substitution saturation, and its evolutionary process was likely to have been stationary, reversible, and homogeneous. Both neighbor-joining and Bayesian analyses reveal a moderately supported group comprising ten newly determined isolates, which is closely related to Leishmania tarentolae and Endotrypanum monterogeii. In combination with genetic distance analysis as well as Bayesian hypothesis testing, this further corroborates the occurrence of an undescribed species of Leishmania. Our results also suggest that (1) isolate MHOM/CN/93/GS7 and isolate IPHL/CN/77/XJ771 are Leishmania donovani; (2) isolate MHOM/CN/84/JS1 is Leishmania tropica; (3) the status referring to an isolate MRHO/CN/62/GS-GER20 from a great gerbil in Gansu, China, as Leishmania gerbilli, formerly based on multilocus enzyme electrophoresis, is recognized; and (4) E. monterogeii is nested within the genus Leishmania, resulting in a paraphyletic Leishmania. In addition, the results of this study enrich our understanding of the heterogeneity and relationships of Chinese Leishmania isolates.


Visceral Leishmaniasis Leishmaniasis Leishmania Species COII Gene Bayesian Inference Analysis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundations of China (30771883, 30800094), the National Project of Important Infectious Diseases (2008-ZX10004-011), and the Foundation for Young Teachers in Sichuan University (grant no. 07056). X-G Guo was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (30700062).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Parasitology, West China School of Preclinical and Forensic MedicineSichuan UniversityChengduChina
  2. 2.Chengdu Institute of BiologyChinese Academy of SciencesChengduChina
  3. 3.Animal Disease Prevention and Food Safety Key Laboratory of Sichuan ProvinceSichuan UniversityChengduChina

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