Leptomonas costaricensis, isolate 15EC

Literature: V. A. Yurchenko, J. Lukes, M. Jirku, R. Zeledon, D. A. Maslov (2006) Leptomonas costaricensis sp. n. (Kinetoplastea: Trypanosomatidae), a member of the novel phylogenetic group of insect trypanosomatids closely related to the genus Leishmania. Parasitology (in press). Pdf file of the manuscript.

Geographic distribution and biotope. The organism was found in Costa Rica but its distribution remains unknown. The heteropteran reduviid host, Ricolla simillima (kindly identified by C. Weirauch) was frequent on a vegetation near the forest edge at El Ceibo, a 500 m elevation site 10 km NE of La Virgen (province Heredia).

A pasture near El Ceibo
Ricolla simillima
Morphology in host and culture: In the host, the cells appeared as elongated promastigotes, single or aggregated. In culture, the cell maintained the typical promastigote shape characteristic for the polyphyletic genus Leptomonas.
L. costaricensis promastigotes in culture, left - live cells by phase contrast, right - staining by Giemsa
Ultrastructure: details are provided in the publication (see above). A peculiar charater of the organism was a relatively massive flagellum and a very prominent paraflagellar rod.
Genotyping and molecular phylogenetic classification. The most interesting feature of this species is its phylogenetic position as a member of a novel phylogenetic clade representing a sister group of Leishmania. This makes this species the closest outgroup available to root molecular phylogenetic trees of this genus.

The alignments used to analyze phylogeny of L. costaricensis: GAPDH, SSU rRNA, RPOIILS