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Pathogens 2014, 3(1), 25-35; doi:10.3390/pathogens3010025
Article

Comparative Genomics Identifies a Potential Marker of Human-Virulent Anaplasma phagocytophilum

1
 and
1,2,*
1 Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA 2 Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 November 2013 / Revised: 18 December 2013 / Accepted: 7 January 2014 / Published: 9 January 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacterial Pathogenomics: From Technology to Application)
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Abstract

We have previously described a comparative genome analysis of nine strains of Anaplasma phagocytophilum that showed similarity between strains infecting humans and U.S. dogs and a more distant relationship with horse and ruminant strains. This suggested that it may be possible to distinguish human-infective strains using simple DNA sequence-based diagnostic tests. This would be of epidemiologic significance in identifying and tracking the presence of virulent strains in tick vector populations. Further analysis identified a gene that was present in several strains, including U.S. Ap-variant 1 (ruminant), MRK (horse), and European sheep, but was deleted in strains infecting U.S. humans and dogs, suggesting that it could be a useful marker of human virulence. A simple PCR test was developed to identify the presence/absence of this gene. The PCR test discriminated A. phagocytophilum strains from clinically affected humans and U.S. dogs from the strains more distantly related in genome sequence. This warrants further testing of globally diverse A. phagocytophilum strains to examine world-wide conservation of this gene.
Keywords: human anaplasmosis; Anaplasma phagocytophilum; comparative genomics; diagnosis; PCR human anaplasmosis; Anaplasma phagocytophilum; comparative genomics; diagnosis; PCR
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Al-Khedery, B.; Barbet, A.F. Comparative Genomics Identifies a Potential Marker of Human-Virulent Anaplasma phagocytophilum. Pathogens 2014, 3, 25-35.

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