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Minichromosomal Repetitive DNA in Trypanosoma cruzi: Its Use in a High-Sensitivity Parasite Detection Assay

Antonio Gonzalez, Ellen Prediger, Maria E. Huecas, Nadia Nogueira and Paul M. Lizardi
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 81, No. 11, [Part 1: Biological Sciences] (Jun. 1, 1984), pp. 3356-3360
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23833
Page Count: 5
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Minichromosomal Repetitive DNA in Trypanosoma cruzi: Its Use in a High-Sensitivity Parasite Detection Assay
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Abstract

We have isolated genomic clones containing members of a tandemly repeated DNA family from Trypanosoma cruzi. This family, which contains a 195-base pair (bp) repeating unit, is the most abundant repetitive DNA in this organism. DNA sequencing analysis of three adjacent tandem repeats as well as two independent nonadjacent repeats showed relatively little sequence heterogeneity. Surprisingly, the three tandem elements contained a 585-bp open reading frame. However, blot hybridization of RNA from epimastigotes as well as blood-form trypomastigotes failed to show evidence for transcription of these sequences. Fractionation of whole T. cruzi DNA in sucrose gradients or in agarose gels followed by hybridization with appropriate radioactive probes showed that the size distribution of DNA bearing the 195-bp repetitive element is distinct from that of kinetoplast DNA as well as from that of DNA bearing tubulin genes. Hybridization of the 195-bp element probe with DNA from six different T. cruzi strains was positive; hybridization with DNA of other protozoa was negative with the single exception of Leptomonas collosoma, which displayed a weak cross-hybridization signal. Clones bearing this repetitive element are shown to be useful as probes for identification and counting of T. cruzi cells by dot-blot hybridization. The sensitivity of this assay permits detection of the DNA of 30 parasites in blood samples.

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