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Identification of Anaplasma centrale major surface protein-2 pseudogenes

Molad, T., Leibovich, B., Mazuz, M., Fleiderovich, L., Fish, L., Shkap, V.
Veterinary microbiology 2010 v.143 no.2-4 pp. 277-283
cattle, bovine anaplasmosis, strains, pathotypes, Anaplasma centrale, Anaplasma marginale, pathogenicity, genetic variation, antigenic variation, microbial genetics, molecular genetics, genes, bacterial proteins, major surface glycoproteins, sequence analysis, gene expression, virulence, vaccines, vaccine development, immune response, pseudogenes
The present study was aimed to identify msp2 pseudogenes and MSP2 variants in the vaccine Anaplama centrale strain. Five msp2 pseudogenes were identified in the A. centrale genome, and multiple MSP2 variants that emerged during both acute and persistent infection were detected. The pseudogene copies of msp2 were truncated; they contained a central hypervariable region flanked by short portions of the 5′ and 3′ conserved regions. Alignment of the hypervariable region sequence of the expression site of MSP2 variants with msp2 pseudogenes showed that MSP2 variants are generated by two mechanisms, previously described in Anaplasma marginale: (i) recombination of the whole pseudogene into the single msp2 expression site, and (ii) recombination of small segments of pseudogenes into the expression site by segmental gene conversion. The present study showed that the A. centrale MSP2 variants and the msp2 pseudogene repertoire were different from those reported for A. marginale. Unique MSP2 variants and pseudogenes identified in the vaccine strain allow the A. centrale-vaccinated cattle to be superinfected with the field strains of A. marginale. The knowledge gained in the present study on the mechanisms of antigenic variations in the vaccine strain of A. centrale is a further step in the development of a new generation vaccine against anaplasmosis.