Genetic similarities between Cyclospora cayetanensis and cecum-infecting avian Eimeria spp. in apicoplast and mitochondrial genomes Wed, 08/07/2015 - 13:00 Background: Cyclospora cayetanensis is an important cause for diarrhea in children in developing countries and foodborne outbreaks of cyclosporiasis in industrialized nations. To improve understanding of the basic biology of Cyclospora spp. and development of molecular diagnostic tools and therapeutics, we sequenced the complete apicoplast and mitochondrial genomes of C. cayetanensis. Methods: The genome of one Chinese C. cayetanensis isolate was sequenced using Roche 454 and Illumina technologies. The assembled genomes of the apicoplast and mitochondrion were retrieved, annotated, and compared with reference genomes for other apicomplexans to infer genome organizations and phylogenetic relationships. Sequence variations in the mitochondrial genome were identified by comparison of two C. cayetanensis nucleotide sequences from this study and a recent publication. Results: The apicoplast and mitochondrial genomes of C. cayetanensis are 34,155 and 6,229 bp in size and code for 65 and 5 genes, respectively. Comparative genomic analysis showed high similarities between C. cayetanensis and Eimeria tenella in both genomes; they have 85.6 % and 90.4 % nucleotide sequence similarities, respectively, and complete synteny in gene organization. Phylogenetic analysis of the genomic sequences confirmed the genetic similarities between cecum-infecting avian Eimeria spp. and C. cayetanensis. Like in other coccidia, both genomes of C. cayetanensis are transcribed bi-directionally. The apicoplast genome is circular, codes for the complete machinery for protein biosynthesis, and contains two inverted repeats that differ slightly in LSU rRNA gene sequences. In contrast, the mitochondrial genome has a linear concatemer or circular mapping topology. Eight single-nucleotide and one 7-bp multiple-nucleotide variants were detected between the mitochondrial genomes of C. cayetanensis from this and recent studies. Conclusions: The apicoplast and mitochondrial genomes of C. cayetanensis are highly similar to those of cecum-infecting avian Eimeria spp. in both genome organization and sequences. The availability of sequence data beyond rRNA and heat shock protein genes could facilitate studies of C. cayetanensis biology and development of genotyping tools for investigations of cyclosporiasis outbreaks.