Genetic variability in ESAG6 genes among Trypanosoma evansi isolates and in comparison to other Trypanozoon members

William H. Witola, Nopporn Sarataphan, Noboru Inoue, Kazuhiko Ohashi, Misao Onuma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bloodstream trypanosomes take up iron needed for their propagation through the transferrin receptor that, in Trypanosoma brucei, is encoded by expression-site-associated genes (ESAGs), ESAG6 and 7 genes located in variant surface glycoprotein expression sites. ESAG6 and 7 genes in different expression sites have been shown to encode transferrin receptors with varying affinities for polymorphic transferrins. T. brucei could cope with the different host transferrins by switching between expression sites. ESAG6- and 7-encoded transferrin receptor appear to be present in Trypanosoma evansi but the genes have not yet been characterized. In this study, we cloned and sequenced different members of ESAG6 genes in seven isolates of T. evansi from geographically distinct localities in Thailand. We assessed the intra- and inter-species genetic variability in the transferrin receptor gene regions involved in transferrin binding and established that T. evansi, like T. brucei, has widely diverse ESAG6 genes. In addition, T. evansi possess a clade of ESAG6 variants not observed in T. brucei and different T. evansi strains share at least two conserved variants. We further noted that T. evansi possesses all the reported T. equiperdum ESAG6 variants as a subset. Our findings depict a correlation between the genetic diversity in the transferrin-binding regions of ESAG6 genes with the broad host range of T. evansi and T. brucei compared to the narrow host range of Trypanosoma equiperdum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-73
Number of pages11
JournalActa Tropica
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • ESAG6 genes
  • Genetic variability
  • Transferrin receptor
  • Trypanosoma evansi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • veterinary (miscalleneous)
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases


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