Preparation of antibodies directed to the Babesia ovata- or Theileria sergenti-parasitized erythrocytes.
To investigate the surface antigens of the bovine red blood cells (RBCs) parasitized by Babesia ovata or Theileria sergenti, attempts were made to produce monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) with BALB/c mice. Comparable numbers of hybridomas producing anti-piroplasm mAbs, as well as anti-bovine RBC mAbs, were obtained from the mice immunized with B. ovata- or T. sergenti-PRBCs. However, mAbs directed to the surface of parasitized RBCs (PRBCs) were obtained only from the mice immunized with B. ovata-PRBCs, but not from those immunized with T. sergenti-PRBCs. When serum samples from the immunized mice and the infected cattle were examined, antibodies recognizing B. ovata-PRBC surface were detected in the sera against B. ovata, but analogous antibodies were undetectable in the sera against T. sergenti, despite that the sera showed substantial antibody titers to T. sergenti piroplasms. The results suggest that significant antigenic modifications occur on the surface of B. ovata-PRBCs, but not on the surface of T. sergenti-PRBCs. (+info
Detection of enzootic babesiosis in baboons (Papio cynocephalus) and phylogenetic evidence supporting synonymy of the genera Entopolypoides and Babesia.
Blood smear evaluation of two baboons (Papio cynocephalus) experiencing acute hemolytic crises following experimental stem cell transplantation revealed numerous intraerythrocytic organisms typical of the genus Babesia. Both animals had received whole-blood transfusions from two baboon donors, one of which was subsequently found to display rare trophozoites of Entopolypoides macaci. An investigation was then undertaken to determine the prevalence of hematozoa in baboons held in our primate colony and to determine the relationship, if any, between the involved species. Analysis of thick and thin blood films from 65 healthy baboons (23 originating from our breeding facility, 26 originating from an out-of-state breeding facility, and 16 imported from Africa) for hematozoa revealed rare E. macaci parasites in 31%, with respective prevalences of 39, 35, and 12%. Phylogenetic analysis of nuclear small-subunit rRNA gene sequences amplified from peripheral blood of a baboon chronically infected with E. macaci demonstrated this parasite to be most closely related to Babesia microti (97.9% sequence similarity); sera from infected animals did not react in indirect fluorescent-antibody tests with Babesia microti antigen, however, suggesting that they represent different species. These results support an emerging view that the genus Entopolypoides Mayer 1933 is synonymous with that of the genus Babesia Starcovici 1893 and that the morphological variation noted among intracellular forms is a function of alteration in host immune status. The presence of an underrecognized, but highly enzootic, Babesia sp. in baboons may result in substantial, unanticipated impact on research programs. The similarity of this parasite to the known human pathogen B. microti may also pose risks to humans undergoing xenotransplantation, mandating effective screening of donor animals. (+info
Simultaneous detection of bovine Theileria and Babesia species by reverse line blot hybridization.
A reverse line blot (RLB) assay was developed for the identification of cattle carrying different species of Theileria and Babesia simultaneously. We included Theileria annulata, T. parva, T. mutans, T. taurotragi, and T. velifera in the assay, as well as parasites belonging to the T. sergenti-T. buffeli-T. orientalis group. The Babesia species included were Babesia bovis, B. bigemina, and B. divergens. The assay employs one set of primers for specific amplification of the rRNA gene V4 hypervariable regions of all Theileria and Babesia species. PCR products obtained from blood samples were hybridized to a membrane onto which nine species-specific oligonucleotides were covalently linked. Cross-reactions were not observed between any of the tested species. No DNA sequences from Bos taurus or other hemoparasites (Trypanosoma species, Cowdria ruminantium, Anaplasma marginale, and Ehrlichia species) were amplified. The sensitivity of the assay was determined at 0.000001% parasitemia, enabling detection of the carrier state of most parasites. Mixed DNAs from five different parasites were correctly identified. Moreover, blood samples from cattle experimentally infected with two different parasites reacted only with the corresponding species-specific oligonucleotides. Finally, RLB was used to screen blood samples collected from carrier cattle in two regions of Spain. T. annulata, T. orientalis, and B. bigemina were identified in these samples. In conclusion, the RLB is a versatile technique for simultaneous detection of all bovine tick-borne protozoan parasites. We recommend its use for integrated epidemiological monitoring of tick-borne disease, since RLB can also be used for screening ticks and can easily be expanded to include additional hemoparasite species. (+info
Southern extension of the range of human babesiosis in the eastern United States.
We sought evidence of babesiosis in three residents of New Jersey who were suspected of local acquisition of Babesia microti infection. We tested serial blood samples from these residents for B. microti antibodies and amplifiable DNA by using immunofluorescent antibody and PCR techniques. All three residents experienced symptoms suggestive of acute babesiosis. The sera of each of the patients reacted against babesial antigen at a titer fourfold or higher in sequentially collected blood samples. PCR-amplifiable DNA, characteristic of B. microti, was detected in their blood. These data suggest that human B. microti infections were acquired recently in New Jersey, extending the range of this piroplasmosis in the northeastern United States. (+info
Detection of equine antibodies to babesia caballi by recombinant B. caballi rhoptry-associated protein 1 in a competitive-inhibition enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
A competitive-inhibition enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (cELISA) was developed for detection of equine antibodies specific for Babesia caballi. The assay used recombinant B. caballi rhoptry-associated protein 1 (RAP-1) and monoclonal antibody (MAb) 79/17.18.5, which is reactive with a peptide epitope of a native 60-kDa B. caballi antigen. The gene encoding the recombinant antigen was sequenced, and database analysis revealed that the gene product is a rhoptry-associated protein. Cloning and expression of a truncated copy of the gene demonstrated that MAb 79/17.18.5 reacts with the C-terminal repeat region of the protein. The cELISA was used to evaluate 302 equine serum samples previously tested for antibodies to B. caballi by a standardized complement fixation test (CFT). The results of cELISA and CFT were 73% concordant. Seventy-two of the 77 serum samples with discordant results were CFT negative and cELISA positive. Further evaluation of the serum samples with discordant results by indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) demonstrated that at a serum dilution of 1:200, 48 of the CFT-negative and cELISA-positive serum samples contained antibodies reactive with B. caballi RAP-1. Four of five CFT-positive and cELISA-negative serum samples contained antibodies reactive with B. caballi when they were tested by IFA. These data indicate that following infection with B. caballi, horses consistently produce antibody to the RAP-1 epitope defined by MAb 79/17.18.5, and when used in the cELISA format, recombinant RAP-1 is a useful antigen for the serologic detection of anti-B. caballi antibodies. (+info
Isolation of a new subspecies, Bartonella vinsonii subsp. arupensis, from a cattle rancher: identity with isolates found in conjunction with Borrelia burgdorferi and Babesia microti among naturally infected mice.
Bacteremia with fever due to a novel subspecies of Bartonella vinsonii was found in a cattle rancher. The subspecies shared major characteristics of the genus Bartonella in terms of most biochemical features and cellular fatty acid profile, but it was distinguishable from other subspecies of B. vinsonii by good growth on heart infusion agar supplemented with X factor and by its pattern of enzymatic hydrolysis of peptide substrates. DNA relatedness studies verified that the isolate belonged to the genus Bartonella and that it was genotypically related to B. vinsonii. The highest level of relatedness was observed with recently characterized strains from naturally infected mice that were coinfected with Borrelia burgdorferi and Babesia microti. We propose the name Bartonella vinsonii subsp. arupensis subsp. nov. as the new subspecies to accommodate these human and murine isolates. (+info
Coinfection with multiple tick-borne pathogens in a Walker Hound kennel in North Carolina.
Both dogs and humans can be coinfected with various Ehrlichia, Bartonella, Rickettsia, and Babesia species. We investigated a kennel of sick Walker Hounds and their owners in southeastern North Carolina for evidence of tick-borne infections and associated risk factors. A high degree of coinfection was documented in the dog population. Of the 27 dogs, 26 were seroreactive to an Ehrlichia sp., 16 to Babesia canis, and 25 to Bartonella vinsonii, and 22 seroconverted to Rickettsia rickettsii antigens. According to PCR results, 15 dogs were infected with Ehrlichia canis, 9 with Ehrlichia chaffeensis, 8 with Ehrlichia ewingii, 3 with Ehrlichia equi, 9 with Ehrlichia platys, 20 with a Rickettsia species, 16 with a Bartonella species, and 7 with B. canis. The detection of DNA from any Ehrlichia species was associated with clinical illness and with concurrent B. canis infection (by PCR). Both E. canis and an uncharacterized Rickettsia species appeared to result in chronic or recurrent infection. Death in the dog population was associated with living in a dirt lot rather than the concrete kennel. Of 23 people on whom serologic testing was conducted, eight were seroreactive to Bartonella henselae, one to E. chaffeensis, and one to R. rickettsii antigen; however, none had clinical or hematologic abnormalities consistent with illness caused by these organisms. We conclude that kennel dogs with heavy tick exposure can be infected at a high rate with multiple, potentially zoonotic, tick-borne pathogens. In addition, our findings further illustrate the utility of PCR for documenting coinfection with tick-transmitted pathogens. (+info
Development of Babesia gibsoni in the midgut of larval tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus.
Studies were made on the development of Babesia gibsoni in the midgut of the larval tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus. Six hr after repletion, merozoites of B. gibsoni, freed from erythrocytes, were observed in the midgut contents of the tick. After that, within 24 hr, those merozoites were transformed into the ring-forms which were relatively large, 2-3 microns in diameter. Later, the ring forms developed into the spherical forms which were subelliptical in shape and 4-6 microns in diameter. Within 2-4 days, the elongated forms, 5-8 microns in length, were found. At this time, some of the binucleated fusion form has assumed a form intermediate between the spherical and elongated-forms. About 5-6 days after repletion, large round or elliptic zygotes, 8-10 microns in diameter, were observed in the tick gut. (+info