Mitochondrial DNA characterization of Sergentomyia sintoni populations and finding mammalian Leishmania infections in this sandfly by using ITS-rDNA gene

Document Type: Full paper (Original article)


1 Molecular Systematics Laboratory, Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Epidemiology, Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, Iran


Sergentomyia sintoni is the natural vector of Sauroleishmania species of lizards. This sandfly is
abundance in and around the burrows of great gerbils. S. sintoni was collected from peridomestic animal
shelters, inside and around houses and also from the nearby burrows of the gerbil reservoir hosts,
Rhombomys opimus, in several provinces of Iran. Mitochondrial Cytochrome b (Cyt b) of sandflies, which is
a maternally-inherited gene marker was used to characterize different haplotypes and populations of this
sandfly. The analyses were based on the last 717 bp of the Cyt b gene followed by 20 bp of intergenic spacer
and the transfer RNA ser (TCN) gene, i.e. the 737 bp fragment (without primers) amplified with the primers
CB1-SE and CB-R06. The ITS-rDNA gene was also used to find Leishmania infections in S. sintoni. Cyt b
5´ fragment sequences were obtained from 22 S. sintoni, Cyt b 3´ fragment sequences were also obtained
from 22 and Cyt b Long fragment sequences were obtained from 19 S. sintoni. By using nested PCR of ITSrDNA
gene, at least two species of L. major and L. gerbilli s.l. were found in S. sintoni. It needs further
studies for considering the vectorial role of S. sintoni in ZCL foci, it’s important role in maintaining L. major
infections in the great gerbil and transmitting Leishmania species to people and among the reservoir hosts.