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Molecular and immunological characterization of three strains of Anaplasma marginale grown in cultured tick cells

Lis, Katarzyna, Fernández de Mera, Isabel G., Popara, Marina, Cabezas-Cruz, Alejandro, Ayllón, Nieves, Zweygarth, Erich, Passos, Lygia M.F., Broniszewska, Marzena, Villar, Margarita, Kocan, Katherine M., Ribeiro, Mucio F.B., Pfister, Kurt, de la Fuente, José
Ticks and tick-borne diseases 2015 v.6 no.4 pp. 522-529
Anaplasma marginale, adhesins, antibodies, bovine anaplasmosis, cattle, cell culture, genes, genomics, heat shock proteins, heat shock response, heat stress, multilocus sequence typing, pathogens, phylogeny, proteomics, surface proteins, tandem repeat sequences, ticks, vaccines, Brazil, Virginia
Anaplasma marginale is an economically important tick-borne pathogen of cattle that causes bovine anaplasmosis. A wide range of geographic strains of A. marginale have been isolated from cattle, several of which have been characterized using genomics and proteomics. While many of these strains have been propagated in tick lines, comparative analyses after propagation in tick cells have not been reported. The overall purpose of this research therefore was to compare the degree of conservation of selected genes after propagation in tick cell culture among A. marginale strains from the U.S. (the Virginia strain) and Brazil (UFMG1 and UFMG2 strains). The genes studied herein included those which encode the proteins HSP70 and SODB involved in heat shock and stress responses, respectively, and two genes that encode major surface proteins MSP4 and MSP5. Strain identities were first confirmed by sequencing the tandem repeats of the msp1a gene which encodes for the adhesin, MSP1a. The results of these studies demonstrated that the genes encoding for both stress response and heat shock proteins were highly conserved among the three A. marginale strains. Antibodies specific for MSP4, MSP5, SODB and HSP70 proteins were used to further characterize the A. marginale strains, and they reacted with all of these strains propagated in tick cell culture, providing further evidence for antigenic conservation. Although antigenic differences were not found among the three A. marginale strains, multi-locus sequence analysis (MLSA) performed with nucleotide sequences of these genes demonstrated that the A. marginale Brazilian and U.S. strains fall in different clades. These results showed that phylogenetically distant strains of A. marginale are antigenically conserved, even after several in vitro passages, supporting the use of some of the above conserved proteins as candidates for universal vaccines.