A hard tick relapsing fever group spirochete in a Brazilian Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus.
ABSTRACT Tick-borne diseases usually comprise a complex epidemiological and ecological network connecting the vector, pathogen, and a group of host species. Symptoms associated with Lyme disease have been reported in Brazil, but no Borrelia sp. has been definitively related to these events. Here we have identified a B. lonestari/B. theileri-related spirochete DNA in the cattle tick Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus from Brazil. Four hundred R. microplus and 80 Amblyomma cajennense ticks were screened, and only 1 horse-fed R. microplus was infected. A Borrelia sp. 16S rDNA sequence was amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) from the total tick DNA with 99% similarity to B. theileri and B. lonestari. Partial flaB sequence was also obtained, demonstrating 96% similarity to the B. lonestari flagellin gene, and the resultant putative amino acid sequence demonstrated 97% identity to B. lonestari flagellin. Moreover, partial glpQ sequence demonstrated 92% similarity to the B. lonestari gene, with a putative amino acid sequence 90% identical to the B. lonestari glycerophosphodiester phosphodiesterase. Phylogenetic analyses clearly include this Brazilian Borrelia sp., denoted "Borrelia," sp-BR in a group of spirochetes aligned with B. theileri and B. lonestari. Thus, hard tick relapsing fever group spirochetes represent a clade of widespread bacteria and herein we describe the first molecular identification of a Borrelia sp. in South America.
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ABSTRACT: Relapsing-fever spirochetes achieve high cell densities (>10(8)/ml) in their host's blood, while Lyme disease spirochetes do not (<10(5)/ml). This striking contrast in pathogenicity of these two groups of bacteria suggests a fundamental difference in their ability to either exploit or survive in blood. Borrelia hermsii, a tick-borne relapsing-fever spirochete, contains orthologs to glpQ and glpT, genes that encode glycerophosphodiester phosphodiesterase (GlpQ) and glycerol-3-phosphate transporter (GlpT), respectively. In other bacteria, GlpQ hydrolyzes deacylated phospholipids to glycerol-3-phosphate (G3P) while GlpT transports G3P into the cytoplasm. Enzyme assays on 17 isolates of borreliae demonstrated GlpQ activity in relapsing-fever spirochetes but not in Lyme disease spirochetes. Southern blots demonstrated glpQ and glpT in all relapsing-fever spirochetes but not in the Lyme disease group. A Lyme disease spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, that was transformed with a shuttle vector containing glpTQ from B. hermsii produced active enzyme, which demonstrated the association of glpQ with the hydrolysis of phospholipids. Sequence analysis of B. hermsii identified glpF, glpK, and glpA, which encode the glycerol facilitator, glycerol kinase, and glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, respectively, all of which are present in B. burgdorferi. All spirochetes examined had gpsA, which encodes the enzyme that reduces dihydroxyacetone phosphate (DHAP) to G3P. Consequently, three pathways for the acquisition of G3P exist among borreliae: (i) hydrolysis of deacylated phospholipids, (ii) reduction of DHAP, and (iii) uptake and phosphorylation of glycerol. The unique ability of relapsing-fever spirochetes to hydrolyze phospholipids may contribute to their higher cell densities in blood than those of Lyme disease spirochetes.Journal of Bacteriology 02/2003; 185(4):1346-56. · 3.19 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Ticks are parasitiform mites that are obligate hematophagous ectoparasites of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. A phylogeny for tick families, subfamilies, and genera has been described based on morphological characters, life histories, and host associations. To test the existing phylogeny, we sequenced approximately 460 bp from the 3' end of the mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene (rDNA) in 36 hard- and soft-tick species; a mesostigmatid mite, Dermanyssus gallinae, was used as an outgroup. Phylogenies derived using distance, maximum-parsimony, or maximum-likelihood methods were congruent. The existing phylogeny was largely supported with four exceptions. In hard ticks (Ixodidae), members of Haemaphysalinae were monophyletic with the primitive Amblyomminae and members of Hyalomminae grouped within the Rhipicephalinae. In soft ticks (Argasidae), the derived phylogeny failed to support a monophyletic relationship among members of Ornithodorinae and supported placement of Argasinae as basal to the Ixodidae, suggesting that hard ticks may have originated from an Argas-like ancestor. Because most Argas species are obligate bird octoparasites, this result supports earlier suggestions that hard ticks did not evolve until the late Cretaceous.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/1994; 91(21):10034-8. · 9.74 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Although Borrelia theileri, the agent of bovine borreliosis, was described at the turn of the century (in 1903), its relationship with borreliae causing Lyme disease or relapsing fever remains undescribed. We tested the previously published hypothesis that spirochetes infecting Lone Star ticks (Amblyomma americanum) may comprise B. theileri by analyzing the 16S ribosomal DNAs (rDNAs) and flagellin genes of these spirochetes. B. theileri, the Amblyomma agent, and B. miyamotoi formed a natural group or clade distinct from but most closely related to that of the relapsing fever spirochetes. B. theileri and the Amblyomma agent were 97 and 98% similar at the nucleotide level within the analyzed portions of the 16S rDNA and the flagellin gene respectively, suggesting a recent divergence. The agent of bovine borreliosis might be explored as a surrogate antigen for the as-yet-uncultivatable Amblyomma agent in studies designed to explore the etiology of a Lyme disease-like infection associated with Lone Star ticks.Journal of Clinical Microbiology 03/2001; 39(2):494-7. · 4.07 Impact Factor