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Sequence and phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rRNA gene of Ehrlichia canis strains in dogs with clinical monocytic ehrlichiosis

Siarkou, V.I., Mylonakis, M.E., Bourtzi-Hatzopoulou, E., Koutinas, A.F.
Veterinary microbiology 2007 v.125 no.3-4 pp. 304-312
sequence analysis, ribosomal RNA, dog diseases, dogs, polymerase chain reaction, phylogeny, genetic variation, disease severity, pathogen identification, genotype, molecular epidemiology, genes, nucleotide sequences, strains, ehrlichiosis, virulence, Ehrlichia canis, disease course, Greece
The purpose of this study was to characterize, at the molecular level, the Ehrlichia canis strains involved in naturally occurring canine monocytic ehrlichiosis (CME) in Greece, and to investigate if any sequence diversity exists between the 16S rRNA genes of those involved in the mild non-myelosuppressive or the severe myelosuppressive form of CME. To this end, amplification of the ehrlichial 16S rRNA gene was attempted by nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays in bone marrow (BM) aspirates from 20 dogs tentatively diagnosed as having non-myelosuppressive (n = 10, group A) or myelosuppressive (n = 10, group B) CME. PCR assay using E. canis-specific primers revealed that 15 BM samples, including all group A and 5 group B dogs, were positive. Using universal PCR primers, a nearly full-length 16S rRNA gene could be amplified from 13 BM samples, including 9 group A and 4 group B dogs. The 16S rDNA analysis based on secondary structure revealed that all sequences of the Greek strains were identical to each other and indicated 100% identity among some American (Venezuelan and Brazilian), European (Greek), Middle Eastern (Turkish) and Asiatic (Thailand) strains. The results of this study suggest that the E. canis strains involved in the non-myelosuppressive and myelosuppressive forms of CME in Greece share an identical 16S rRNA genotype.