Molecular cloning and sequence analysis of the Sta58 major antigen gene of Rickettsia tsutsugamushi: sequence homology and antigenic comparison of Sta58 to the 60-kilodalton family of stress proteins.
ABSTRACT: The scrub typhus 58-kilodalton (kDa) antigen (Sta58) of Rickettsia tsutsugamushi is a major protein antigen often recognized by humans infected with scrub typhus rickettsiae. A 2.9-kilobase HindIII fragment containing a complete sta58 gene was cloned in Escherichia coli and found to express the entire Sta58 antigen and a smaller protein with an apparent molecular mass of 11 kDa (Stp11). DNA sequence analysis of the 2.9-kilobase HindIII fragment revealed two adjacent open reading frames encoding proteins of 11 (Stp11) and 60 (Sta58) kDa. Comparisons of deduced amino acid sequences disclosed a high degree of homology between the R. tsutsugamushi proteins Stp11 and Sta58 and the E. coli proteins GroES and GroEL, respectively, and the family of primordial heat shock proteins designated Hsp10 Hsp60. Although the sequence homology between the Sta58 antigen and the Hsp60 protein family is striking, the Sta58 protein appeared to be antigenically distinct among a sample of other bacterial Hsp60 homologs, including the typhus group of rickettsiae. The antigenic uniqueness of the Sta58 antigen indicates that this protein may be a potentially protective antigen and a useful diagnostic reagent for scrub typhus fever.
Project description:Lasting immunity against Rickettsia tsutsugamushi, the causative agent of scrub typhus fever, has been demonstrated to be strain specific. Two protein antigens of 110 and 56 kilodaltons (kDa) have been shown to exhibit strain-specific epitopes. The 56-kDa scrub typhus antigen (Sta56) is an abundant outer membrane protein of R. tsutsugamushi and is an antigen often recognized by humans infected with this obligate intracellular bacterium. In this study the complete gene encoding Sta56 (strain Karp) was cloned into pBR322 on a 2.3-kilobase genomic HindIII DNA fragment and the complete 56-kDa polypeptide was expressed in Escherichia coli. DNA sequence analysis of the 2.3-kilobase HindIII fragment revealed an open reading frame large enough to encode a 56-kDa polypeptide. A putative signal sequence was identified at the deduced amino terminus of the Sta56 polypeptide, and pulse-chase analysis of maxicells labeled with [35S]methionine demonstrated that a higher-molecular-weight precursor matures into the 56-kDa polypeptide. Epitope scanning analysis with synthetic peptides derived from the deduced amino acid sequence identified an octapeptide (located from amino acid residues 117 to 124) that was reactive with a Karp strain-specific monoclonal antibody (K13F88A). Other epitopes recognized by different monoclonal antibodies, including another Karp strain-specific monoclone (K1E106), were localized to different regions of the protein based on their reactivities with lambda gt11 recombinants expressing various portions of the sta56 gene.
Project description:Partial nucleotide sequences (459 bp) of the groEL gene (encoding the 60-kDa heat shock protein, HSP60) from 23 contemporary isolates of Orientia tsutsugamushi isolated from patients with acute scrub typhus in Thailand were compared with 16 reference strain sequences to evaluate the potential of groEL as a conserved and representative target for molecular diagnostics.. Overall nucleotide identity within all available O. tsutsugamushi isolates (n = 39) was 98.8% (range: 95.0-100), reflecting a high degree of conservation; nucleotide identities were 67.5% and 65.6%, respectively, when typhus and spotted fever group rickettsiae were included.. A highly sensitive and quantitative real-time PCR assay was designed and evaluated using 61 samples, including buffy coats from patients in Thailand and Laos. Reliable and accurate quantitation of bacterial loads allows further investigation of other diagnostic methods and may lead to an improved understanding of the pathophysiology of acute scrub typhus, an important but under-recognized disease.
Project description:Scrub typhus, caused by antigenically disparate isolates of Orientia tsutsugamushi, is a widely distributed mite-borne human disease in the Asia Pacific region. Information regarding the heterogeneity of the immunodominant 56-kDa type-specific antigen (TSA) gene is crucial for the design and evaluation of scrub typhus-specific diagnostic assays and vaccines. Using indirect immunofluorescence assays (IFA) and PCR assays, O. tsutsugamushi was detected samples from rodents and patients with fever of unknown origin obtained from six provinces of Thailand during 2004 to 2007. Sequences were determined for a fragment of the 56-kDa TSA gene, and the relationship between these sequences and those previously determined were assessed. The phylogenetic analyses of partial 56-kDa TSA gene sequences demonstrated wide diversity and distribution of O. tsutsugamushi genotypes in Thailand. Furthermore, the genetic diversity grouped the scrub typhus agents into two commonly and five infrequently found genotypes within six provinces of Thailand. The two most commonly found genotypes of O. tsutsugamushi described in this study do not associate with the prototype strains that are widely used for the design and evaluation of diagnostic assays and vaccine candidates. Thus, these new genotypes should be considered for future scrub typhus assay and vaccine development.
Project description:Scrub typhus is caused by the intracellular bacterium Orientia tsutsugamushi. The 56-kDa type-specific antigen (TSA) displays a significant antigenic variation across different O. tsutsugamushi strains. To minimize the influence of the antigenic diversity of TSA on assay sensitivity, we developed a mixed-TSA enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (mixed-TSA ELISA) using a mixture of recombinant TSAs of prototype (Karp, Gilliam, and Kato) and local (TW-1, TW-10, TW-19, and TW-22) O. tsutsugamushi strains as antigens to detect immunoglobulin M (IgM) and immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies against O. tsutsugamushi. These four local strains covered a major part of the total genetic diversity of TSA gene of O. tsutsugamushi in Taiwan. A total of 109 acute-phase serum samples from O. tsutsugamushi polymerase chain reaction-positive, scrub typhus patients, and 82 negative control serum samples from non-scrub typhus cases were used for evaluation of the recombinant TSA-based ELISA. We compared the performance of the mixed-TSA ELISA with immunofluorescence assay (IFA), which is considered the gold standard method for the serological diagnosis of scrub typhus. The results indicated that the sensitivity of IgM mixed-TSA ELISA (80.7%) was significantly higher than that of IgM IFA (68.8%). We demonstrated that the mixed-TSA ELISA had a high sensitivity and specificity and can be used for screening of scrub typhus patient in the early phase of the disease.
Project description:We developed a rapid procedure for the detection of Rickettsia tsutsugamushi DNA by the PCR technique. The primer pair used for the PCR was designed from the DNA sequence of the gene encoding a 120-kDa antigen, which was proven to be group specific by immunoblot analysis with mouse hyperimmune sera against various rickettsial strains. This PCR method was able to detect up to 10 ag of plasmid DNA (pKT12). Specific PCR products were obtained with DNAs from R. tsutsugamushi Kato, Karp, Gilliam, TA716, TA1817, and Boryong, but not with DNAs from other rickettsiae, such as R. prowazekii, R. typhi, R. akari, and strain TT118. In a study with experimentally infected mice, the PCR method could detect rickettsial DNA from 2 days after inoculation (DAI), whereas serum antibody against R. tsutsugamushi could be detected from 6 to 8 DAI by an immunofluorescence test. Although clinical manifestations subsided after 14 DAI, rickettsial DNA in blood samples could be detected by PCR for up to 64 DAI. These results suggest that this PCR method can be applied to the early diagnosis of scrub typhus and can also be used to detect the residual rickettsiae after clinical symptoms subside.
Project description:Scrub typhus is a vector-borne, acute febrile illness caused by <i>Orientia tsutsugamushi</i>. Scrub typhus continues to be an important but neglected tropical disease in Nepal. Information on this pathogen in Nepal is limited to serological surveys with little information available on molecular methods to detect <i>O. tsutsugamushi</i>. Limited information exists on the genetic diversity of this pathogen. A total of 282 blood samples were obtained from patients with suspected scrub typhus from central Nepal and 84 (30%) were positive for <i>O. tsutsugamushi</i> by 16S rRNA qPCR. Positive samples were further subjected to 56 kDa and 47 kDa molecular typing and molecularly compared to other <i>O. tsutsugamushi</i> strains. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that Nepalese <i>O. tsutsugamushi</i> strains largely cluster together and cluster away from other <i>O. tsutsugamushi</i> strains from Asia and elsewhere. One exception was the sample of Nepal_1, with its partial 56 kDa sequence clustering more closely with non-Nepalese <i>O. tsutsugamushi</i> 56 kDa sequences, potentially indicating that homologous recombination may influence the genetic diversity of strains in this region. Knowledge on the circulating strains in Nepal is important to the development of diagnostic tests and vaccines to support public health measures to control scrub typhus in this country.
Project description:Rickettsial zoonotic diseases, in particular scrub typhus, murine typhus, and tick typhus, are caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi, Rickettsia typhi, and Rickettsia honei infections. Rickettsiae exposure is typically related to a rodent host in various habitats of marginal regions, including between rural areas and communities such as the Salaya suburb. This allows the oriental house rat (OHR), a highly adaptive species, to live in close proximity to the community and possibly introduce rickettsial diseases. To understand rickettsial exposure in the OHR from different habitats, knowledge of disease exposure can serve as baseline information for disease management and prevention. A total of 185 OHRs from three unrelated habitats were assessed using a standard indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) for specific antibody reaction to O. tsutsugamushi, R. typhi, and R. honei. The presence of antibody in the OHR to rickettsiae, either scrub or murine typhus, was associated with the habitat, whereas tick typhus had general exposure. This finding shows the OHR to be a potential reservoir host for rickettsial diseases along the borders of geographic regions in the suburban environment.
Project description:Orientia tsutsugamushi is the etiological agent of scrub typhus, a mite-borne, febrile illness that occurs in the Asia-Pacific region. We conducted strain characterization of O. tsutsugamushi isolates from chiggers obtained from rodents based the nucleotide sequence of the 56-kDa outer membrane protein gene. With the use of PCR, a total of 68 DNA sequences of 56-kDa antigen genes were amplified. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that there were at least six definable clusters among the 68 isolates: 37% Karp-related strains (25/68), 27% TA763 strains (18/68), 12% JG-related strains (8/68), 19% Kato-related strains (13/68), 4% divergent strains (3/68), and 1% representing a Gilliam prototype strain (1/68). Overall, the O. tsutsugamushi genotypes exhibited a high degree of diversity, similar to that seen in strains from the rest of the areas where scrub typhus is endemic. Moreover, the 56-kDa protein sequence similarity between O. tsutsugamushi isolates from mites and those from human patients (H. Y. Lu et al., Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 83:658-663, 2010) were striking, thus highlighting potential risk factors for this emerging zoonotic disease.
Project description:Scrub typhus has been documented since 1932 in Vietnam, however, the disease burden of scrub typhus remains poorly understood in the country. We conducted this study to describe the phylogenetic analysis of the 56-kDa type-specific antigen (TSA) gene of Orientia tsutsugamushi associated with PCR positive cases of scrub typhus. Of 116 positive samples, 65 type-specific antigen gene sequences were obtained and classified into 3 genogroups: Karp, Kato and Gilliam. The Karp genogroup was the most frequently detected phylogenetic cluster in the study with 30 samples (46%), followed by Kato and Gilliam with 20 (31%) and 15 (23%), respectively. All sequences showed 94-100% nucleotide similarity to reference sequences collected in the central part of Vietnam in 2017. Patients infected with Karp genogroup were more likely to have significant thrombocytopenia than the other genogroups. These results suggest that any scrub typhus vaccine considered for use in Vietnam should provide protection against each of these 3 genogroups.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Scrub typhus is an endemic disease in Asia. It has been a rural disease, but indigenous urban cases have been observed in Seoul, South Korea. Urban scrub typhus may have a significant impact because of the large population.<h4>Methods</h4>Indigenous urban scrub typhus was epidemiologically identified in Seoul, the largest metropolitan city in South Korea, using national notifiable disease data from 2010 to 2013. For detailed analysis of clinical features, patients from one hospital that reported the majority of cases were selected and compared to a historic control group. Chigger mites were prospectively collected in the city using a direct chigger mite-collecting trap, and identified using both phenotypic and 18S rDNA sequencing analyses. Their infection with Orientia tsutsugamushi was confirmed by sequencing the 56-kDa antigen gene.<h4>Results</h4>Eighty-eight cases of urban scrub typhus were determined in Seoul. The possible sites of infection were mountainous areas (56.8%), city parks (20.5%), the vicinity of one's own residence (17.0%), and riversides (5.7%). Eighty-seven chigger mites were collected in Gwanak mountain, one of the suspected infection sites in southern Seoul, and seventy-six (87.4%) of them were identified as Helenicula miyagawai and eight (9.2%) as Leptotrombidium scutellare. Pooled DNA extracted from H. miyagawai mites yielded O. tsutsugamushi Boryong strain. Twenty-six patients from one hospital showed low APACHE II score (3.4 ± 2.7), low complication rate (3.8%), and no hypokalemia.<h4>Conclusions</h4>We identified the presence of indigenous urban scrub typhus in Seoul, and a subgroup of them had mild clinical features. The chigger mite H. miyagawai infected with O. tsutsugamushi within the city was found. In endemic area, urban scrub typhus needs to be considered as one of the differential febrile diseases and a target for prevention.