The zoonotic rickettsial pathogen Anaplasma phagocytophilum has a broad geographical distribution and a high degree of biological and clinical diversity. To determine the prevalence of Anaplasma phagocytophilum in the Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Gansu Province, north-western China, four ruminant species, one rodent and one tick species were examined for Anaplasma phagocytophilum infection. DNA from Anaplasma phagocytophilum was detected by nested PCR in blood samples from 21/49 sheep (42.9 %), 35/91 goats (38.5 %), 51/158 yaks (32.3 %) and 7/20 cattle-yaks (35.0 %), and in spleen samples from 2/12 rodents (16.7 %). For samples from tick larvae and nymphs, 105 pools were tested; one of 46 larval tick pools was positive and seven of 59 nymphal tick pools were positive. For adult ticks, 40/598 female ticks (6.7 %) and 26/528 male ticks (4.9 %) were positive. The prevalence of Anaplasma phagocytophilum in female ticks was higher than that in males, although the difference was not statistically significant (P.0.05). Sequences analysis based on the 16S rRNA gene indicated that the strains in the study area were distinct from previously reported Anaplasma phagocytophilum in other continents. These results add new information on the epidemiology of Anaplasma phagocytophilum and indicate the tick-animal cycle of anaplasmosis in the area. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of Anaplasma phagocytophilum infection in Gansu Province in north-western China.
Theileria annulata can infect monocytes/macrophages and B lymphocytes and causes severe lymphoproliferative disease in ruminants. Meanwhile, infection by T. annulata leads to the permanent proliferation of cell population through regulating signaling pathways of host cells. Cysteine proteinases (CPs) are one kind of protein hydrolase and usually play critical roles in parasite virulence, host invasion, nutrition and host immune response. However, the biological function of T. annulata CP (TaCP) is still unclear. In this study, a yeast-two-hybrid assay was performed to screen host proteins interacting with TaCP, to provide information to help our understanding of the molecular mechanisms between T. annulata and host cells.MethodsThe cDNA from purified bovine B cells was inserted into pGADT7-SfiI vector (pGADT7-SfiI-BcDNA, Prey plasmid) for constructing the yeast two-hybrid cDNA library. TaCP was cloned into the pGBKT7 vector (pGBKT7-TaCP) and was considered as bait plasmid after evaluating the expression, auto-activation and toxicity tests in the yeast strain Y2HGold. The yeast two-hybrid screening was carried out via co-transforming bait and prey plasmids into yeast strain Y2HGold. Sequences of positive preys were analyzed using BLAST, Gene Ontology, UniProt and STRING.ResultsTwo host proteins, CRBN (Bos taurus cereblon transcript variant X2) and Ppp4C (Bos indicus protein phosphatase 4 catalytic subunit) were identified to interact with TaCP. The results of functional analysis showed that the two proteins were involved in many cellular processes, such as ubiquitylation regulation, microtubule organization, DNA repair, cell apoptosis and maturation of spliceosomal snRNPs.ConclusionsThis study is the first to screen the host proteins of bovine B cells interacting with TaCP, and 2 proteins, CRBN and Ppp4C, were identified using yeast two-hybrid technique. The results of functional analysis suggest that the two proteins are involved in many cellular processes, such as ubiquitylation regulating, microtubule organization, DNA repair, cell apoptosis and maturation of spliceosomal snRNPs. The interaction with CRBN and Ppp4C indicate that TaCP possibly is involved in regulating signaling pathways and cell proliferation, which is helpful for understanding the interaction between T. annulata and host cells.
Host–parasite coevolution is a key driver of biological diversity. To examine the evolutionary relationships between piroplasmids and their hard tick hosts, we calculated the molecular clock and conducted phylogenetic analyses of both groups. Based on our results, we conclude that the divergence time of piroplasmids (∼56 Mya) is later than divergence time of their hard tick hosts (∼86 Mya). From analyses of the evolution of both piroplasmid and vector lineages and their association, we know that hard ticks transmit piroplasmids with high genus specificity and low species specificity.
The developmental stages in the life cycle of Haemaphysalis qinghaiensis were investigated under laboratory conditions. The larval, nymphal and adult ticks were fed on sheep at 25-27 °C, 50 % relative humidity (RH) and exposed to daylight. All free-living stages were maintained in an incubator (28 °C with 90 % RH and a 12-h photoperiod). The whole life cycle of H. qinghaiensis was completed in an average of 176 days (range 118-247 days). The average developmental periods were 34.44 days for egg incubation; 5.83, 4.20 and 33.70 days for larval pre-feeding, feeding and pre-molting; and 3.88, 5.30 and 46.50 days for nymphal pre-feeding, feeding and pre-molting. The average times for pre-feeding, feeding, pre-oviposition and oviposition of female adult ticks were 2.60, 11.40, 8.50, and 19.35 days, respectively. The results confirmed the positive correlation between the weight of the engorged female and the egg mass laid (r = 0.557, P < 0.05). The reproductive efficiency index and reproductive fitness index in females were 5.49 and 4.98, respectively. Engorged nymphs moulting to females (4.53 ± 0.16 mg) were significantly heavier (P < 0.001) than those moulting to males (3.45 ± 0.19 mg). The overall sex ratio of the adult ticks was 1:1.1 (M:F).
Theileria annulata is a tick-borne intracellular protozoan parasite that causes tropical theileriosis, a fatal bovine lymphoproliferative disease. The parasite predominantly invades bovine B lymphocytes and macrophages and induces host cell transformation by a mechanism that is not fully comprehended. Analysis of signaling pathways by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) could be a highly efficient means to understand this transformation mechanism. However, accurate analysis of qPCR data relies on selection of appropriate reference genes for normalization, yet few papers on T. annulata contain evidence of reference gene validation. We therefore used the geNorm and NormFinder programs to evaluate the stability of 5 candidate reference genes; 18S rRNA, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), ACTB (β-actin), PRKG1 (protein kinase cGMP-dependent, type I) and TATA box binding protein (TBP). The results showed that 18S rRNA was the reference gene most stably expressed in bovine PBMCs transformed and non-transformed with T. annulata, followed by GAPDH and TBP. While 18S rRNA and GAPDH were the best combination, these 2 genes were chosen as references to study signaling pathways involved in the transformation mechanism of T. annulata.
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