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Sequence heterogeneity in the 18S rRNA gene in Theileria equi from horses presented in Switzerland


Liu, Qin; Meli, Marina L; Zhang, Yi; Meili, Theres; Stirn, Martina; Riond, Barbara; Weibel, Beatrice; Hofmann-Lehmann, Regina (2016). Sequence heterogeneity in the 18S rRNA gene in Theileria equi from horses presented in Switzerland. Veterinary Parasitology, 221:24-29.

Abstract

A reverse line blot (RLB) hybridization assay was adapted and applied for equine blood samples collected at the animal hospital of the University of Zurich to determine the presence of piroplasms in horses in Switzerland. A total of 100 equine blood samples were included in the study. The V4 hypervariable region of the 18S rRNA gene was amplified by polymerase chain reaction and analyzed using the RLB assay. Samples from seven horses hybridized to a Theileria/Babesia genus-specific and a Theileria genus-specific probe. Of these, two hybridized also to the Theileria equi-specific probe. The other five positive samples did not hybridize to any of the species-specific probes, suggesting the presence of unrecognized Theileria variants or genotypes. The 18S rRNA gene of the latter five samples were sequenced and found to be closely related to T. equi isolated from horses in Spain (AY534822) and China (KF559357) (≥98.4% identity). Four of the seven horses that tested positive had a documented travel history (France, Italy, and Spain) or lived abroad (Hungary). The present study adds new insight into the presence and sequence heterogeneity of T. equi in Switzerland. The results prompt that species-specific probes must be designed in regions of the gene unique to T. equi. Of note, none of the seven positive horses were suspected of having Theileria infection at the time of presentation to the clinic. Clinicians should be aware of the possibility of equine piroplasma infections outside of endemic areas and in horses without signs of piroplasmosis.

Abstract

A reverse line blot (RLB) hybridization assay was adapted and applied for equine blood samples collected at the animal hospital of the University of Zurich to determine the presence of piroplasms in horses in Switzerland. A total of 100 equine blood samples were included in the study. The V4 hypervariable region of the 18S rRNA gene was amplified by polymerase chain reaction and analyzed using the RLB assay. Samples from seven horses hybridized to a Theileria/Babesia genus-specific and a Theileria genus-specific probe. Of these, two hybridized also to the Theileria equi-specific probe. The other five positive samples did not hybridize to any of the species-specific probes, suggesting the presence of unrecognized Theileria variants or genotypes. The 18S rRNA gene of the latter five samples were sequenced and found to be closely related to T. equi isolated from horses in Spain (AY534822) and China (KF559357) (≥98.4% identity). Four of the seven horses that tested positive had a documented travel history (France, Italy, and Spain) or lived abroad (Hungary). The present study adds new insight into the presence and sequence heterogeneity of T. equi in Switzerland. The results prompt that species-specific probes must be designed in regions of the gene unique to T. equi. Of note, none of the seven positive horses were suspected of having Theileria infection at the time of presentation to the clinic. Clinicians should be aware of the possibility of equine piroplasma infections outside of endemic areas and in horses without signs of piroplasmosis.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Farm Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Uncontrolled Keywords:18S rRNA gene; Equids; Piroplasms; Reverse line blot; Switzerland; Theileria equi
Date:2016
Deposited On:28 Nov 2016 11:17
Last Modified:02 Feb 2018 10:49
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0304-4017
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2016.03.003
PubMed ID:27084467

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