Coxiella burnetii and Coxiella-like endosymbionts (CLEs) have been widely discovered in various ticks, animals, and even human beings. To estimate the possible origin of C. burnetii and its relatives CLEs, the prevalence of C. burnetii and CLEs has been intensively surveyed all over the world.
In the present study, the possible infection of C. burnetii and CLEs in host-seeking Haemaphysalis concinna was performed with meta-transcript analysis with tick specimens harvested from Mudanjiang City, Heilongjiang province, China. The meta-transcript results were subsequently confirmed by the specific sequence of partial 16S rRNA.
A total of three arrays of gene transcripts were harvested, including pyrophosphate-fructose 6-phosphate 1-phosphotransferase-eda-thiol-disulfide isomerase and thioredoxin-greA, carB-carA-DnaJ-DnaK-grpE-ppnk, ropC-ropB, and ubiA-non-canonical purine NTP pyrophosphatase-hemK-prfA, which suggest the infection of Candidatus Coxiella mudorwiae in H. concinna. The high identity of the 16S rRNA gene of Candidatus C. mudorwiae achieved in our study strongly supports our meta-transcripts analysis.
The prevalence of Candidatus C. mudorwiae in hard ticks has been discovered in China. More detailed surveys are imperative to clarify the emergence of CLEs and their implication in the epidemiologic characteristics of Q fever.
‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ (CLas) is associated with the devastating citrus ‘greening’ disease. All attempts to achieve axenic growth and complete Koch’s postulates with CLas have failed to date, at best yielding complex cocultures with very low CLas titers detectable only by PCR. Reductive genome evolution has rendered all pathogenic ‘Ca. Liberibacter’ spp. deficient in multiple key biosynthetic, metabolic and structural pathways that are highly unlikely to be rescued in vitro by media supplementation alone. By contrast, Liberibacter crescens (Lcr) is axenically cultured and its genome is both syntenic and highly similar to CLas. Our objective is to achieve replicative axenic growth of CLas via addition of missing culturability-related Lcr genes.
Bioinformatic analyses identified 405 unique ORFs in Lcr but missing (or truncated) in all 24 sequenced CLas strains. Site-directed mutagenesis confirmed and extended published EZ-Tn5 mutagenesis data, allowing elimination of 310 of these 405 genes as nonessential, leaving 95 experimentally validated Lcr genes as essential for CLas growth in axenic culture. Experimental conditions for conjugation of large GFP-expressing plasmids from Escherichia coli to Lcr were successfully established for the first time, providing a practical method for transfer of large groups of ‘essential’ Lcr genes to CLas.
The appearance of the novel porcine haemotrophic mycoplasma (HM) species ‘Candidatus Mycoplasma haemosuis’ was reported in apparently healthy but also in clinically sick animals in China, Korea and in a case report from Germany. Outside of Asia, however, nothing further is known about the frequency of ‘Ca. M. haemosuis’ in pigs to date. To investigate the distribution of this novel HM species in Germany, fattening pigs, sows and pre-suckling piglets were examined using a herein developed quantitative real-time PCR assay (qPCR). Because the piglets were sampled before the first colostrum uptake, additional information on a possible vertical transmission from dams to their offspring was obtained.
Our novel qPCR assay successfully detected ‘Ca. M. haemosuis’ in all blood samples from the ‘Ca. M. haemosuis’-infected pigs. No cross-reactivity was detected when DNA from non-target Mycoplasma spp. and other bacterial species representing 105 bacteria/reaction were used as a template. The lower limit of detection of the qPCR was thus 10 gap gene copies per reaction and 2.5 x 103 genome equivalents (GE) per mL blood.
‘Candidatus M. haemosuis’ was detected by this qPCR in blood samples from a total out of 6.25% sows (13/208), 4.50% pre-suckling piglets (28/622) and 17.50% fattening pigs (35/200). On farm level, 3 out of 21 piglet producing farms (14.28%) and 9 out of 20 fattening farms (45.00%) were positive for ‘Ca. M. haemosuis’. Co-infections with M. suis were evident in all age groups.
‘Candidatus M. haemosuis’ infection is present in German pig farms and the detection of the novel porcine HM species in piglets immediately after birth before colostrum intake indicates vertical transmission. The novel qPCR assay specific for ‘Ca. M. haemosuis’ described herein will be a prerequisite for future studies on the prevalence, epidemiology as well as the clinical and economic impact of ‘Ca. M. haemosuis’ infections.