Semiquantitative multiplexed tandem PCR for detection and differentiation of four Theileria orientalis genotypes in cattle.
ABSTRACT: Oriental theileriosis is an emerging, tick-borne disease of bovines in the Asia-Pacific region and is caused by one or more genotypes of the Theileria orientalis complex. This study aimed to establish and validate a multiplexed tandem PCR (MT-PCR) assay using three distinct markers (major piroplasm surface protein, 23-kDa piroplasm membrane protein, and the first internal transcribed spacer of nuclear DNA), for the simultaneous detection and semiquantification of four genotypes (Buffeli, Chitose, Ikeda, and type 5) of the T. orientalis complex. Analytical specificity, analytical sensitivity, and repeatability of the established MT-PCR assay were assessed in a series of experiments. Subsequently, the assay was evaluated using 200 genomic DNA samples collected from cattle from farms on which oriental theileriosis outbreaks had occurred, and 110 samples from a region where no outbreaks had been reported. The results showed the MT-PCR assay specifically and reproducibly detected the expected genotypes (i.e., genotypes Buffeli, Chitose, Ikeda, and type 5) of the T. orientalis complex, reliably differentiated them, and was able to detect as little as 1 fg of genomic DNA from each genotype. The diagnostic specificity and sensitivity of the MT-PCR were estimated at 94.0% and 98.8%, respectively. The MT-PCR assay established here is a practical and effective diagnostic tool for the four main genotypes of T. orientalis complex in Australia and should assist studies of the epidemiology and pathophysiology of oriental theileriosis in the Asia-Pacific region.
Project description:Oriental theileriosis is an economically important tickborne disease of bovines, caused by some members of the Theileria orientalis complex. Currently, 11 distinct operational taxonomic units (OTUs), or genotypes, are recognized based on their major piroplasm surface protein (MPSP) gene sequences. Two of these genotypes (i.e., chitose and ikeda) are recognized as pathogenic in cattle, causing significant disease in countries of the Asia-Pacific region. However, the true extent of genetic variation and associated virulence/pathogenicity within this complex is unknown. Here, we undertook a proof-of-principle study of a small panel of genomic DNAs (n = 13) from blood samples originating from individual cattle known to harbor T. orientalis, in order to assess the performance of a targeted "next-generation" sequencing-informatic approach to identify genotypes. Five genotypes (chitose, ikeda, buffeli, type 4, and type 5) were defined; multiple genotypes were found within individual samples, with dominant and minor sequence types representing most genotypes. This study indicates that this sequencing-informatic workflow could be useful to assess the nature and extent of genetic variation within and among populations of T. orientalis on a large scale, and to potentially employ panels of distinct gene markers for expanded molecular epidemiological investigations of socioeconomically important protistan pathogens more generally.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Theileria orientalis (Apicomplexa: Piroplasmida) has caused clinical disease in cattle of Eastern Asia for many years and its recent rapid spread throughout Australian and New Zealand herds has caused substantial economic losses to production through cattle deaths, late term abortion and morbidity. Disease outbreaks have been linked to the detection of a pathogenic genotype of T. orientalis, genotype Ikeda, which is also responsible for disease outbreaks in Asia. Here, we sequenced and compared the draft genomes of one pathogenic (Ikeda) and two apathogenic (Chitose, Buffeli) isolates of T. orientalis sourced from Australian herds. RESULTS:Using de novo assembled sequences and a single nucleotide variant (SNV) analysis pipeline, we found extensive genetic divergence between the T. orientalis genotypes. A genome-wide phylogeny reconstructed to address continued confusion over nomenclature of this species displayed concordance with prior phylogenetic studies based on the major piroplasm surface protein (MPSP) gene. However, average nucleotide identity (ANI) values revealed that the divergence between isolates is comparable to that observed between other theilerias which represent distinct species. Analysis of SNVs revealed putative recombination between the Chitose and Buffeli genotypes and also between Australian and Japanese Ikeda isolates. Finally, to inform future vaccine studies, dN/dS ratios and surface location predictions were analysed. Six predicted surface protein targets were confirmed to be expressed during the piroplasm phase of the parasite by mass spectrometry. CONCLUSIONS:We used whole genome sequencing to demonstrate that the T. orientalis Ikeda, Chitose and Buffeli variants show substantial genetic divergence. Our data indicates that future researchers could potentially consider disease-associated Ikeda and closely related genotypes as a separate species from non-pathogenic Chitose and Buffeli.
Project description:Theileria orientalis causes losses to cattle producers in Eastern Asia, Oceania and, more recently, North America. One pathogenic genotype (Ikeda) has been sequenced to the chromosomal level, while only draft genomes exist for globally distributed Chitose and Buffeli genotypes. To provide an accurate comparative gene-level analysis and help further understand their pathogenicity, we sequenced isolates of the Chitose and Buffeli genotypes of T. orientalis using long-read sequencing technology. A combination of several long-read assembly methods and short reads produced chromosomal-level assemblies for both Fish Creek (Chitose) and Goon Nure (Buffeli) isolates, including the first complete and circular apicoplast genomes generated for T. orientalis. Comparison with the Shintoku (Ikeda) reference sequence showed both large and small translocations in T. orientalis Buffeli, between chromosomes 2 and 3 and chromosomes 1 and 4, respectively. Ortholog clustering showed expansion of ABC transporter genes in Chitose and Buffeli. However, differences in several genes of unknown function, including DUF529/FAINT-domain-containing proteins, were also identified and these genes were more prevalent in Ikeda and Chitose genotypes. Phylogenetics and similarity measures were consistent with previous short-read genomic analysis. The generation of chromosomal sequences for these highly prevalent T. orientalis genotypes will also support future studies of population genetics and mixed genotype infections.
Project description:Theileria parasites cause a benign infection of cattle in parts of Australia where they are endemic, but have, in recent years, been suspected of being responsible for a number of outbreaks of disease in cattle near the coast of New South Wales. The objective of this study was to identify and characterize the species of Theileria in cattle on six farms in New South Wales where disease outbreaks have occurred, and compare with Theileria from three disease-free farms in Queensland that is endemic for Theileria. Special reference was made to sub-typing of T. orientalis by type-specific PCR and sequencing of the small subunit (SSU) rRNA gene, and sequence analysis of the gene encoding a polymorphic merozoite/piroplasm surface protein (MPSP) that may be under immune selection. Nucleotide sequencing of SSU rRNA and MPSP genes revealed the presence of four Theileria genotypes: T. orientalis (buffeli), T. orientalis (ikeda), T. orientalis (chitose) and T. orientalis type 4 (MPSP) or type C (SSU rRNA). The majority of animals showed mixed infections while a few showed single infection. When MPSP nucleotide sequences were translated into amino acids, base transition did not change amino acid composition of the protein product, suggesting possible silent polymorphism. The occurrence of ikeda and type 4 (type C) previously not reported to occur and silent mutation is thought to have enhanced parasite evasion of the host immune response causing the outbreak.
Project description:Theileria orientalis is an emerging pathogen of cattle in Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. This organism is a vector-borne hemoprotozoan that causes clinical disease characterized by anemia, abortion, and death, as well as persistent subclinical infections. Molecular methods of diagnosis are preferred due to their sensitivity and utility in differentiating between pathogenic and apathogenic genotypes. Conventional PCR (cPCR) assays for T. orientalis detection and typing are laborious and do not provide an estimate of parasite load. Current real-time PCR assays cannot differentiate between clinically relevant and benign genotypes or are only semiquantitative without a defined clinical threshold. Here, we developed and validated a hydrolysis probe quantitative PCR (qPCR) assay which universally detects and quantifies T. orientalis and identifies the clinically associated Ikeda and Chitose genotypes (UIC assay). Comparison of the UIC assay results with previously validated universal and genotype-specific cPCR results demonstrated that qPCR detects and differentiates T. orientalis with high sensitivity and specificiy. Comparison of quantitative results based on percent parasitemia, determined via blood film analysis and packed cell volume (PCV) revealed significant positive and negative correlations, respectively. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) indicated that blood samples from animals with clinical signs of disease contained statistically higher concentrations of T. orientalis DNA than animals with subclinical infections. We propose clinical thresholds to assist in classifying high-, moderate-, and low-level infections and describe how parasite load and the presence of the Ikeda and Chitose genotypes relate to disease.
Project description:Theileria orientalis Ikeda genotype is a parasite that causes a disease in cattle that results in major economic issues in Asia, New Zealand, and Australia. The parasite is transmitted by Haemaphysalis longicornis ticks, which have recently been reported in numerous states throughout the eastern United States. Concurrently, cattle in Virginia showed clinical signs consistent with a hemoprotozoan infection. We used amplicons specific for the major piroplasm surface protein and small subunit rDNA of piroplasms to test blood samples from the cattle by PCR. Bidirectional Sanger sequencing showed sequences with 100% identity with T. orientalis Ikeda genotype 2 sequences. We detected the parasite in 3 unrelated herds and from various animals sampled at 2 time points. Although other benign T. orientalis genotypes are endemic to the United States, detection of T. orientalis Ikeda genotype might represent a risk for the cattle industry in Virginia.
Project description:A group of benign Theileria species, which are often referred to as T. orientalis/T. buffeli/T. sergenti group, has low pathogenicity in cattle. Herein, we report on Theileria spp. in cattle on a farm from China. Based on phylogenetic analysis of the major piroplasm surface protein gene sequences, we detected 6 genotypes that were categorized as Types 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 as well as an additional Type 9 genotype. The new epidemiological features of the T. orientalis/T. buffeli/T. sergenti parasites in China indicate a greater diversity in the genetics of these species than had been previously thought.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The prevalence of bovine babesiosis caused by Babesia divergens has been declining during the past decades in northeastern Hungary, and no cases have been observed since 2008. Infections of cattle with B. major and Theileria buffeli were hitherto reported in southern and western Europe. In other parts of the globe, there is evidence of emergence and a growing clinical importance of T. buffeli and closely related genotypes of the T. orientalis complex. FINDINGS: In a herd of 88 beef cattle kept in northeastern Hungary, bovine piroplasmosis was diagnosed in nine animals through the examination of blood smears or by molecular methods. B. major was identified in five animals, two of which died. In addition, four cattle harboured T. buffeli, and one of these animals was anaemic. Despite their presence, a contributory role of Anaplasma marginale and A. phagocytophilum could not be established in the disease cases. CONCLUSIONS: In this study B. major and bovine theileriosis is reported for the first time in central-eastern Europe, where clinical cases were associated with a mild winter.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Oriental theileriosis is a tick-borne, protozoan disease of cattle caused by members of the Theileria orientalis-complex. Recent outbreaks of this disease in eastern Australia have caused major concerns to the dairy and beef farming communities, but there are no published studies of the economic impact of this disease. On a farm in Victoria, Australia, we assessed whether oriental theileriosis has an impact on milk production and reproductive performance in dairy cows. METHODS: Blood samples collected from all 662 cows on the farm were tested using an established molecular test. For individual cows, milk production and reproductive performance data were collected. A clinical assessment of individual cows was performed. Based on clinical findings and molecular test results, the following groups of cows were classified: group 1, with cardinal clinical signs of oriental theileriosis and molecular test-positive for T. orientalis; group 2, with mild or suspected signs of theileriosis and test-positive; group 3, with no clinical signs and test-positive; and group 4, with no clinical signs and test-negative. Milk production and reproductive performance data for groups 1, 2 and 3 were each compared with those for group 4 using linear and logistic regression analyses, respectively. RESULTS: At 100 days of lactation, group 1 cows produced significantly less milk (288 l; P = 0.001), milk fat (16.8 kg; P < 0.001) and milk protein (12.6 kg; P < 0.001) compared with group 4. At this lactation point, group 2 also produced significantly less milk fat (13.6 kg; P = 0.002) and milk protein (8.6 kg; P = 0.005) than group 4. At 305 days of lactation, group 1 cows produced significantly less milk (624 l; P = 0.004), milk fat (42.9 kg; P < 0.001) and milk protein (26.0 kg; P < 0.001) compared with group 4 cows. Group 2 cows also produced significantly less milk fat (21.2 kg; P = 0.033) at this lactation point. No statistically significant difference in reproductive performance was found upon pairwise comparisons of groups 1-3 with group 4 cows. CONCLUSIONS: The present findings demonstrate that clinical oriental theileriosis can cause significant milk production losses in dairy cattle.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Raising cattle on pastures is known to be beneficial for animal welfare and cost reduction. However, grazing is associated with the risk of contracting tick-borne diseases, such as theileriosis. Here, the efficacy of ivermectin against these diseases and associated clinical symptoms were evaluated.<h4>Results</h4>A total of 68 cattle from a grazing cattle farm were selected and divided into two groups: the control group (17 cattle) with no preventive treatment and the ivermectin-treated group (51 cattle) in which cattle were treated with pour-on ivermectin prior to grazing. The infection rates of Theileria orientalis and the red blood cell (RBC) profile (e.g., RBC count, hematocrit value, and hemoglobin concentration) were compared in the spring (before grazing) and summer (during grazing) between the two groups. Based on PCR amplification of the major piroplasm surface protein (MPSP) gene, 12 cattle were positive for T. orientalis infection. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the isolates identified in this study consisted of three MPSP types (1, 2, and 7). The T. orientalis infection rate in the control group during grazing was 3-fold higher than that in the ivermectin-treated group. Moreover, differences in RBC parameters during grazing were greater in the control group than in the ivermectin-treated group. In particular, the hematocrit value was significantly reduced in the control group.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The results of this study demonstrated that ivermectin had protective effects against T. orientalis infection and RBC hemolysis in grazing cattle.