Meloni, Dionigia (2012) Molecular identification and evolution of protozoa belonging to the Parabasalia group and the genus Blastocystis. Doctoral Thesis.
My research project is focused in the study two groups of protists: the Parabasalia and Blastocystis, an emerging parasite. The first part is based on the identification and pathogenicity of trichomonads. We confirmed that Pentatrichomonas hominis could be the aetiological agent of gastrointestinal troubles and that the waterborne could be the transmission mode. We confirmed the presence of some parabasalid outside their natural such as lungs and intestinal tract. We found Trichomonas tenax in the lungs, in the feces as well as in the colon, and with Trichomonas vaginalis in the colon of an immunocompetent individual. In the second part, we studied the evolution and systematics of parabasalids using as markers glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), actin and elongation factor EF-1a. Our data indicate that increasing the number of taxa as well as the addition of new molecular markers greatly improves the robustness of the parabasalid tree and suggest that the ancestral parabasalid cell exhibited a morphologically simple structure. In the third part I have conducted the first investigations onto the molecular epidemiology of human Blastocystis isolates in Italy and Lebanon. In the last part we described a case report of multiple coinfections with Blastocystis isolates in a French patient showing that rural lifestyle and traveling history represent risk factors for transmission and multiple infections with Blastocystis.
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