Preliminary population genetic analysis of Trypanosoma lewisi
Development of nine microsatellite loci for Trypanosoma lewisi, a potential human pathogen in Western Africa and South-East Asia, and preliminary population genetics analyses
Recommendation: posted 17 October 2022, validated 28 October 2022
Trypanosoma lewisi is an atypical trypanosome species. Transmitted by fleas, it has a high prevalence and worldwide distribution in small mammals, especially rats . Although not typically thought to infect humans, there has been a number of reports of human infections by T. lewisi in Asia including a case of a fatal infection in an infant . The fact that the parasite is resistant to lysis by normal human serum  suggests that many people, especially immunocompromised individuals, may be at risk from zoonotic infections by this pathogen, particularly in regions where there is close contact with T. lewisi-infected rat fleas. Indeed, it is also possible that cryptic T. lewisi infections exist but have hitherto gone undetected. Such asymptomatic infections have been detected for a number of parasitic infections including the related parasite T. b. gambiense .
Despite the fact that T. lewisi parasites pose a risk to human health, very little is known about their population structure, reproductive mode, population size or dispersal. In the article , Ségard et al. presented the first attempt at examining the population structure of the parasite. They developed microsatellite markers and used them to analyse a small set of samples from West Africa and Southeast Asia. Although the number of microsatellite markers is not very high and they encountered problems of PCR amplification especially of the southeast Asian samples, they did provide preliminary data that hints at a clonal population structure with rare recombination and suggests population subdivisions occurring at a scale that is equal, and probably smaller than a neighborhood of several houses with a short generation time. These are very interesting preliminary findings that will need to be validated using a larger cohort with more markers or by whole genome sequencing.
 Hoare CA (1972) The trypanosomes of mammals. A zoological monograph. The trypanosomes of mammals. A zoological monograph.
 Truc P, Büscher P, Cuny G, Gonzatti MI, Jannin J, Joshi P, Juyal P, Lun Z-R, Mattioli R, Pays E, Simarro PP, Teixeira MMG, Touratier L, Vincendeau P, Desquesnes M (2013) Atypical Human Infections by Animal Trypanosomes. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 7, e2256. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0002256
 Lun Z-R, Wen Y-Z, Uzureau P, Lecordier L, Lai D-H, Lan Y-G, Desquesnes M, Geng G-Q, Yang T-B, Zhou W-L, Jannin JG, Simarro PP, Truc P, Vincendeau P, Pays E (2015) Resistance to normal human serum reveals Trypanosoma lewisi as an underestimated human pathogen. Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology, 199, 58–61. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molbiopara.2015.03.007
 Büscher P, Bart J-M, Boelaert M, Bucheton B, Cecchi G, Chitnis N, Courtin D, Figueiredo LM, Franco J-R, Grébaut P, Hasker E, Ilboudo H, Jamonneau V, Koffi M, Lejon V, MacLeod A, Masumu J, Matovu E, Mattioli R, Noyes H, Picado A, Rock KS, Rotureau B, Simo G, Thévenon S, Trindade S, Truc P, Reet NV (2018) Do Cryptic Reservoirs Threaten Gambiense-Sleeping Sickness Elimination? Trends in Parasitology, 34, 197–207. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pt.2017.11.008
 Ségard A, Roméro A, Ravel S, Truc P, Gauthier D, Gauthier P, Dossou H-J, Sylvestre B, Houéménou G, Morand S, Chaisiri K, Noûs C, De Meeûs T (2022) Development of nine microsatellite loci for Trypanosoma lewisi, a potential human pathogen in Western Africa and South-East Asia, and preliminary population genetics analyses. Zenodo, 6460010, ver. 3 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Infections. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6460010
Annette MacLeod (2022) Preliminary population genetic analysis of Trypanosoma lewisi. Peer Community In Infections, 100004. https://doi.org/10.24072/pci.infections.100004
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article.
Evaluation round #1
DOI or URL of the preprint: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6460010
Version of the preprint: 1
Author's Reply, 17 Sep 2022
Decision by Annette MacLeod, posted 13 Jun 2022
I think this manuscript will be much improved by adopting the revisions suggested by the reviewers.