Polymorphism Analysis of Chinese Theileria sergenti Using Allele-Specific Polymerase Chain Reaction of the Major Piroplasm Surface Protein Gene
Theileria sergenti is a tick-borne parasite found in many parts of the world. The major piroplasm surface protein (MPSP), a conserved protein in all Theileria species, has been used as a marker for epidemiological and phylogenetic studies of benign Theileria species. In this study, Chinese species of T. sergenti were characterized by allele-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and DNA sequence analysis of the MPSP gene. Using universal or allele-specific primer sets for PCR amplification of the MPSP gene, 98 of 288 cattle blood samples, collected from 6 provinces in China, were found to be positive. Among the positive samples, only 3 allelic MPSP gene types (Chitose [C]-, Ikeda [I]-, and buffeli [B]-type) were successfully amplified. Moreover, the results revealed that the majority of the parasites sampled in this study were C- and I-type (prevalence of 84 and 69%, respectively), whereas the B-type was less common (prevalence of 36%). Co-infections with C-, I-, and B-type T. sergenti also were found. An additional known allele, Thai-type, was not detected. Phylogenetic analysis based on the MPSP gene sequences, including 3 standard stocks generated in the laboratory ( T. sergenti Wenchuan, T. sergenti Ningxian, and T. sergenti Liaoyang), revealed that the isolates of Chinese sergenti were comprised of at least 4 allelic MPSP gene types, i.e., C-, I-, B1-, and B2-type, and these parasites with 6 MPSP types 1-5 and 7 were present in China.
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