Phylogenetic Variants of Rickettsia africae, and Incidental Identification of "Candidatus Rickettsia Moyalensis" in Kenya.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Rickettsia africae, the etiological agent of African tick bite fever, is widely distributed in sub-Saharan Africa. Contrary to reports of its homogeneity, a localized study in Asembo, Kenya recently reported high genetic diversity. The present study aims to elucidate the extent of this heterogeneity by examining archived Rickettsia africae DNA samples collected from different eco-regions of Kenya. METHODS:To evaluate their phylogenetic relationships, archived genomic DNA obtained from 57 ticks a priori identified to contain R. africae by comparison to ompA, ompB and gltA genes was used to amplify five rickettsial genes i.e. gltA, ompA, ompB, 17kDa and sca4. The resulting amplicons were sequenced. Translated amino acid alignments were used to guide the nucleotide alignments. Single gene and concatenated alignments were used to infer phylogenetic relationships. RESULTS:Out of the 57 DNA samples, three were determined to be R. aeschlimanii and not R. africae. One sample turned out to be a novel rickettsiae and an interim name of "Candidatus Rickettsia moyalensis" is proposed. The bonafide R. africae formed two distinct clades. Clade I contained 9% of the samples and branched with the validated R. africae str ESF-5, while clade II (two samples) formed a distinct sub-lineage. CONCLUSIONS:This data supports the use of multiple genes for phylogenetic inferences. It is determined that, despite its recent emergence, the R. africae lineage is diverse. This data also provides evidence of a novel Rickettsia species, Candidatus Rickettsia moyalensis.
Project description:In this study, ticks from pastoral communities in Kenya were tested for Rickettsia spp. infections in geographical regions where the presence of tick-borne arboviruses had previously been reported. Rickettsial and arbovirus infections have similar clinical features which makes differential diagnosis challenging when both diseases occur. The tick samples were tested for Rickettsia spp. by conventional PCR using three primer sets targeting the gltA, ompA, and ompB genes followed by amplicon sequencing. Of the tick pools screened, 25% (95/380) were positive for Rickettsia spp. DNA using the gltA primer set. Of the tick-positive pools, 60% were ticks collected from camels. Rickettsia aeschlimannii and R. africae were the main Rickettsia spp. detected in the tick pools sequenced. The findings of this study indicate that multiple Rickettsia species are circulating in ticks from pastoral communities in Kenya and could contribute to the etiology of febrile illness in these areas. Diagnosis and treatment of rickettsial infections should be a public health priority in these regions.
Project description:We detected Rickettsia africae, the agent of African tick-bite fever (ATBF), by amplification of fragments of gltA, ompA, and ompB genes from 3 specimens of Amblyomma loculosum ticks collected from humans and birds in New Caledonia. Clinicians who treat persons in this region should be on alert for ATBF.
Project description:PCR amplification indicated the minimum infection rate of Rickettsia spp. was 0.66% in Haemaphysalis longicornis ticks collected from Shandong Province, China. Phylogenetic analysis based on the rrs, gltA, ompA, and ompB genes indicated that the ticks carried R. japonica, Candidatus Rickettsia longicornii, and a novel Rickettsia species related to R. canadensis.
Project description:We report Rickettsia parkeri and Candidatus Rickettsia andeanae in ticks of the Amblyomma maculatum group collected from dogs in Sonora, Mexico. Molecular characterization of these bacteria was accomplished by DNA amplification and sequence analysis of portions of the rickettsial genes gltA, htrA, ompA, and ompB.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Detection of specific targets by PCR is used to confirm a diagnosis of spotted fever, but serological tests are still widely used. In this prospective study, nested PCR was performed on skin biopsy specimens to confirm the diagnosis of spotted fever. METHODS: In 58 clinically suspected cases of spotted fever, nested PCR, to detect gltA, 17 kDa lipoprotein antigen gene (17 kDa), ompA and ompB, from skin biopsy of the rash was performed. Sequencing was carried on amplicons representing the four targets to confirm specificity of amplification. This was followed by phylogenetic analysis using MEGA version 4.0 software. RESULTS: The gltA, 17 kDa, ompA, and ompB genes were detected from skin biopsy specimens in 38, 23, 27, and 22 individuals. Sequence analysis revealed that the gltA, 17 kDa, ompA, and ompB sequences belonged to spotted fever group (SFG) rickettsia. Of the six partial ompA gene sequences, only one was dissimilar to the previously reported 'Candidatus Rickettsia kellyi'. CONCLUSION: Further evidence indicates that SFG rickettsiae resembling 'Candidatus Rickettsia kellyi' cause fever and rash in southern India. More detailed phylogenetic analysis following isolation of rickettsia in culture is required for providing irrefutable proof for the occurrence of novel spotted fever rickettsiae in this region.
Project description:The flea-borne rickettsioses murine typhus (Rickettsia typhi) and flea-borne spotted fever (FBSF) (Rickettsia felis) are febrile diseases distributed among humans worldwide. Murine typhus has been known to be endemic to Kenya since the 1950s, but FBSF was only recently documented in northeastern (2010) and western (2012) Kenya. To characterize the potential exposure of humans in Kenya to flea-borne rickettsioses, a total of 330 fleas (134 pools) including 5 species (Xenopsylla cheopis, Ctenocephalides felis, Ctenocephalides canis, Pulex irritans, and Echidnophaga gallinacea) were collected from domestic and peridomestic animals and from human dwellings within Asembo, western Kenya. DNA was extracted from the 134 pooled flea samples and 89 (66.4%) pools tested positively for rickettsial DNA by 2 genus-specific quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) assays based upon the citrate synthase (gltA) and 17-kD antigen genes and the Rfelis qPCR assay. Sequences from the 17-kD antigen gene, the outer membrane protein (omp)B, and 2 R. felis plasmid genes (pRF and pRFd) of 12 selected rickettsia-positive samples revealed a unique Rickettsia sp. (n=11) and R. felis (n=1). Depiction of the new rickettsia by multilocus sequence typing (MLST) targeting the 16S rRNA (rrs), 17-kD antigen gene, gltA, ompA, ompB, and surface cell antigen 4 (sca4), shows that it is most closely related to R. felis but genetically dissimilar enough to be considered a separate species provisionally named Candidatus Rickettsia asemboensis. Subsequently, 81 of the 134 (60.4%) flea pools tested positively for Candidatus Rickettsia asemboensis by a newly developed agent-specific qPCR assay, Rasemb. R. felis was identified in 9 of the 134 (6.7%) flea pools, and R. typhi the causative agent of murine typhus was not detected in any of 78 rickettsia-positive pools assessed using a species-specific qPCR assay, Rtyph. Two pools were found to contain both R. felis and Candidatus Rickettsia asemboensis DNA and 1 pool contained an agent, which is potentially new.
Project description:Adult ticks of the species Amblyomma parvum were collected from the vegetation in the Pantanal biome (state of Mato Grosso do Sul) and from horses in the Cerrado biome (state of Piauí) in Brazil. The ticks were individually tested for rickettsial infection via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) targeting three rickettsial genes, gltA, ompA and ompB. Overall, 63.5% (40/63) and 66.7% (2/3) of A. parvum ticks from Pantanal and Cerrado, respectively, contained rickettsial DNA, which were all confirmed by DNA sequencing to be 100% identical to the corresponding fragments of the gltA, ompA and ompB genes of Candidatus Rickettsia andeanae. This report is the first to describe Ca. R. andeanae in Brazil.
Project description:We propose genetic guidelines for the classification of rickettsial isolates at the genus, group, and species levels by using sequences of the 16S rRNA (rrs) gene and four protein-coding genes, the gltA, ompA, and ompB genes and gene D. To be classified as a member of the genus Rickettsia, an isolate should exhibit degrees of rrs and gltA homology with any of the 20 Rickettsia species studied of >/=98.1 and >/=86.5%, respectively. A member of the typhus group should fulfill at least two of the following four criteria: pairwise nucleotide sequence homologies with rrs, gltA, ompB, and gene D of either Rickettsia typhi or Rickettsia prowazekii of >/=99.4, >/=96.6, >/=92.4, and >/=91.6%, respectively. A member of the spotted fever group should either possess the ompA gene or fulfill at least two of the following four criteria: pairwise nucleotide sequence homologies with rrs, gltA, ompB, and gene D of any member of this group of >/=98.8, >/=92.7, >/=85.8, and >/=82.2%, respectively. The existence of a distinct "ancestral" group should be questioned. To be classified as a new Rickettsia species, an isolate should not exhibit more than one of the following degrees of nucleotide similarity with the most homologous validated species: >/=99.8 and >/=99.9% for the rrs and gltA genes, respectively, and, when amplifiable, >/=98.8, >/=99.2, and >/=99.3% for the ompA and ompB genes and gene D, respectively. By use of our classification scheme, "Rickettsia heilongjiangii" belongs to a new species for which we officially propose the name Rickettsia heilongjiangensis sp. nov.
Project description:While studying rickettsial infections in Peru, we detected Rickettsia asembonensis in fleas from domestic animals. We characterized 5 complete genomic regions (17kDa, gltA, ompA, ompB, and sca4) and conducted multilocus sequence typing and phylogenetic analyses. The molecular isolate from Peru is distinct from the original R. asembonensis strain from Kenya.
Project description:Ixodid ticks were collected from vegetation and from humans, wild and domestic mammals in a rural area in the semi-arid Argentine Chaco in late spring 2006 to evaluate their potential role as vectors of Spotted Fever Group (SFG) rickettsiae. A total of 233 adult ticks, identified as Amblyomma parvum, Amblyomma tigrinum and Amblyomma pseudoconcolor, was examined for Rickettsia spp. We identified an SFG rickettsia of unknown pathogenicity, "Candidatus Rickettsia sp. strain Argentina", in A. parvum and A. pseudoconcolor by PCR assays targeting gltA, ompA, ompB and 17-kDa outer membrane antigen rickettsial genes. Rickettsia bellii was detected in a host-seeking male of A. tigrinum. Amblyomma parvum is widespread in the study area and is a potential threat to human health.