Immunodiagnostic identification of dairy cows infected with Prototheca zopfii at various clinical stages and discrimination between infected and uninfected cows.
ABSTRACT: Protothecosis is a severe form of mastitis in cattle that is caused by colorless algae of the genus Prototheca. So far, no suitable serological test for the identification of infected animals is available for routine diagnosis. In this study an indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for the identification of infected cows and for discriminating among infected cows at various clinical stages was developed. Immunoglobulin G (IgG) in serum and IgA and IgG1 in whey were used as antibody isotypes. The ELISA was evaluated using serum and whey from animals at different clinical stages of infection. A total of 12 cows with acute clinical manifestation of protothecal mastitis, 22 cows with clinical signs of chronic mastitis, 40 Prototheca zopfii-negative cows, and 18 cows with chronic clinical signs and earlier cultures positive for P. zopfii but with presently negative culturing results were investigated. A sensitivity of 96% and a specificity of 94% were calculated for the ELISA based on IgA levels. Intra-assay and interassay variations were calculated to be 6.08 and 6.32%, respectively. Based on these data, this ELISA was found to be suitable for discrimination between infected and uninfected animals and might therefore be useful for screening affected herds.
Project description:Bovine mastitis is an important and complex disease responsible for economic losses in the dairy industry. Biotype II strains of the green alga Prototheca zopfii can be involved, most often resulting in chronic mastitis of difficult treatment associated with reduced milk production. This type of infection is rare, but the number of reported cases is increasing worldwide. In order to determine the kind of species involved in mastitis by Prototheca in northwest Portugal, 41 Prototheca isolates were genetically characterized. The algae are part of Prototheca isolates that were collected during a 6-year period, isolated from the milk of 41 dairy cows in a total of 22 herds with a history of increasing somatic cell counts, mild clinical signs of udder infection, and unsuccessful response to the usual therapy. PCR amplification of the 18S ribosomal DNA (rDNA), amplified rDNA restriction analysis, and phylogenetic analyses of the 18S rDNA sequences were performed. Thirty-seven isolates were identified as P. zopfii var. hydrocarbonea and four as Prototheca blaschkeae. These data suggest a high incidence of P. zopfii var. hydrocarbonea mastitis in the region and demonstrate for the first time the involvement of P. blaschkeae with bovine mammary gland infections.
Project description:The Prototheca algae have recently emerged as an important cause of bovine mastitis globally. Here, we present results of a first large-scale, cross-country survey on the prevalence of Prototheca spp. in dairy cows, and their environment in Poland. A total of 1211 samples were collected and microbiologically analysed. Included within this number were milk (n = 638), body swabs (n = 374) and environmental samples (n = 199), originating from 400 dairy cows and their surroundings, on 16 dairy farms, based in all major provinces of the country. Prototheca spp. were the third, after Streptococcus and Staphylococcus spp., most common mastitis pathogens. The overall prevalence of protothecal mastitis was 8.3% (33/400), with the majority (75.8%) of cases having a subclinical course, and all but one attributable to P. zopfii genotype 2. Prototheca spp. were cultured from body swabs of both healthy and mastitic cows, yet the isolation rate among the latter was conspicuously lower (12.3% vs. 17.8%). Forty-two (21.2%) environmental samples yielded growth of Prototheca spp. However, no clear association between Prototheca mastitis in dairy cows and the algal isolation from the herd environment was found. Nor was there any association between the environmental recovery of the algae and farm management practices.
Project description:Microorganisms belonging to the genus Prototheca are achlorophyllous microalgae, occasionally behaving as environmental pathogens that cause severe mastitis in milk cows, as well as localized or systemic infections in humans and animals. Among the different species belonging to the genus, Prototheca zopfii genotype 2 (recently reclassified as P. bovis) and P. blaschkeae are most commonly associated with bovine mastitis. To date, no pharmacological treatment is available to cure protothecal mastitis, and infected animals must be quarantined to avoid spreading the infection. The few antibiotic and antifungal drugs effective in vitro against Prototheca give poor results in vivo This failure is likely due to the lack of specificity of such drugs. As microalgae are more closely related to plants than to bacteria or fungi, an alternative possibility is to test molecules with herbicidal properties, in particular, antimicrotubular herbicides, for which plant rather than animal tubulin is the selective target. Once a suitable test protocol was set up, a panel of 11 antimicrotubular agents belonging to different chemical classes and selective for plant tubulin were tested for the ability to inhibit growth of Prototheca cells in vitro Two dinitroanilines, dinitramine and chloralin, showed strong inhibitory effects on P. blaschkeae at low micromolar concentrations, with half-maximal inhibitory concentrations (IC50) of 4.5 and 3??M, respectively, while both P. zopfii genotype 1 (now reclassified as P. ciferrii) and P. bovis showed susceptibility to dinitramine only, to different degrees. Suitable screening protocols for antimitotic agents are suggested.
Project description:Prototheca zopfii (P. zopfii, class Trebouxiophyceae, order Chlorellales, family Chlorellaceae), a non-photosynthetic predominantly free-living unicellular alga, is one of the few pathogens belonging to the plant kingdom. This alga can affect many vertebrate hosts, sustaining systemic infections and diseases such as mastitis in cows. The aim of our work was to sequence and assemble the P. zopfii genotype 1 and genotype 2 mitochondrial and plastid genomes. Remarkably, the P. zopfii mitochondrial (38 Kb) and plastid (28 Kb) genomes are models of compaction and the smallest known in the Trebouxiophyceae. As expected, the P. zopfii genotype 1 and 2 plastid genomes lack all the genes involved in photosynthesis, but, surprisingly, they also lack those coding for RNA polymerases. Our results showed that plastid genes are actively transcribed in P. zopfii, which suggests that the missing RNA polymerases are substituted by nuclear-encoded paralogs. The simplified architecture and highly-reduced gene complement of the P. zopfii mitochondrial and plastid genomes are closer to those of P. stagnora and the achlorophyllous obligate parasite Helicosporidium than to those of P. wickerhamii or P. cutis. This similarity is also supported by maximum likelihood phylogenetic analyses inferences. Overall, the P. zopfii sequences reported here, which include nuclear genome drafts for both genotypes, will help provide both a deeper understanding of the evolution of Prototheca spp. and insights into the corresponding host/pathogen interactions.
Project description:Prototheca zopfii is an alga increasingly isolated from bovine mastitis. Of the two genotypes of P. zopfii (genotype I and II (GT-I and -II)), P. zopfii GT-II is the genotype associated with acute mastitis and decreased milk production, although its pathogenesis is not well known. The objective was to determine inflammatory and apoptotic roles of P. zopfii GT-II in cultured mammary epithelial cells (from cattle and mice) and murine macrophages and using a murine model of mastitis. Prototheca zopfii GT-II (but not GT-I) invaded bovine and murine mammary epithelial cells (MECs) and induced apoptosis, as determined by the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick end labeling assay. This P. zopfii GT-II driven apoptosis corresponded to mitochondrial pathways; mitochondrial transmembrane resistance (??m) was altered and modulation of mitochondrion-mediated apoptosis regulating genes changed (increased transcriptional Bax, cytochrome-c and Apaf-1 and downregulated Bcl-2), whereas caspase-9 and -3 expression increased. Apoptotic effects by P. zopfii GT-II were more pronounced in macrophages compared to MECs. In a murine mammary infection model, P. zopfii GT-II replicated in the mammary gland and caused severe inflammation with infiltration of macrophages and neutrophils and upregulation of pro-inflammatory genes (TNF-?, IL-1? and Cxcl-1) and also apoptosis of epithelial cells. Thus, we concluded P. zopfii GT-II is a mastitis-causing pathogen that triggers severe inflammation and also mitochondrial apoptosis.
Project description:Bovine mastitis remains a primary focus of dairy cattle disease research due to its considerable negative economic impact on the dairy industry. Subclinical mastitis (SCM), commonly caused by <i>Staphylococcus aureus</i>, lacks overt clinical signs and the diagnosis is based on bacteriological culture and somatic cell counts of milk, both of which have limitations. The main objective of this study was to identify, characterize and quantify the differential abundance of milk whey proteins from cows with <i>S. aureus</i> SCM compared to whey from healthy cows. Using two-dimensional differential gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE) coupled with liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry, 28 high-abundant proteins were detected in whey from mastitic milk, 9 of which had host defense functions. These included acute phase proteins involved in innate immunity and antimicrobial functions (e.g., serotransferrin, complement C3, fibrinogen gamma-B chain and cathepsin B), and proteins associated with the immune response to pathogens (e.g., polymeric immunoglobulin receptor-like protein, MHC class I antigen and beta-2-microglobulin). These results provide a unique 2D map of the modulated milk proteome during <i>S. aureus</i> mastitis. The broader importance is that the identified proteins, particularly those with host-defense biological functions, represent potential candidate biomarkers of subclinical mastitis in dairy cows.
Project description:Microalgae of the genus Prototheca (P.) spp are associated with rare algal infections of invertebrates termed protothecosis. Among the seven generally accepted species, P. zopfii genotype 2 (GT2) is associated with a severe form of bovine mastitis while P. blaschkeae causes the mild and sub-clinical form of mastitis. The reason behind the infectious nature of P. zopfii GT2, while genotype 1 (GT1) remains non-infectious, is not known. Therefore, in the present study we investigated the protein expression level difference between the genotypes of P. zopfii and P. blaschkeae. Cells were cultured to the mid-exponential phase, harvested, and processed for LC-MS analysis. Peptide data was acquired on an LTQ Orbitrap Velos, raw spectra were quantitatively analyzed with MaxQuant software and matching with the reference database of Chlorella variabilis and Auxenochlorella protothecoides resulted in the identification of 226 proteins. Comparison of an environmental strain with infectious strains resulted in the identification of 51 differentially expressed proteins related to carbohydrate metabolism, energy production and protein translation. The expression level of Hsp70 proteins and their role in the infectious process is worth further investigation. All mass spectrometry data are available via ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD005305.
Project description:Prototheca bovis (formerly P. zopfii genotype-II) is an opportunistic, achlorophyllous alga that causes mastitis in cows and skin disease in cats and dogs, as well as cutaneous lesions in both immunocompetent and immunosuppressed humans. Antifungal medications are commonly ineffective. This study aimed to investigate innate immune responses contributed by cathelicidins to P. bovis in the mammary gland using a mastitis model in mice deficient in the sole murine cathelicidin (Camp). We determined P. bovis caused acute mastitis in mice and induced Camp gene transcription. Whereas, Camp -/- and Camp +/+ littermates had similar local algae burden, Camp +/+ mice produced more pro-inflammatory cytokines, TNF-?, and Cxcl-1. Likewise, Camp +/+ bone marrow-derived macrophages were more responsive to P. bovis, producing more TNF-? and Cxcl-1. Human cathelicidin (LL-37) exhibited a different effect against P. bovis; it had direct algicidal activity against P. bovis and lowered TNF-?, Cxcl-1, and IL-1? production in both cultured murine macrophages and mammary epithelial cells exposed to the pathogenic algae. In conclusion, cathelicidins were involved in protothecosis pathogenesis, with unique roles among the diverse peptide family. Whereas, endogenous cathelicidin (Camp) was key in mammary gland innate defense against P. bovis, human LL-37 had algicidal and immunomodulatory functions.
Project description:Microalgae of the genus Prototheca (P.) are associated with rare but severe infections (protothecosis) and represent a potential zoonotic risk. Genotype (GT) 2 of P. zopfii has been established as pathogenic agent for humans, dogs, and cattle, whereas GT1 is considered to be non-pathogenic. Since pathogenesis is poorly understood, the aim of this study was to determine immunogenic proteins and potential virulence factors of P. zopfii GT2. Therefore, 2D western blot analyses with sera and isolates of two dogs naturally infected with P. zopfii GT2 have been performed. Cross-reactivity was determined by including the type strains of P. zopfii GT2, P. zopfii GT1, and P. blaschkeae, a close relative of P. zopfii, which is known to cause subclinical forms of bovine mastitis. The sera showed a high strain-, genotype-, and species-cross-reactivity. A total of 198 immunogenic proteins have been analyzed via MALDI-TOF MS. The majority of the 86 identified proteins are intracellularly located (e.g., malate dehydrogenase, oxidoreductase, 3-dehydroquinate synthase) but some antigens and potential virulence factors, known from other pathogens, have been found (e.g., phosphomannomutase, triosephosphate isomerase). One genotype-specific antigen could be identified as heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70), a well-known antigen of eukaryotic pathogens with immunological importance when located extracellularly. Both sera were reactive to glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate-dehydrogenase of all investigated strains. This house-keeping enzyme is found to be located on the surface of several pathogens as virulence factor. Flow-cytometric analysis revealed its presence on the surface of P. blaschkeae.
Project description:Clinical and subclinical mastitis affects 30% of cows and is regarded as the most significant economic burden on the dairy farm reducing milk yield and quality and increasing culling rate. A proprietary Acoustic Pulse Therapy (APT) device was developed specifically for treating dairy cows. The APT device was designed to produce deep penetrating acoustic pulses that are distributed over a large treated area at a therapeutic level. This paper presents findings from a clinical assessment of this technology for the treatment of dairy cows with subclinical and clinical mastitis. In subclinical mastitis, a group of 116 cows from 3 herds were identified with subclinical intramammary infection and enrolled in the study; 78 cows were assigned to the treatment group and 38 cows to the control group. Significant differences (P<0.001) were found where 70.5% of the cows in the treatment group returned to normal milk production, compared with only 18.4% of the control group. Daily milk yields of the treated cows increased significantly (P<0.05) and the percentage of cows with log somatic cell count under 5.6 cells/mL was significantly higher (P<0.001). Milk of the infected quarters appeared normal with lactose greater than 4.8%, but this difference was not significant. Of the treated cows with identified bacteria, 52.6% of the quarters were cured, while in the control group only 25.0% (P<0.001). Specifically, all cows identified with Escherichia coli in the treatment group were cured, with 66.6% cured with no intervention in the control. Spontaneous cure of glands infected with coagulase negative staphylococci (CNS) and Streptococci was low while treatment successfully increased the cure of CNS from 13.3% to 53.8% and that of Streptococci from 18.2% to 36.4%. Of the 4 cows identified with Staphylococcus aureus, 3 were cured. The clinical mastitis study group included 29 infected cows that were submitted either to a gold standard antibiotic treatment subgroup of 16 cows (n = 16) or to an APT treatment subgroup of 13 cows (n = 13). A cure of 18.7% was shown for the antibiotic treatment, of which logSCC returned to <5.6 cell/mL and 56.2% were culled. A cure of 76.9% was shown for the APT treatment with only one cow culled (7.7%).