Twelve isolates of Acanthamoeba spp. assigned to either A. castellanii or A. polyphaga, and type strains of A. culbertsoni, A. healyi, A. palestinensis, and A. astronyxis were examined by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) of a conserved region of small subunit ribosomal RNA gene (ssu rDNA) amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The PCR products of the isolates measured approximately 910-930 bp, except for that of A. astronyxis which was extraordinarily long, approximately 1,170 bp. Average of estimated sequence divergence of the amplified DNA among the isolates assigned to A. castellaii was 9.8% whereas that among the isolates assigned to A. polyphaga 9.6%. The maximum intraspecific sequence divergence among the isolates assigned to A. castellanii was observed between the Chang and Ma strains (17.3%) while that among the isolates assigned to A. polyphaga was observed between KA/S3 and KA/S7 strains (16.1%). The both maximum sequence divergences were much greater than the minimum interspecific sequence divergence between A. castellanii and A. polyphaga (2.6%) which appeared between the Castellani (or CCAP 1501/2 g) and KA/S3 strains. The PCR-RFLP patterns of A. culbertsoni, A. healyi, A. palestinensis, and A. astronyxis were quite diverse from one another and from those of isolates assigned to either A. castellanii or A. polyphaga. It is suggested that taxonomic validity of the isolates assigned to either A. castellanii or A. polyphaga should be reevaluated.
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