Trichomonas vaginalis is a pathogenic protozoan diffused worldwide capable of infecting the urogenital tract in humans, causing trichomoniasis. One of its most intriguing aspects is the ability to establish a close relationship with endosymbiotic microorganisms: the unique association of T. vaginalis with the bacterium Mycoplasma hominis represents, to date, the only example of an endosymbiosis involving two true human pathogens. Since its discovery, several aspects of the symbiosis between T. vaginalis and M. hominis have been characterized, demonstrating that the presence of the intracellular guest strongly influences the pathogenic characteristics of the protozoon, making it more aggressive towards host cells and capable of stimulating a stronger proinflammatory response. The recent description of a further symbiont of the protozoon, the newly discovered non-cultivable mycoplasma Candidatus Mycoplasma girerdii, makes the picture even more complex. This review provides an overview of the main aspects of this complex microbial consortium, with particular emphasis on its effect on protozoan pathobiology and on the interplays among the symbionts.
Ixodid ticks are responsible for the transmission of various intracellular bacteria, such as the Rickettsia species. Little Information is available about the genetic characterization and epidemiology of Rickettsia spp. The current study was designed to assess the tick species infesting various livestock hosts and the associated Rickettsia spp. in Pakistan. Ticks were collected from different livestock hosts (equids, cattle, buffaloes, sheep, goats, and camels); morphologically identified; and screened for the genetic characterization of Rickettsia spp. by the amplification of partial fragments of the gltA, ompA and ompB genes. Altogether, 707 ticks were collected from 373 infested hosts out of 575 observed hosts. The infested hosts comprised 105 cattle, 71 buffaloes, 70 sheep, 60 goats, 34 camels, and 33 equids. The overall occurrence of Rickettsia spp. was 7.6% (25/330) in the tested ticks. Rickettsia DNA was detected in Rhipicephalus haemaphysaloides (9/50, 18.0%), followed by Rhipicephalus turanicus (13/99, 13.1%), Haemaphysalis cornupunctata (1/18, 5.5%), and Rhipicephalus microplus (2/49, 4.1%); however, no rickettsial DNA was detected in Hyalomma anatolicum (71), Hyalomma dromedarii (35), and Haemaphysalis sulcata (8). Two Rickettsia agents were identified based on partial gltA, ompA, and ompB DNA sequences. The Rickettsia species detected in Rh. haemaphysaloides, Rh. turanicus, and Rh. microplus showed 99–100% identity with Rickettsia sp. and Candidatus Rickettsia shennongii, and in the phylogenetic trees clustered with the corresponding Rickettsia spp. The Rickettsia species detected in Rh. haemaphysaloides, Rh. turanicus, Rh. microplus, and Ha. cornupunctata showed 100% identity with R. massiliae, and in the phylogenetic trees it was clustered with the same species. Candidatus R. shennongii was characterized for the first time in Rh. haemaphysaloides, Rh. turanicus, and Rh. microplus. The presence of SFG Rickettsia spp., including the human pathogen R. massiliae, indicates a zoonotic risk in the study region, thus stressing the need for regular surveillance.
Spotted fever illness caused by the tick-borne pathogen Rickettsia parkeri has emerged in the Pampa biome in southern Brazil, where the tick Amblyomma tigrinum is implicated as the main vector. Because domestic dogs are commonly parasitized by A. tigrinum, this canid is also a suitable sentinel for R. parkeri-associated spotted fever. Herein, we investigate rickettsial infection in ticks, domestic dogs and small mammals in a natural reserve of the Pampa biome in southern Brazil. The ticks A. tigrinum, Amblyomma aureolatum and Rhipicephalus sanguineus were collected from dogs. Molecular analyses of ticks did not detect R. parkeri; however, at least 34% (21/61) of the A. tigrinum ticks were infected by the non-pathogenic agent ‘Candidatus Rickettsia andeanae’. Serological analyses revealed that only 14% and 3% of 36 dogs and 34 small mammals, respectively, were exposed to rickettsial antigens. These results indicate that the study area is not endemic for R. parkeri rickettsiosis. We tabulated 10 studies that reported rickettsial infection in A. tigrinum populations from South America. There was a strong negative correlation between the infection rates by R. parkeri and ‘Candidatus R. andeanae’ in A. tigrinum populations. We propose that high infection rates by ‘Candidatus R. andeanae’ might promote the exclusion of R. parkeri from A. tigrinum populations. The mechanisms for such exclusion are yet to be elucidated.
‘Candidatus Phytoplasma solani’ (‘Ca. P. solani’) is a crop pathogen that is a member of the 16SrXII-A ribosomal subgroup. It is also known as stolbur phytoplasma and causes yield losses in several important crops, especially in Solanaceous crops. Different strains of the pathogen are regularly reported all over the world, particularly in the Mediterranean region. In this study, the determination of genetic diversity for the pathogen infecting tomatoes and potatoes was carried out by using multilocus sequence typing analysis for the Tuf, SecY, and Vmp1 genes to gain insight into the epidemiology of ‘Ca. P. solani’ in Turkey. Genetic diversity of the phytoplasmas was investigated by sequence-based phylogenetic analyses and in silico RFLP analysis of related genes. It was determined that all ‘Ca. P. solani’-related strains infecting tomatoes and potatoes were tuf-b, which is linked to field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis L.). Tomato or potato-infecting ‘Ca. P. solani’-related strains showed similarities with each other; however, the isolates collected from different plants showed genetic differences in terms of the SecY gene. This study indicates that the highest genetic variability of collected samples was found in the Vmp1 gene. RsaI-RFLP analysis of TYPH10F/R amplicons showed that potato-infecting ‘Ca. P. solani’-related strains were found to be similar to some existing V types. However, the V-type of tomato-infecting isolates is not similar to any previously reported V-type. The results indicate that there could be an important genetic diversity of ‘Ca. P. solani’-related phytoplasmas in Turkey. This could indicate various ways in which the pathogen has adapted to the two host plants as a consequence of the various Vmp1 gene rearrangements seen in these two plant hosts. Obtained results also indicate that the epidemiology of ‘Ca. P. solani’-related phytoplasmas in the tomato and potato agroecosystem may be better understood with the use of molecular data on the complex of vmp-types.
The considerable economic losses in citrus associated with ‘Candidatus Liberibacter’ and ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma’ presence have alerted all producing regions of the world. In Chile, none of these bacteria have been reported in citrus species. During the years 2017 and 2019, 258 samples presenting symptoms similar to those associated with the presence of these bacteria were examined. No detection of ‘Ca. Liberibacter’ associated with “huanglongbing” disease was obtained in the tested samples; therefore, this quarantine pest is maintained as absent in Chile. However, 14 plants resulted positive for phytoplasmas enclosed in subgroups 16SrV-A (12 plants) and 16SrXIII-F (2 plants). Although they have been found in other plant species, this is the first report of these phytoplasmas in citrus worldwide.
The γ-proteobacterium ‘Candidatus Arsenophonus phytopathogenicus’ is assigned as the major pathogen of “Syndrome des basses richesses”, a sugar beet disease characterised by a reduction in the sugar content of taproots and biomass yield. Despite the economic impact of this bacteriosis, diagnostics for this important pathogen currently rely on end-point PCR detection. Herein, we introduce a TaqMan qPCR for diagnostics of the agent targeting genes encoding a heat shock protein of the Hsp20 family and mannose-6-phosphate isomerase. Quantitation with synthetic oligonucleotides as standard showed that the developed TaqMan qPCR assays enable the detection of up to 100 target copies. A comparison between the TaqMan qPCR and end-point PCR for ‘Ca. A. phytopathogenicus’ detection was carried out on 78 sugar beet samples from different locations in southern Germany. The newly developed assays enable the fast, reliable and sensitive detection of ‘Ca. A. phytopathogenicus’ in sugar beet.
Huanglongbing (HLB) pathogen Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) brings a great concern about the phloem nutrient transport in diseased plants. There is an urgent need to find the best management strategies to reduce the losses in the citrus industry worldwide. Endophytic bacteria are negatively affected by CLas pathogen, and these endophytes are associated with improved availability of nutrients and pathogen resistance. This study underpins the relationship between CLas pathogen, endophyte population and nutrients availability in citrus plants. The citrus plants were treated with Bacillus subtilis L1-21 and Hoagland solution to find out synergism efficacy to mitigate citrus HLB. We showed that citrus shoots in the presence of 50% Hoagland solution displayed maximum number of endophytes with 6.28 × 103 to 3.04 × 105 CFU/g. Among 50 candidate strains, B. subtilis L1-21 emerged as potential antagonist against surrogate strain Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri. The citrus half-leaf method identified that application of endophyte L1-21 with 50% Hoagland solution successfully reduces the CLas abundance. We point out that this combination results in a higher number of endophytes population with 2.52 × 104 to 9.11 × 106 CFU/g after 60 days, and reduces CLas pathogen abundance in asymptomatic HLB plants. In HLB symptomatic citrus plants, B. subtilis L1-21 potentially increases the endophyte population from 1.11 × 104 to 5.26 × 107 CFU/g in the presence of Hoagland solution, and pathogen abundance was reduced from 9.51 × 105 to 1.06 × 104 copies/g. Altogether, we suggested that the presence of endophyte L1-21 with Hoagland solution is more effective in HLB asymptomatic citrus plants, but a slight reduction of pathogen was observed in symptomatic plants. The findings revealed the role of indigenous citrus endophyte B. subtilis L1-21 along with other nutrients in the reduction of CLas pathogen abundance inside symptomatic and asymptomatic plants in citrus endophyte–nutrient–pathogen interplay.
Understanding how phytoplasmas move and multiply within the host plant is fundamental for plant–pathogen interaction studies. In recent years, the tomato has been used as a model plant to study this type of interaction. In the present work, we investigated the distribution and multiplication dynamics of one strain of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma (Ca. P.) solani’ (16SrXII-A) in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L., cv. Micro-Tom) plants. We obtained infected plants by grafting, a fast and effective method to maintain phytoplasma infection. In planta spread and multiplication of ‘Ca. P. solani’ was monitored over time using qualitative and quantitative qPCR. Root, apical shoot, lower leaves, and upper leaves were sampled at each sampling time. We hypothesized that ‘Ca. P. solani’ from the grafting site reached firstly the highest leaf, the apex and the roots; subsequently, the phytoplasmas spread to the rest of the upper leaves and then progressively to the lower leaves. Significant differences were found in ‘Ca. P. solani’ titer among different plant tissues. In particular, the concentration of phytoplasma in the roots was significantly higher than that in the other plant compartments in almost all the sampling dates. Since the roots show rapid colonization and the highest concentration of phytoplasmas, they represent the ideal tissue to sample for an early, sensitive and robust diagnosis.
A novel Borrelia species, Candidatus Borrelia javanense, was found in ectoparasite ticks, Amblyomma javanense, from Manis javanica pangolins seized in anti-smuggling operations in southern China. Overall, 12 tick samples in 227 (overall prevalence 5.3%) were positive for Candidatus B. javanense, 9 (5.1%) in 176 males, and 3 (5.9%) in 51 females. The phylogenetic analysis, based on the 16S rRNA gene and the flagellin gene sequences of the Borrelia sp., exhibited strong evidence that Candidatus B. javanense did not belong to the Lyme disease Borrelia group and the relapsing fever Borrelia group but another lineage of Borrelia. The discovery of the novel Borrelia species suggests that A. javanense may be the transmit vector, and the M. javanica pangolins should be considered a possible origin reservoir in the natural circulation of these new pathogens. To our knowledge, this is the first identification of a novel Borrelia species agent in A. javanense from pangolins. Whether the novel agent is pathogenic to humans is unknown and needs further research.
A man with a well-controlled HIV infection, previously diagnosed with lymphogranuloma venereum and treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was suffering from chronic diarrhea. He travelled to Indonesia in the month prior to the start of complaints. Over a 15-month period, sequences related to Campylobactertroglodytis/upsaliensis, C. pinnepediorum/mucosalis/concisus and C. hominis were detected by 16S rRNA qPCR-based assays in various stool samples and in a colon biopsy. Culture revealed the first isolation of “candidatus Campylobacter infans”, a species identified recently by molecular methods only. The patient was treated with azithromycin, ciprofloxacin and tetracycline. To identify potential continuous exposure of the patient to Campylobacter, stool samples of the partner and the cat of the patient were analyzed and C. pinnepediorum/mucosalis/concisus and C. helveticus, respectively, were detected. The diversity in detected species in this immunocompromised patient with a lack of repeatedly consistent findings resulted in the conclusion that not any of the Campylobacter species was the primary cause of the clinical condition. This study shows the challenges in detection and interpretation of diagnostic results regarding Campylobacter.