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Mining the genetic diversity of Ehrlichia ruminantium using map genes family

Raliniaina M., Meyer D., Pinarello V., Sheikboudou C., Emboule L., Kandassamy Y., Adakal H., Stachurski F., Martinez D., Lefrançois T., Vachiery N.. 2010. Veterinary Parasitology, 167 (2-4) : p. 187-195.

DOI: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2009.09.020

Understanding bacterial genetic diversity is crucial to comprehend pathogenesis. Ehrlichia ruminantium (E. ruminantium), a tick-transmitted intracellular bacterial pathogen, causes heartwater disease in ruminants. This model rickettsia, whose genome has been recently sequenced, is restricted to neutrophils and reticulo-endothelial cells of its mammalian host and to the midgut and salivary glands of its vector tick. E. ruminantium harbors a multigene family encoding for 16 outer membrane proteins including MAP1, a major antigenic protein. All the 16 map paralogs are expressed in bovine endothelial cells and some are specifically translated in the tick or in the mammalian host. In this study, we carried out phylogenetic analyses of E. ruminantium using sequences of 6MAP proteins, MAP1, MAP1-2, MAP1-6, MAP1-5, MAP1+1 and MAP1-14, localized either in the center or at the borders of the map genes cluster. We show that (i) map1 gene is a good tool to characterize the genetic diversity among Africa, Caribbean islands and Madagascar strains including new emerging isolates of E. ruminantium; (ii) the different map paralogs define different genotypes showing divergent evolution; (iii) there is no correlation between all MAP genotypes and the geographic origins of the strains; (iv) The genetic diversity revealed by MAP proteins is conserved whatever is the scale of strains sampling (village, region, continent) and thus was not related to the different timing of strains introduction, i.e. continuous introduction of strains versus punctual introduction (Africa versus Caribbean islands). These results provide therefore a significant advance towards the management of E. ruminantium diversity. The differential evolution of these paralogs suggests specific roles of these proteins in host-vector-pathogen interactions that could be crucial for developing broad-spectrum vaccines.

Mots-clés : ehrlichia; ruminant; variation génétique; carte génétique; ehrlichia ruminantium; guadeloupe; france

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