Identification and functional analysis of an immunoreactive DsbA-like thio-disulfide oxidoreductase of Ehrlichia spp.
ABSTRACT: Novel homologous DsbA-like disulfide bond formation (Dsb) proteins of Ehrlichia chaffeensis and Ehrlichia canis were identified which restored DsbA activity in complemented Escherichia coli dsbA mutants. Recombinant Ehrlichia Dsb (eDsb) proteins were recognized by sera from E. canis-infected dogs but not from E. chaffeensis-infected patients. The eDsb proteins were observed primarily in the periplasm of E. chaffeensis and E. canis.
Project description:Rhipicephalus sanguineus ticks (n = 63) collected from five dogs (two adults and three puppies) housed in a kennel were screened for Ehrlichial agents (Ehrlichia canis, E. chaffeensis, and E. ewingii) using a species-specific multicolor real-time TaqMan PCR amplification of the disulphide bond formation protein (dsb) gene. Ehrlichia chaffeensis DNA was detected in 33 (56%) ticks, E. canis DNA was detected in four (6%) ticks, and one tick was coinfected. The E. chaffeensis and E. canis nucleotide sequences of the amplified dsb gene (374 bp) obtained from the Cameroonian R. sanguineus ticks were identical to the North American genotypes.
Project description:Ehrlichia species are the etiological agents of emerging and life-threatening tick-borne human zoonoses, in addition to causing serious and fatal infections in companion animals and livestock. We developed the first tricolor TaqMan real-time polymerase chain reaction assay capable of simultaneously detecting and discriminating medically important ehrlichiae in a single reaction. Analytical sensitivity of 50 copies per reaction was attained with templates from Ehrlichia chaffeensis, Ehrlichia ewingii, and Ehrlichia canis by amplifying the genus-specific disulfide bond formation protein gene (dsb). Ehrlichia genus-specific dsb primers amplified DNA from all known Ehrlichia species but not from other rickettsial organisms including Anaplasma platys, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Rickettsia conorii, or Rickettsia typhi. High species specificity was attained as each species-specific TaqMan probe (E. chaffeensis, E. ewingii, and E. canis) identified homologous templates but did not cross-hybridize with heterologous Ehrlichia templates at concentrations as high as 10(8) copies. Identification of E. chaffeensis, E. ewingii, and E. canis from natural and experimental infections, previously confirmed by polymerase chain reaction and serological or microscopic evidence, demonstrated the comparable specificity and sensitivity of the dsb real-time assay. This assay provides a powerful tool for prospective medical diagnosis for human and canine ehrlichioses and for ecologic and epidemiological studies involving arthropod and mammalian hosts.
Project description:Ehrlichia canis has a small subset of major immunoreactive proteins that includes a 19-kDa protein that elicits an early Ehrlichia-specific antibody response in infected dogs. We report herein the identification and molecular characterization of this highly conserved 19-kDa major immunoreactive glycoprotein (gp19) ortholog of the Ehrlichia chaffeensis variable-length PCR target (VLPT) protein. E. canis gp19 has substantial carboxyl-terminal amino acid homology (59%) with E. chaffeensis VLPT and the same chromosomal location; however, the E. chaffeensis VLPT gene (594 bp) has tandem repeats that are not present in the E. canis gp19 gene (414 bp). Consistent with other ehrlichial glycoproteins, the gp19 protein exhibited a larger-than-predicted mass (approximately 3 kDa), O-linked glycosylation sites were predicted in an amino-terminal serine/threonine/glutamate (STE)-rich patch (26 amino acids), carbohydrate was detected on the recombinant gp19 protein, and the neutral sugars glucose and galactose were detected on the recombinant amino-terminal polypeptide. E. canis gp19 composition consists of five predominant amino acids, cysteine, glutamate, tyrosine, serine, and threonine, concentrated in the STE-rich patch and a carboxyl-terminal domain predominated by cysteine and tyrosine (55%). The amino-terminal STE-rich patch contained a major species-specific antibody epitope strongly recognized by serum from an E. canis-infected dog. The recombinant glycopeptide epitope was substantially more reactive with antibody than the synthetic (nonglycosylated) peptide, and periodate treatment of the recombinant glycopeptide epitope reduced its immunoreactivity, demonstrating the importance of a carbohydrate immunodeterminant(s). The gp19 protein was present on reticulate and dense-cored cells, and it was found extracellularly in the fibrillar matrix and associated with the morula membrane, the host cell cytoplasm, and the nucleus.
Project description:Ehrlichia canis major immunoreactive proteins of 36 and 19 kDa elicit the earliest detectable antibody responses during the acute phase of canine monocytic ehrlichiosis. Genes encoding the major immunoreactive 36-kDa protein of E. canis and the corresponding ortholog of E. chaffeensis (47 kDa) were identified and the proteins characterized. The molecular masses of the strongly immunoreactive recombinant proteins were larger than predicted (26.7 and 32.9 kDa, respectively) but were consistent with those of the corresponding native proteins (36 and 47 kDa). Similar to other reported ehrlichial immunoreactive glycoproteins, carbohydrate was detected on the recombinant expressed proteins, indicating that they were glycoproteins. Both glycoproteins (gp36 and gp47) have carboxy-terminal serine/threonine-rich tandem repeat regions containing repeats that vary in number (4 to 16 repeats) and amino acid sequence among different isolates of each species. E. canis gp36 was recognized by early acute-phase antibodies (day 14), and species-specific antibody epitopes were mapped to C-terminal nonhomologous repeat units of gp36 and gp47. Periodate treatment of recombinant gp36 reduced the antibody reactivity, and nonglycosylated synthetic peptide repeat units from E. canis gp36 and E. chaffeensis gp47 were substantially less immunoreactive than corresponding recombinant peptides, demonstrating that glycans are important epitope determinants that are structurally conserved on the recombinant proteins expressed in Escherichia coli. E. canis gp36 and E. chaffeensis gp47 were differentially expressed only on the surface of dense-cored ehrlichiae and detected in the Ehrlichia-free supernatants, indicating that these proteins are released extracellularly during infection.
Project description:A gene encoding a 28-kDa protein of Ehrlichia canis was cloned, sequenced, and expressed, and a comparative molecular analysis with homologous genes of E. canis, Cowdria ruminantium, and Ehrlichia chaffeensis was performed. The complete gene has an 834-bp open reading frame encoding a protein of 278 amino acids with a predicted molecular mass of 30.5 kDa. An N-terminal signal sequence was identified, suggesting that the protein undergoes posttranslational modification to a mature 27.7-kDa protein (P28). The E. canis p28 gene has significant nucleic acid and amino acid sequence homologies with the E. chaffeensis outer membrane protein-1 (omp-1) gene family, with the Cowdria ruminantium map-1 gene, and with other E. canis 28-kDa-protein genes. Southern blotting revealed the presence of at least two additional homologous p28 gene copies in the E. canis genome, confirming that p28 is a member of a polymorphic multiple-gene family. Amino acid sequence analysis revealed that E. canis P28 has four variable regions, and it shares similar surface-exposed regions, antigenicity, and T-cell motifs with E. chaffeensis P28. The p28 genes from seven different E. canis isolates were identical, indicating that the gene for this major immunoreactive protein is highly conserved. In addition, reactivity of sera from clinical cases of canine ehrlichiosis with the recombinant P28 demonstrated that the recombinant protein may be a reliable serodiagnostic antigen.
Project description:Canine monocytic ehrlichiosis, caused by Ehrlichia canis or Ehrlichia chaffeensis, can result in clinical disease in naturally infected animals. Coinfections with these agents may be common in certain areas of endemicity. Currently, a species-specific method for serological diagnosis of monocytic ehrlichiosis is not available. Previously, we developed two indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) using the major antigenic protein 2 (MAP2) of E. chaffeensis and E. canis. In this study, we further characterized the conservation of MAP2 among various geographic isolates of each organism and determined if the recombinant MAP2 (rMAP2) of E. chaffeensis would cross-react with E. canis-infected dog sera. Genomic Southern blot analysis using digoxigenin-labeled species-specific probes suggested that map2 is a single-copy gene in both Ehrlichia species. Sequences of the single map2 genes of seven geographically different isolates of E. chaffeensis and five isolates of E. canis are highly conserved among the various isolates of each respective ehrlichial species. ELISA and Western blot analysis confirmed that the E. chaffeensis rMAP2 failed to serologically differentiate between E. canis and E. chaffeensis infections.
Project description:A small subset of major immunoreactive proteins have been identified in Ehrlichia chaffeensis and Ehrlichia canis, including three molecularly and immunologically characterized pairs of immunoreactive tandem repeat protein (TRP) orthologs with major continuous species-specific epitopes within acidic tandem repeats (TR) that stimulate strong antibody responses during infection. In this study, we identified a fourth major immunoreactive TR-containing ortholog pair and defined a major cross-reactive epitope in homologous nonidentical 24-amino-acid lysine-rich TRs. Antibodies from patients and dogs with ehrlichiosis reacted strongly with recombinant TR regions, and epitopes were mapped to the N-terminal TR region (18 amino acids) in E. chaffeensis and the complete TR (24 amino acids) in E. canis. Two less-dominant epitopes were mapped to adjacent glutamate/aspartate-rich and aspartate/tyrosine-rich regions in the acidic C terminus of E. canis TRP95 but not in E. chaffeensis TRP75. Major immunoreactive proteins in E. chaffeensis (75-kDa) and E. canis (95-kD) whole-cell lysates and supernatants were identified with TR-specific antibodies. Consistent with other ehrlichial TRPs, the TRPs identified in ehrlichial whole-cell lysates and the recombinant proteins migrated abnormally slow electrophoretically a characteristic that was demonstrated with the positively charged TR and negatively charged C-terminal domains. E. chaffeensis TRP75 and E. canis TRP95 were immunoprecipitated with anti-pTyr antibody, demonstrating that they are tyrosine phosphorylated during infection of the host cell.
Project description:In the U.S.A., human monocytotropic ehrlichiosis (HME) caused by Ehrlichia chaffeensis is an emerging tick-transmitted zoonosis. In Cameroon, where E. canis, E. chaffeensis and E. ewingii have recently been detected in dogs and/or ticks (Rhipicephalus sanguineus), the potential exists for human infections. Patients from the coastal region of Cameroon who had acute fevers of unknown aetiology were therefore checked for ehrlichial infection, using a real-time PCR that amplifies part of a genus-specific gene (dsb) that codes for a disulphide-bond formation protein. Ehrlichial blood was detected in the peripheral blood from 12 (10%) of the 118 patients investigated by PCR. When the 12 amplicons from the positive cases were sequenced, they were found to be identical to each other and to the corresponding dsb sequence of an Arkansas strain of E. chaffeensis. The 12 patients who were PCR-positive for E. chaffeensis suffered from fever (100%), headache (67%), myalgia (42%), arthralgia (58%), pulmonary involvement (17%) and/or a diffuse rash (17%).
Project description:BACKGROUND: Ehrlichia species are the etiological agents of emerging and life-threatening tick-borne human zoonoses that inflict serious and fatal infections in companion animals and livestock. The aim of this paper was to phylogeneticaly characterise a new species of Ehrlichia isolated from Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus from Minas Gerais, Brazil. METHODS: The agent was isolated from the hemolymph of Rhipicephalus (B.) microplus engorged females that had been collected from naturally infested cattle in a farm in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. This agent was then established and cultured in IDE8 tick cells. The molecular and phylogenetic analysis was based on 16S rRNA, groEL, dsb, gltA and gp36 genes. We used the maximum likelihood method to construct the phylogenetic trees. RESULTS: The phylogenetic trees based on 16S rRNA, groEL, dsb and gltA showed that the Ehrlichia spp isolated in this study falls in a clade separated from any previously reported Ehrlichia spp. The molecular analysis of the ortholog of gp36, the major immunoreactive glycoproteins in E. canis and ortholog of the E. chaffeensis gp47, showed a unique tandem repeat of 9 amino acids (VPAASGDAQ) when compared with those reported for E. canis, E. chaffeensis and the related mucin-like protein in E. ruminantium. CONCLUSIONS: Based on the molecular and phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rRNA, groEL, dsb and gltA genes we concluded that this tick-derived microorganism isolated in Brazil is a new species, named E. mineirensis (UFMG-EV), with predicted novel antigenic properties in the gp36 ortholog glycoprotein. Further studies on this new Ehrlichia spp should address questions about its transmissibility by ticks and its pathogenicity for mammalian hosts.
Project description:Ehrlichiae are tick-transmitted, gram-negative, obligately intracellular bacteria that live and replicate in cytoplasmic vacuoles, but little is known about iron acquisition mechanisms necessary for their survival. In this study, a genus-conserved immunoreactive ferric ion-binding protein (Fbp) of Ehrlichia canis was identified and its iron-binding capability was investigated. E. canis Fbp was homologous to a family of periplasmic Fbp's involved in iron acquisition and transport in gram-negative bacteria. E. canis Fbp had a molecular mass (38 kDa) consistent with those of Fbp's in other bacteria and exhibited substantial immunoreactivity in its native conformation. The predicted three-dimensional structure of E. canis Fbp demonstrated conservation of important Fbp family structural motifs: two domains linked with a polypeptide "hinge" region. Under iron-binding conditions, the recombinant Fbp exhibited an intense red color and an absorbance spectrum indicative of iron binding, and it bound Fe(III) but not Fe(II). Fbp was observed primarily in the cytoplasm of the reticulate forms of E. canis and Ehrlichia chaffeensis but was notably found on extracellular morula fibers in morulae containing dense-cored organisms. Although expression of Fbp is regulated through an operon of three functionally linked genes in other gram-negative bacteria, the absence of an intact fbp operon in Ehrlichia spp. suggests that genes involved in ehrlichial iron acquisition have been subject to reductive evolution.