The transcriptional control of gene expression is not well documented in the Arthropoda. We describe transcriptional analysis of two exceptionally divergent homologues (Ra86) of the Bm86 gut antigen from Rhipicephalus appendiculatus. Bm86 forms the basis of a commercial vaccine for the control of Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus. The R. appendiculatus Ra86 proteins contain 654 and 693 amino acids, with only 80% amino acid sequence identity. Reverse-transcription PCR of gut cDNA showed transcription of only one genotype in individual female ticks. PCR amplification of 3' untranslated sequences from genomic DNA indicated that both variants could be encoded within a single genome. When both variants were present, one of the two Ra86 genotypes was transcriptionally dominant.
Theileria parva causes East Coast fever, an economically important disease of cattle in sub-Saharan Africa. We describe a nested polymerase chain reaction (nPCR) assay for the detection of T. parva DNA in cattle blood spotted onto filter paper using primers derived from the T. parva-specific 104-kDa antigen (p104) gene. The sensitivity of this assay was compared to a previously described p104-based PCR and also the reverse line blot (RLB) technique, using serial dilutions of blood from a calf with known T. parva piroplasm parasitaemia. The relative sensitivities of the three assays were 0.4, 1.4 and 4 parasites/microl corresponding to blood parasitaemias of 9.2 x 10(-6)%, 2.8 x 10(-5)% and 8.3 x 10(-5)%, respectively. The three assays were applied to samples from two calves infected with the T. parva Muguga stock. Parasite DNA was consistently detectable by the two p104 PCR assays until 48 and 82 days post-infection, respectively, and thereafter sporadically. RLB detected parasite DNA in the two infected calves until days 43 and 45. Field samples from 151 Kenyan cattle exhibited 37.7% positivity for T. parva by regular p104 PCR and 42.3% positivity using p104 nPCR. Among 169 cattle blood samples from Southern Sudan, 36% were positive for T. parva using nPCR. The nPCR assay represents a highly sensitive tool for detection and monitoring of asymptomatic carrier state infections of T. parva in the blood of cattle.
Bishop, RP, Odongo DO, Mann J, Pearson TW, Sugimoto C, Haines LR, Glass E, Jensen K, Seitzer U, Ahmed JS, Graham SP, de Villiers EP.
2009. Theileria. Genome Mapping and Genomics in Animal-Associated Microbes. , Berlin Heidelberg, Germany: Springer-Verlag
Theileria parva is the etiologic agent of East Coast fever, an economically important disease of cattle in sub-Saharan Africa. This protozoan parasite is biologically transmitted by Rhipicephalus appendiculatus (Neumann) (Acari: Ixodidae). An understanding of the vector-parasite interaction may aid the development of improved methods for controlling transmission. We developed quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and nested PCR (nPCR) assays targeting the T. parva-specific p104 gene to study T. parva pathogenesis in two strains of R. appendiculatus that had previously been selected to be relatively more (Kiambu) or less (Muguga) susceptible to infection. Nymphs from both strains were fed simultaneously to repletion on acutely infected calves. Nymphs from the Kiambu strain showed significantly higher engorgement weights compared with Muguga strain nymphs. Immediately after engorgement qPCR confirmed that nymphal Kiambu ticks had significantly higher parasite loads at repletion than Muguga nymphs. By 12 d postengorgement, parasites were below quantifiable levels but could be detected by nPCR in 83-87% (Muguga and Kiambu, respectively) of nymphs. After the molt, adult feeding on naïve cattle stimulated parasite replication in the salivary glands. PCR detected significantly more infected ticks than microscopy, and there was a significant difference between the two tick strains both in the proportion of ticks that develop salivary gland infections, and in the number of parasites within infected salivary glands. These data confirm that although both tick strains were competent vectors, Kiambu is both a significantly more susceptible and a more efficient host for T. parva than Muguga. The mechanisms that contribute to the levels of susceptibility and efficiency are unknown; however, this study lays the groundwork for a comparison of the transcriptome of these tick strains, the next step toward discovering the genes involved in the tick-parasite interaction.
The BM86 antigen, originally identified in Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus, is the basis of the only commercialized anti-tick vaccine. The long-term goal of our study is to improve BM86 based vaccines by induction of high levels of tick gut binding antibodies that are also cross-reactive with a range of BM86 homologues expressed in other important tick species. Here we have used a BD86 derived synthetic peptide, BD86-3, to raise a series of mouse monoclonal antibodies. One of these mAbs, named 12.1, recognized BM86 homologues in immuno-histochemical analyses in four out of five tick species including R. (B.) microplus, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) decoloratus, Hyalomma anatolicum anatolicum and Rhipicephalus appendiculatus. Our results indicate that broadly cross-reactive tick gut binding antibodies can be induced after immunization with a synthetic peptide derived from the protein BD86.
Vaccines based on recombinant Bm86 gut antigen from Boophilus microplus are a useful component of integrated control strategies against B. microplus infestations of cattle. The capacity of such vaccines to control heterologous infestations by two African tick species was investigated. The mean weight of engorged female ticks and mean egg mass per tick were significantly reduced in B. decoloratus infestations, but there was no effect of the vaccine against adult Rhipicephalus appendiculatus. We cloned, sequenced and expressed two Bm86 homologues (Bd86) from B. decoloratus. Amino acid sequence identity between Bd86 homologues (Bd86-1 and Bd86-2) and Bm86 was 86% and 85%, respectively, compared to 93% identity between the variants. Native Bd86 protein in B. decoloratus tick mid-gut sections and recombinant Bd86-1 reacted strongly with sera from TickGARD vaccinated cattle. TickGARD can therefore protect against a heterologous tick species with multiple antigen sequences. Epitope mapping using sera from TickGARD-vaccinated cattle identified two linear peptides conserved between the Bd86 homologues and Bm86. These epitopes represent candidate synthetic peptide vaccines for control of Boophilus spp. and the pathogens transmitted by these tick vectors.
Theileria parva schizont-infected lymphocyte culture isolates from western, central and coastal Kenya were analysed for size polymorphism at 30 T. parva-specific variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) loci using a panel of mini- and micro-satellite markers. The mean number of alleles ranged from 3 to 11 at individual loci and 183 distinct alleles were observed in total, indicating high genetic diversity within the T. parva gene pool in Kenyan cattle. The frequency distribution of the length variation of specific alleles among isolates ranged from normal to markedly discontinuous. Genetic relationships between isolates were analysed using standard indices of genetic distance. Genetic distances and dendrograms derived from these using neighbour-joining algorithms did not indicate significant clustering on a geographical basis. Analysis of molecular variance demonstrated that the genetic variation between individual isolates was 72%, but only 2.3% when isolates from different regions were pooled. Both these observations suggest minimal genetic sub-structuring relative to geographical origin. Linkage disequilibrium was observed between pairs of loci within populations, as in certain Ugandan T. parva populations. A novel observation was that disequilibrium was also detected between alleles at three individual pairs of VNTR loci when isolates from the three regional meta-populations were pooled for analysis.
Two recombinant vaccines against Theileriaparva, based on a near full-length version of the sporozoite surface antigen p67 (p67(635)), or an 80 amino acid C-terminal section (p67C), were evaluated by exposure of immunized cattle to natural tick challenge in two sites at the Kenya Coast and one in Central Kenya. Vaccination reduced severe ECF by 47% at the coast and by 52% in central Kenya from an average incidence of 0.53+/-0.07 (S.E.) in 50 non-immunised controls to an average of 0.27+/-0.05 in 83 immunised animals. The reduction in severe East Coast fever was similar to that observed in laboratory experiments with p67(635) and p67C. The p67 coding sequence from thirteen T. parva field isolates including seven from vaccinated cattle that were not protected, was 100% identical to the gene on which the recombinant vaccine is based, suggesting a predominantly homologous p67 antigenic challenge. The same parasite isolates were however genetically heterogeneous at several loci other than p67.
Sequences from a tannin-tolerant Selenomonas ruminantium isolate (EAT2) that hydrolyzes gallic acid were identified. Two exhibited identity to helicases with a wide phylogenetic distribution. PCR amplification by using primers from one helicase gene detected 2000 to 5000 EAT2 genome equivalents but did not amplify total gastrointestinal microbial DNA of nine other ungulate species.
At present, there is little information on the phylogenetic diversity of microbial species that inhabit the gastrointestinal tracts of wildlife. To increase understanding in this area, we initiated a characterization of the bacterial diversity in the digestive tracts of three wild African ruminant species namely eland (Taurotragus oryx), Thompson's gazelle (Gazella rufifrons) and Grant's gazelle (Gazella granti), together with a domesticated ruminant species, zebu cattle (Bos indicus), and a non-ruminant species, zebra (Equus quagga). Bacterial diversity was analysed by PCR amplification, sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) sequences. A total of 252 full-length 16S rDNA sequences averaging 1,500 base pairs (bp) in length, and an additional 27 partial sequences were obtained and subject to phylogenetic analysis. Using a 98% criterion for similarity, all except for one of the sequences were derived from distinct phylotypes. At least 24 distinct operational taxonomic units (OTU's) could be identified, with the majority of these sequences representing hitherto uncharacterized species and genera. The sequences were generally affiliated with four major bacterial phyla, the majority being members of the Firmicutes (low G+C Gram-positives) related to the genera Clostridium and Ruminococcus. By contrast, with earlier studies using 16S rDNA sequences to assess biodiversity in Bos taurus dairy cattle, Gram-negative bacteria in the Bacteroidales (Prevotella-Bacteroides group) were poorly represented. The lack of redundancy in the 16S rDNA dataset from the five African ungulate species, and the presence of novel sequences not previously described from the gastrointestinal tract of any animal species, highlights the level of diversity that exists in these ecosystems and raises the question as to the functional role of these species in the gastrointestinal tract.
Mini- and microsatellite sequences show high levels of variation and therefore provide excellent tools for both the genotyping and population genetic analysis of parasites. Herein we describe the identification of a panel of 11 polymorphic microsatellites and 49 polymorphic minisatellites of the protozoan haemoparasite Theileria parva. The PCR products were run on high resolution Spreadex gels on which the alleles were identified and sized. The sequences of the mini- and microsatellites were distributed across the four chromosomes with 16 on chromosome 1, 12 on chromosome 2, 14 on chromosome 3 and 18 on chromosome 4. The primers from the 60 sequences were tested against all the Theileria species that co-infect cattle in East and Southern Africa and were found to be specific for T. parva. In order to demonstrate the utility of these markers, we characterised eight tissue culture isolates of T. parva isolated from cattle in widely separated regions of Eastern and Southern Africa (one from Zambia, one from Uganda, two from Zimbabwe, four from Kenya) and one Kenyan tissue culture isolate from Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer). The numbers of alleles per locus range from three to eight indicating a high level of diversity between these geographically distinct isolates. We also analysed five isolates from cattle on a single farm at Kakuzi in the central highlands of Kenya and identified a range of one to four alleles per locus. Four of the Kakuzi isolates represented distinct multilocus genotypes while two exhibited identical multilocus genotypes. This indicates a high level of diversity in a single population of T. parva. Cluster analysis of multilocus genotypes from the 14 isolates (using a neighbour joining algorithm) revealed that genetic similarity between isolates was not obviously related to their geographical origin.