Novel Chlamydiales genotypes identified in ticks from Australian wildlife.
ABSTRACT: Members of the order Chlamydiales are known for their potential as human and veterinary bacterial pathogens. Despite this recognition, epidemiological factors such as routes of transmission are yet to be fully defined. Ticks are well known vectors for many other infections with several reports recently describing the presence of bacteria in the order Chlamydiales in these arthropods. Australian wildlife are hosts to an extensive range of tick species. Evidence is also growing that the marsupial hosts these ticks parasitise can also be infected by a number of bacteria in the order Chlamydiales, with at least one species, Chlamydia pecorum, posing a significant conservation threat. In the current study, we investigated the presence and identity of Chlamydiales in 438 ixodid ticks parasitizing wildlife in Australia by screening with a pan-Chlamydiales specific targeting the 16S rRNA gene.Pan-Chlamydiales specific PCR assays confirmed the common presence of Chlamydiales in Australian ticks parasitising a range of native wildlife. Interestingly, we did not detect any Chlamydiaceae, including C. pecorum, the ubiquitous pathogen of the koala. Instead, the Chlamydiales diversity that could be resolved indicated that Australian ticks carry at least six novel Chlamydiales genotypes. Phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rRNA sequences (663 bp) of these novel Chlamydiales suggests that three of these genotypes are associated with the Simkaniaceae and putatively belong to three distinct novel strains of Fritschea spp. and three genotypes are related to the "Ca. Rhabdochlamydiaceae" and putatively belong to a novel genus, Rhabdochlamydia species and strain, respectively.Sequence results suggest Australian wildlife ticks harbour a range of unique Chlamydiales bacteria that belong to families previously identified in a range of arthropod species. The results of this work also suggest that it is unlikely that arthropods act as vectors of pathogenic members of the family Chlamydiaceae, including C. pecorum, in Australian wildlife. The biology of novel Chlamydiales identified in arthropods remain unknown. The pathogenic role of the novel Chlamydiales identified in this study and the role that ticks may play in their transmission needs to be explored further.
Project description:The order Chlamydiales are biphasic intracellular bacterial pathogens infecting humans and domesticated animals. Wildlife infections have also been reported, with the most studied example being Chlamydia pecorum infections in the koala, an iconic Australian marsupial. In koalas, molecular evidence suggests that spill-over from C. pecorum infected livestock imported into Australia may have had a historical or contemporary role. Despite preliminary evidence that other native Australian marsupials also carry C. pecorum, their potential as reservoirs of this pathogen and other Chlamydia-related bacteria (CRBs) has been understudied. Mucosal epithelial samples collected from over 200 native Australian marsupials of different species and geographic regions across Australia were PCR screened for Chlamydiales. Previously described and genetically distinct C. pecorum genotypes and a range of 16S rRNA genotypes sharing similarity to different CRBs in the broader Chlamydiales order were present. One 16S rRNA Chlamydiales genotype recently described in Australian ticks that parasitise native Australian marsupials was also identified. This study provides further evidence that chlamydial infections are widespread in native fauna and that detailed investigations are required to understand the influence these infections have on host species conservation, but also whether infection spill-over plays a role in their epidemiology.
Project description:Members of the Chlamydiales order are obligate intracellular pathogens causing acute and chronic infectious diseases. Chlamydiaceae are established agents of community- and zoonotically acquired respiratory tract infections, and emerging pathogens among the Chlamydia-related bacteria have been implicated in airway infections. The role of both in airway infections in Africa is underexplored. We performed a case -control study on the prevalence of Chlamydiaceae and Chlamydia-related emerging pathogens in children with febrile respiratory tract infections in West Africa, Ghana. Using a pan-Chlamydiales broad-range real-time PCR, we detected chlamydial DNA in 11 (1.9%) of 572 hospitalized febrile children with respiratory tract symptoms and in 24 (4.3%) of 560 asymptomatic age-matched controls (p 0.03). Chlamydiaceae were found to be common among both symptomatic and healthy Ghanaian children, with Chlamydia pneumoniae being the most prevalent species. Parachlamydiaceae were detected in two children without symptoms but not in the symptomatic group. We identified neither Chlamydia psittaci nor Simkania negevensis but a member of a new chlamydial family that shared 90.2% sequence identity with the 16S rRNA gene of the zoonotic pathogen Chlamydia pecorum. In addition, we found a new Chlamydia-related species that belonged to a novel family sharing 91.3% 16S rRNA sequence identity with Candidatus Syngnamydia venezia. The prevalence and spectrum of chlamydial species differed from previous results obtained from children of other geographic regions and our study indicates that both, Chlamydiaceae and Chlamydia-related bacteria, are not clearly linked to clinical symptoms in Ghanaian children.
Project description:Chlamydia-like organisms (CLOs) are recently identified members of the Chlamydiales order. CLOs share intracellular lifestyles and biphasic developmental cycles, and they have been detected in environmental samples as well as in various hosts such as amoebae and arthropods. In this study, we screened bat feces for the presence of CLOs by molecular analysis. Using pan-Chlamydiales PCR targeting the 16S rRNA gene, Chlamydiales DNA was detected in 54% of the specimens. PCR amplification, sequencing, and phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rRNA and 23S rRNA genes were used to classify positive specimens and infer their phylogenetic relationships. Most sequences matched best with Rhabdochlamydia species or uncultured Chlamydia sequences identified in ticks. Another set of sequences matched best with sequences of the Chlamydia genus or uncultured Chlamydiales from snakes. To gain evidence of whether CLOs in bat feces are merely diet borne, we analyzed insects trapped from the same location where the bats foraged. Interestingly, the CLO sequences resembling Rhabdochlamydia spp. were detected in insect material as well, but the other set of CLO sequences was not, suggesting that this set might not originate from prey. Thus, bats represent another potential host for Chlamydiales and could harbor novel, previously unidentified members of this order. IMPORTANCE:Several pathogenic viruses are known to colonize bats, and recent analyses indicate that bats are also reservoir hosts for bacterial genera. Chlamydia-like organisms (CLOs) have been detected in several animal species. CLOs have high 16S rRNA sequence similarity to Chlamydiaceae and exhibit similar intracellular lifestyles and biphasic developmental cycles. Our study describes the frequent occurrence of CLO DNA in bat feces, suggesting an expanding host species spectrum for the Chlamydiales As bats can acquire various infectious agents through their diet, prey insects were also studied. We identified CLO sequences in bats that matched best with sequences in prey insects but also CLO sequences not detected in prey insects. This suggests that a portion of CLO DNA present in bat feces is not prey borne. Furthermore, some sequences from bat droppings not originating from their diet might well represent novel, previously unidentified members of the Chlamydiales order.
Project description:Chlamydia pecorum is a significant pathogen of domestic livestock and wildlife. We have developed a C. pecorum-specific multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA) scheme to examine the genetic diversity of and relationships between Australian sheep, cattle, and koala isolates. An MLSA of seven concatenated housekeeping gene fragments was performed using 35 isolates, including 18 livestock isolates (11 Australian sheep, one Australian cow, and six U.S. livestock isolates) and 17 Australian koala isolates. Phylogenetic analyses showed that the koala isolates formed a distinct clade, with limited clustering with C. pecorum isolates from Australian sheep. We identified 11 MLSA sequence types (STs) among Australian C. pecorum isolates, 10 of them novel, with koala and sheep sharing at least one identical ST (designated ST2013Aa). ST23, previously identified in global C. pecorum livestock isolates, was observed here in a subset of Australian bovine and sheep isolates. Most notably, ST23 was found in association with multiple disease states and hosts, providing insights into the transmission of this pathogen between livestock hosts. The complexity of the epidemiology of this disease was further highlighted by the observation that at least two examples of sheep were infected with different C. pecorum STs in the eyes and gastrointestinal tract. We have demonstrated the feasibility of our MLSA scheme for understanding the host relationship that exists between Australian C. pecorum strains and provide the first molecular epidemiological data on infections in Australian livestock hosts.
Project description:The Chlamydiales order is composed of nine families of strictly intracellular bacteria. Among them, Chlamydia trachomatis, C. pneumoniae, and C. psittaci are established human pathogens, whereas Waddlia chondrophila and Parachlamydia acanthamoebae have emerged as new pathogens in humans. However, despite their medical importance, their biodiversity and ecology remain to be studied. Even if arthropods and, particularly, ticks are well known to be vectors of numerous infectious agents such as viruses and bacteria, virtually nothing is known about ticks and chlamydia. This study investigated the prevalence of Chlamydiae in ticks. Specifically, 62,889 Ixodes ricinus ticks, consolidated into 8,534 pools, were sampled in 172 collection sites throughout Switzerland and were investigated using pan-Chlamydiales quantitative PCR (qPCR) for the presence of Chlamydiales DNA. Among the pools, 543 (6.4%) gave positive results and the estimated prevalence in individual ticks was 0.89%. Among those pools with positive results, we obtained 16S rRNA sequences for 359 samples, allowing classification of Chlamydiales DNA at the family level. A high level of biodiversity was observed, since six of the nine families belonging to the Chlamydiales order were detected. Those most common were Parachlamydiaceae (33.1%) and Rhabdochlamydiaceae (29.2%). "Unclassified Chlamydiales" (31.8%) were also often detected. Thanks to the huge amount of Chlamydiales DNA recovered from ticks, this report opens up new perspectives on further work focusing on whole-genome sequencing to increase our knowledge about Chlamydiales biodiversity. This report of an epidemiological study also demonstrates the presence of Chlamydia-related bacteria within Ixodes ricinus ticks and suggests a role for ticks in the transmission of and as a reservoir for these emerging pathogenic Chlamydia-related bacteria.
Project description:Trachoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness. Commercial assays do not discriminate among all Chlamydiaceae species that might be involved in trachoma. We investigated whether a commercial Micro-ArrayTube could discriminate Chlamydiaceae species in DNA extracted directly from conjunctival samples from 101 trachoma patients in Nepal. To evaluate organism viability, we extracted RNA, reverse transcribed it, and subjected it to quantitative real-time PCR. We found that 71 (70.3%) villagers were infected. ArrayTube sensitivity was 91.7% and specificity was 100% compared with that of real-time PCR. Concordance between genotypes detected by microarray and ompA genotyping was 100%. Species distribution included 54 (76%) single infections with Chlamydia trachomatis, C. psittaci, C. suis, or C. pecorum, and 17 (24%) mixed infections that includied C. pneumoniae. Ocular infections were caused by 5 Chlamydiaceae species. Additional studies of trachoma pathogenesis involving Chlamydiaceae species other than C. trachomatis and their zoonotic origins are needed.
Project description:Background. Highly stable, evolutionarily conserved, small, non-integrative plasmids are commonly found in members of the Chlamydiaceae and, in some species, these plasmids have been strongly linked to virulence. To date, evidence for such a plasmid in Chlamydia pecorum has been ambiguous. In a recent comparative genomic study of porcine, ovine, bovine, and koala C. pecorum isolates, we identified plasmids (pCpec) in a pig and three koala strains, respectively. Screening of further porcine, ovine, bovine, and koala C. pecorum isolates for pCpec showed that pCpec is common, but not ubiquitous in C. pecorum from all of the infected hosts. Methods. We used a combination of (i) bioinformatic mining of previously sequenced C. pecorum genome data sets and (ii) pCpec PCR-amplicon sequencing to characterise a further 17 novel pCpecs in C. pecorum isolates obtained from livestock, including pigs, sheep, and cattle, as well as those from koala. Results and Discussion. This analysis revealed that pCpec is conserved with all eight coding domain sequences (CDSs) present in isolates from each of the hosts studied. Sequence alignments revealed that the 21 pCpecs show 99% nucleotide sequence identity, with 83 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) shown to differentiate all of the plasmids analysed in this study. SNPs were found to be mostly synonymous and were distributed evenly across all eight pCpec CDSs as well as in the intergenic regions. Although conserved, analyses of the 21 pCpec sequences resolved plasmids into 12 distinct genotypes, with five shared between pCpecs from different isolates, and the remaining seven genotypes being unique to a single pCpec. Phylogenetic analysis revealed congruency and co-evolution of pCpecs with their cognate chromosome, further supporting polyphyletic origin of the koala C. pecorum. This study provides further understanding of the complex epidemiology of this pathogen in livestock and koala hosts and paves the way for studies to evaluate the function of this putative C. pecorum virulence factor.
Project description:Novel chlamydiae are newly recognized members of the phylum Chlamydiales that are only distantly related to the classic Chlamydiaceae, i.e., Chlamydia and Chlamydophila species. They also exhibit an obligate biphasic intracellular life cycle within eukaryote host cells. Some of these new chlamydiae are currently considered potential emerging human and/or animal pathogens. Parachlamydia acanthamoebae and Simkania negevensis are both emerging respiratory human pathogens, Waddlia chondrophila could be a novel abortigenic bovine agent, and Piscichlamydia salmonis has recently been identified as an agent of the gill epitheliocystis in the Atlantic salmon. Fritschea spp. and Rhabdochlamydia spp. seem to be confined to arthropods, but some evidence for human exposure exists. In this review, we first summarize the data supporting a pathogenic potential of the novel chlamydiae for humans and other vertebrates and the interactions that most of these chlamydiae have with free-living amoebae. We then review the diagnostic approaches to infections potentially due to the novel chlamydiae, especially focusing on the currently available PCR-based protocols, mammalian cell culture, the amoebal coculture system, and serology.
Project description:Natural landscape alterations as a consequence of urbanisation are one of the main drivers in the movements of wildlife into metropolitan and peri-urban areas. Worldwide, these wildlife species are highly adaptable and may be responsible for the transmission of tick-borne pathogens including piroplasms (Babesia, Theileria and Cytauxzoon spp.) that cause piroplasmosis in animals and occasionally in humans. Little is known about piroplasms in the ticks of urban wildlife in Australia. Ticks from long-nosed bandicoots (Perameles nasuta; n?=?71), eastern-barred bandicoots (Perameles gunnii; n?=?41), northern-brown bandicoots (Isoodon macrourus; n?=?19), southern-brown bandicoots (Isoodon obesulus; n?=?4), bandicoot sp. (n?=?2), flying foxes (Pteropus sp.; n?=?3), black rats (Rattus rattus; n?=?7), bush rats (Rattus fuscipes; n?=?4), brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula; n?=?19), ringtail possums (Pseudocheirus peregrinus; n?=?12), short-eared possums (Trichosurus caninus; n?=?6), possum sp. (Trichosurus sp.; n?=?8), and red foxes (Vulpes vulpes; n?=?12) were analysed using piroplasm-specific 18S primers and Sanger sequencing. Seven Ixodes tasmani ticks from long-nosed bandicoots and bandicoots sp., three I. tasmani ticks and one Ixodes holocyclus tick from brushtail possums, and one Haemaphysalis longicornis tick from a red fox were positive for piroplasms. New genotypes, with sequences sharing 98% nucleotide similarities with Theileria sp. K1 detected in a burrowing bettong (Bettongia lesueur), were identified from bandicoot ticks. New genotypes were detected in ticks from brushtail possums, which shared 98% similarity with a Babesia sp. (JQ682877) previously identified in marsupials. Theileria orientalis was identified in the H. longicornis tick from the red fox. Babesia and Theileria spp. in the ticks parasitizing bandicoots and brushtail possums clustered closely with respective Babesia and Theileria clades derived from Australian marsupials. This represents the first detection of piroplasms in ticks parasitizing brushtail possums and a red fox in Australia.
Project description:Nonmitochondrial ADP/ATP translocase is an energy parasite enzyme. Its encoding gene, tlc, is found only in Rickettsiales, Chlamydiales, and plant and alga plastids. We demonstrate the presence of tlc in Parachlamydia acanthamoebae. This gene shares more similarity with the tlc1 gene of Chlamydiaceae and the tlc of plant and alga plastids than with the tlc2 gene of Chlamydiaceae. Phylogenetic analysis, including all other tlc homologs found in GenBank, showed that tlc was duplicated in a Chlamydiales ancestor before the appearance of multicellular eukaryotes. A time scale, calibrated with seven independent time points obtained from fossil estimates and from the 16S rRNA molecular clock, was congruent with the molecular clock provided by tlc. Plant and alga plastids acquired tlc approximately when Parachlamydiaceae and Chlamydiaceae diverged, at the eucaryotic radiation time, ca. 1 billion years ago.