SAG3Toxoplasma gondii cloning reveals unexpected fivefold infection in the blood of feral cats in the Mexican Caribbean.
Background: Currently, more than 300 genotypes of Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) have been described throughout the world, demonstrating its wide genetic diversity. The SAG3 locus is one of the genes included in the genotyping panel of this parasite. It is associated with its virulence since it participates during the invasion process of the host cells. Therefore, cloning, sequencing, and bioinformatic analysis were used to deepen the understanding of the SAG3 locus genetic diversity of T. gondii in blood samples from feral cats. Results: Six different SAG3 sequences were detected, five of which were detected in one feline. Three sequences were first reported here; one of them was an intragenic recombinant. In the cladogram, four out of ten SAG3 sequences did not share nodes with others reported worldwide. Conclusions: Cloning and sequencing of samples with more than one restriction pattern by PCR-RFLP were very helpful tools to demonstrate the presence of more than three genotypes of T. gondii in the blood of feral cats from southeastern Mexico. This suggests a potential mixed infection of multiple T. gondii strains and high genetic diversity of the parasites in felines in this tropical region of Mexico.