Special Issue "One Health—9th Tick and Tick-borne Pathogen Conference and 1st Asia Pacific Rickettsia Conference"

A special issue of Veterinary Sciences (ISSN 2306-7381).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Manuel Rodriguez Valle

Centre for Animal Science, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, The University of Queensland, Brisbane St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: host-parasite interactions; tick vaccine; tick control methods; tick borne diseases; immunogenomics
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Ala Tabor

Centre for Animal Science, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, The University of Queensland, Brisbane St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: ticks and tick borne diseases; anaplasmosis; babesiosis; cattle tick; reverse vaccinology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The 9th Tick and Tick-Borne Pathogen (TTP9) Conference will be held in Cairns, Australia in conjunction with the First Asia Pacific Rickettsia Conference (APRC1) held from 27 August until 1 September, 2017. This Special Issue will include invited articles associated with veterinary research selected from the conference plenaries and symposia presentations. Focus will include veterinary interventions associated with control of diseases of livestock, wildlife and companion animals associated with ticks, tick borne pathogens and species of Rickettsia. Interventions include immunological or therapeutic treatments, vaccinations, and diagnostic test development to control ticks and tick borne diseases associated with animal health.

Prof. Manuel Rodriguez Valle
Prof. Ala Tabor
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Veterinary Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 350 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Ticks
  • tick borne diseases
  • Rickettsia
  • livestock
  • companion animals
  • wildlife
  • animal health
  • veterinary vaccines
  • diagnostics
  • therapies

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Report from the ‘One Health’ 9th Tick and Tick-Borne Pathogen Conference and the 1st Asia-Pacific Rickettsia Conference, Cairns, Australia, 27 August–1 September 2017
Vet. Sci. 2018, 5(4), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci5040085
Received: 31 May 2018 / Accepted: 1 October 2018 / Published: 2 October 2018
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Abstract
The 9th Tick and Tick-borne Pathogen (TTP9) Conference was held in conjunction with the first Asia Pacific Rickettsia Conference (APRC1) in Cairns, Australia from 27 August until 1 September in 2017. This MDPI Veterinary Sciences Special Issue has been dedicated to selected veterinary [...] Read more.
The 9th Tick and Tick-borne Pathogen (TTP9) Conference was held in conjunction with the first Asia Pacific Rickettsia Conference (APRC1) in Cairns, Australia from 27 August until 1 September in 2017. This MDPI Veterinary Sciences Special Issue has been dedicated to selected veterinary science articles from the conference associated with the control of animal diseases in the context of ticks and tick-borne pathogens, including Rickettsia species. The articles presented in this Special Issue include novel developments for the future control of ticks and tick-borne diseases. This editorial describes the meeting content, the plenaries, the TTP awards, the MDPI Veterinary Science Special Issue articles, and serves as a legacy report for TTP9APRC1. Full article
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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Cysteine Proteinase C1A Paralog Profiles Correspond with Phylogenetic Lineages of Pathogenic Piroplasmids
Vet. Sci. 2018, 5(2), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci5020041
Received: 16 February 2018 / Revised: 6 April 2018 / Accepted: 11 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2485 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Piroplasmid parasites comprising of Babesia, Theileria, and Cytauxzoon are transmitted by ticks to farm and pet animals and have a significant impact on livestock industries and animal health in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. In addition, diverse Babesia spp. infect humans [...] Read more.
Piroplasmid parasites comprising of Babesia, Theileria, and Cytauxzoon are transmitted by ticks to farm and pet animals and have a significant impact on livestock industries and animal health in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. In addition, diverse Babesia spp. infect humans as opportunistic hosts. Molecular phylogeny has demonstrated at least six piroplasmid lineages exemplified by B. microti, B. duncani, C. felis, T. equi, Theileria sensu stricto (T. annulata, T. parva, and T. orientalis) and Babesia sensu stricto (B. bovis, B. bigemina, and B. ovis). C1A cysteine-proteinases (C1A-Cp) are papain-like enzymes implicated in pathogenic and vital steps of the parasite life cycle such as nutrition and host cell egress. An expansion of C1A-Cp of T. annulata and T. parva with respect to B. bovis and B. ovis was previously described. In the present work, C1A-Cp paralogs were identified in available genomes of species pertaining to each piroplasmid lineage. Phylogenetic analysis revealed eight C1A-Cp groups. The profile of C1A-Cp paralogs across these groups corroborates and defines the existence of six piroplasmid lineages. C. felis, T. equi and Theileria s.s. each showed characteristic expansions into extensive families of C1A-Cp paralogs in two of the eight groups. Underlying gene duplications have occurred as independent unique evolutionary events that allow distinguishing these three piroplasmid lineages. We hypothesize that C1A-Cp paralog families may be associated with the advent of the schizont stage. Differences in the invertebrate tick host specificity and/or mode of transmission in piroplasmid lineages might also be associated with the observed C1A-Cp paralog profiles. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Nothoaspis amazoniensis Complete Mitogenome: A Comparative and Phylogenetic Analysis
Vet. Sci. 2018, 5(2), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci5020037
Received: 5 February 2018 / Revised: 22 March 2018 / Accepted: 23 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1320 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The molecular biology era, together with morphology, molecular phylogenetics, bioinformatics, and high-throughput sequencing technologies, improved the taxonomic identification of Argasidae family members, especially when considering specimens at different development stages, which remains a great difficulty for acarologists. These tools could provide important data [...] Read more.
The molecular biology era, together with morphology, molecular phylogenetics, bioinformatics, and high-throughput sequencing technologies, improved the taxonomic identification of Argasidae family members, especially when considering specimens at different development stages, which remains a great difficulty for acarologists. These tools could provide important data and insights on the history and evolutionary relationships of argasids. To better understand these relationships, we sequenced and assembled the first complete mitochondrial genome of Nothoaspis amazoniensis. We used phylogenomics to identify the evolutionary history of this species of tick, comparing the data obtained with 26 complete mitochondrial sequences available in biological databases. The results demonstrated the absence of genetic rearrangements, high similarity and identity, and a close organizational link between the mitogenomes of N. amazoniensis and other argasids analyzed. In addition, the mitogenome had a monophyletic cladistic taxonomic arrangement, encompassed by representatives of the Afrotropical and Neotropical regions, with specific parasitism in bats, which may be indicative of an evolutionary process of cospeciation between vectors and the host. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Population Dynamics of Off-Host Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus (Acari: Ixodidae) Larvae in Response to Habitat and Seasonality in South Texas
Vet. Sci. 2018, 5(2), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci5020033
Received: 12 February 2018 / Revised: 19 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (32524 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The cattle tick, Rhipicephalus microplus (Canestrini), is an economically destructive arthropod because of its ability to vector bovine babesiosis. It is known that cattle ticks can spend 80–90% of their lifecycle as questing larvae, yet the effect of climatic factors on their off-host [...] Read more.
The cattle tick, Rhipicephalus microplus (Canestrini), is an economically destructive arthropod because of its ability to vector bovine babesiosis. It is known that cattle ticks can spend 80–90% of their lifecycle as questing larvae, yet the effect of climatic factors on their off-host behavior and survival is unclear. The goal of this study was to measure the effects of specific ecological factors on off-host questing larvae in nature. The study was conducted in a south Texas pasture over a two-year period, during which time larval populations were surveyed. Simultaneously, weather variables—precipitation, relative humidity, and ambient temperatures—were recorded. Larval survival rates varied among seasons, with the overall highest populations recorded in the spring and the lowest in the fall by a ratio of 20:1. In the winter, the larger numbers were collected from exposed habitats at a ratio of 6:1. Conversely, canopied habitats in the summer had 10-fold larger larval numbers. In the spring, exposed and canopied habitats showed no difference in tick larval survival rates. The results show that the interaction between season and habitat strongly influence off-host questing tick survival. Relative humidity was a key weather variable. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Immunomolecular Characterization of MIC-1, a Novel Antigen in Babesia bigemina, Which Contains Conserved and Immunodominant B-Cell Epitopes that Induce Neutralizing Antibodies
Vet. Sci. 2018, 5(2), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci5020032
Received: 1 February 2018 / Revised: 19 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (5628 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Babesia bigemina is one of the most prevalent species causing bovine babesiosis around the world. Antigens involved in host cell invasion are vaccine targets for this disease but are largely unknown in this species. The invasion process of Babesia spp. into erythrocytes involves [...] Read more.
Babesia bigemina is one of the most prevalent species causing bovine babesiosis around the world. Antigens involved in host cell invasion are vaccine targets for this disease but are largely unknown in this species. The invasion process of Babesia spp. into erythrocytes involves membrane proteins from the apical complex. A protein stored in the micronemes, called Micronemal Protein 1 (MIC-1), contains a sialic acid binding domain that participates in the invasion process of host cells and is a vaccine candidate in other apicomplexan parasites. It is not known if there is a homologous gene for mic-1 in B. bigemina. Therefore, the aim of this study was to characterize the mic-1 gene homologue in Babesia bigemina. A gene was found with a microneme adhesive repeat (MAR) domain in the predicted amino acid sequence. Transcription was determined by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Subsequently, antibodies against peptides containing conserved B-cell epitopes were used to confirm the expression of MIC-1 in intraerythrocytic merozoites. The presence of anti MIC-1 antibodies in cattle naturally infected with B. bigemina was determined and up to 97.4% of the cattle sera (113 out of 116) identified MIC-1 using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) methods. Finally, antibodies against MIC-1 were able to block 70% merozoite invasion in-vitro. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comparison of Protein Gut Samples from Rhipicephalus spp. Using a Crude and an Innovative Preparation Method for Proteome Analysis
Vet. Sci. 2018, 5(1), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci5010030
Received: 1 February 2018 / Revised: 6 March 2018 / Accepted: 12 March 2018 / Published: 14 March 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2562 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tick populations are controlled through the application of chemical pesticides. However, the rise in chemical resistance has prompted the investigation of other control methods such as the use of tick vaccines. Proteomic analysis provides valuable information about the possible function and localization of [...] Read more.
Tick populations are controlled through the application of chemical pesticides. However, the rise in chemical resistance has prompted the investigation of other control methods such as the use of tick vaccines. Proteomic analysis provides valuable information about the possible function and localization of proteins, as candidate vaccine proteins are often either secreted or localized on the cell-surface membrane. Progress in the utilization of proteomics for the identification of novel treatment targets has been significant. However, their use in tick-specific investigations is still quite novel, with the continual development of tick-specific methodologies essential. In this study, an innovative sample preparation method was utilized to isolate epithelial cells from tick midguts to identify the membrane-bound proteins. Proteomic analysis was conducted comparing crude and innovative sample preparation methods with 692 and 1242 tick-specific proteins, 108 and 314 surface proteins respectively, isolated from the midguts of semi-engorged Rhipicephalus microplus adult female ticks. This research reports a novel preparation protocol for the analysis of tick midgut proteins which reduces host protein contamination. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Intrauterine Transmission of Anaplasma phagocytophilum in Persistently Infected Lambs
Vet. Sci. 2018, 5(1), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci5010025
Received: 28 January 2018 / Revised: 23 February 2018 / Accepted: 26 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (202 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Anaplasma phagocytophilum, which causes the disease tick-borne fever (TBF), is the most important tick-borne pathogen in European animals. TBF may contribute to severe welfare challenges and economic losses in the Norwegian sheep industry. The bacterium causes a persistent infection in sheep and several [...] Read more.
Anaplasma phagocytophilum, which causes the disease tick-borne fever (TBF), is the most important tick-borne pathogen in European animals. TBF may contribute to severe welfare challenges and economic losses in the Norwegian sheep industry. The bacterium causes a persistent infection in sheep and several other animal species. The objective of this study was to investigate whether intrauterine transmission occurs in persistently infected sheep. The study included thirteen 5–6-month-old unmated ewes, of which twelve were experimentally infected with A. phagocytophilum (GenBank acc. no. M73220). Four to six weeks later, all ewes were mated, and nine became pregnant. Blood samples were collected from these ewes and their offspring. If the lamb died, tissue samples were collected. The samples were analyzed with real-time PCR (qPCR) targeting the msp2 gene. PCR-positive samples were further analyzed by semi-nested PCR and 16S rDNA sequencing. A total of 20 lambs were born, of which six died within two days. Six newborn lambs (30%) were PCR-positive (qPCR), of which one was verified by 16S rDNA sequencing. The present study indicates that intrauterine transmission of A. phagocytophilum in persistently infected sheep may occur. The importance of these findings for the epidemiology of A. phagocytophilum needs to be further investigated. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Development of an Indirect ELISA Based on a Recombinant Chimeric Protein for the Detection of Antibodies against Bovine Babesiosis
Vet. Sci. 2018, 5(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci5010013
Received: 19 December 2017 / Revised: 19 January 2018 / Accepted: 21 January 2018 / Published: 23 January 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (869 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The current method for Babesia spp. serodiagnosis based on a crude merozoite antigen is a complex and time-consuming procedure. An indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (iELISA) based on a recombinant multi-antigen of Babesia bovis (rMABbO) was developed for detection of antibodies in bovines suspected [...] Read more.
The current method for Babesia spp. serodiagnosis based on a crude merozoite antigen is a complex and time-consuming procedure. An indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (iELISA) based on a recombinant multi-antigen of Babesia bovis (rMABbO) was developed for detection of antibodies in bovines suspected of infection with this parasite. The multi-antigen comprises gene fragments of three previously characterized B. bovis antigens: MSA-2c, RAP-1 and the Heat Shock protein 20 that are well-conserved among geographically distant strains. The cutoff value for the new rMABbo-iELISA was determined using 75 known—positive and 300 known—negative bovine sera previously tested for antibodies to B. bovis by the gold-standard ELISA which uses a merozoite lysate. A cutoff value of ≥35% was determined in these samples by receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curve analysis, showing a sensitivity of 95.9% and a specificity of 94.3%. The rMABbo-iELISA was further tested in a blind trial using an additional set of 263 field bovine sera from enzootic and tick-free regions of Argentina. Results showed a good agreement with the gold standard test with a Cohen’s kappa value of 0.76. Finally, the prevalence of bovine babesiosis in different tick enzootic regions of Argentina was analyzed where seropositivity values among 68–80% were obtained. A certain level of cross reaction was observed when samples from B. bigemina infected cattle were analyzed with the new test, which can be attributed to shared epitopes between 2 of the 3 antigens. This new rMABbo-iELISA could be considered a simpler alternative to detect anti Babesia spp. antibodies and appears to be well suited to perform epidemiological surveys at the herd level in regions where ticks are present. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Tick Paralysis: Solving an Enigma
Vet. Sci. 2018, 5(2), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci5020053
Received: 13 April 2018 / Revised: 4 May 2018 / Accepted: 9 May 2018 / Published: 14 May 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2546 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In comparison to other arachnids, ticks are major vectors of disease, but less than 8% of the known species are capable of inducing paralysis, as compared to the ~99–100% arachnids that belong to venomous classes. When considering the potential monophyly of venomous Arachnida, [...] Read more.
In comparison to other arachnids, ticks are major vectors of disease, but less than 8% of the known species are capable of inducing paralysis, as compared to the ~99–100% arachnids that belong to venomous classes. When considering the potential monophyly of venomous Arachnida, this review reflects on the implications regarding the classification of ticks as venomous animals and the possible origin of toxins. The origin of tick toxins is compared with scorpion and spider toxins and venoms based on their significance, functionality, and structure in the search to find homologous venomous characters. Phenotypic evaluation of paralysis, as caused by different ticks, demonstrated the need for expansion on existing molecular data of pure isolated tick toxins because of differences and discrepancies in available data. The use of in-vivo, in-vitro, and in-silico assays for the purification and characterization of paralysis toxins were critically considered, in view of what may be considered to be a paralysis toxin. Purified toxins should exhibit physiologically relevant activity to distinguish them from other tick-derived proteins. A reductionist approach to identify defined tick proteins will remain as paramount in the search for defined anti-paralysis vaccines. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Detection and Characterisation of Anaplasma marginale and A. centrale in South Africa
Vet. Sci. 2018, 5(1), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci5010026
Received: 31 January 2018 / Revised: 27 February 2018 / Accepted: 28 February 2018 / Published: 3 March 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1127 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Bovine anaplasmosis is endemic in South Africa and it has a negative economic impact on cattle farming. An improved understanding of Anaplasma marginale and Anaplasma marginale variety centrale (A. centrale) transmission, together with improved tools for pathogen detection and characterisation, are required to [...] Read more.
Bovine anaplasmosis is endemic in South Africa and it has a negative economic impact on cattle farming. An improved understanding of Anaplasma marginale and Anaplasma marginale variety centrale (A. centrale) transmission, together with improved tools for pathogen detection and characterisation, are required to inform best management practices. Direct detection methods currently in use for A. marginale and A. centrale in South Africa are light microscopic examination of tissue and organ smears, conventional, nested, and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assays, and a reverse line blot hybridisation assay. Of these, qPCR is the most sensitive for detection of A. marginale and A. centrale in South Africa. Serological assays also feature in routine diagnostics, but cross-reactions prevent accurate species identification. Recently, genetic characterisation has confirmed that A. marginale and A. centrale are separate species. Diversity studies targeting Msp1a repeats for A. marginale and Msp1aS repeats for A. centrale have revealed high genetic variation and point to correspondingly high levels of variation in A. marginale outer membrane proteins (OMPs), which have been shown to be potential vaccine candidates in North American studies. Information on these OMPs is lacking for South African A. marginale strains and should be considered in future recombinant vaccine development studies, ultimately informing the development of regional or global vaccines. Full article
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