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Publication type: Journal Article
Document type: Full Paper

Year: 2012

Author(s): Reinmann, K; Müller, N; Kuhnert, P; Campero, CM; Leitsch, D; Hess, M; Henning, K; Fort, M; Müller, J; Gottstein, B; Frey, CF

Title: Tritrichomonas foetus isolates from cats and cattle show minor genetic differences in unrelated loci ITS-2 and EF-1α.

Source: Vet Parasitol. 2012; 185(2-4):138-144

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Hess Michael

Vetmed Research Units
University Clinic for Poultry and Fish Medicine, Clinical Unit of Poultry Medicine

The protozoan parasite Tritrichomonas foetus is well known as an important causative agent of infertility and abortion in cattle (bovine trichomonosis). This World Organisation for Animal Health (O.I.E.) notifiable disease is thought to be under control in many countries including Switzerland. In recent studies, however, T. foetus has also been identified as an intestinal parasite that causes chronic large-bowel diarrhoea in cats. Since the feline isolates were considered indistinguishable from bovine isolates, the possibility and risk of parasite transmission from cats to cattle and vice versa has been intensively discussed in current literature. Therefore, we investigated if cat and cattle isolates are genetically distinct from each other or in fact represent identical genotypes. For this purpose, two independent genetic loci were selected that turned out to be well-suited for a PCR sequencing-based genotyping of trichomonad isolates: (i) previously published internal transcribed spacer region 2 (ITS-2) and (ii) a semi-conserved sequence stretch of the elongation factor-1 alpha (EF-1α) gene used for the first time in the present study. Respective comparative analyses revealed that both loci were sufficiently variable to allow unambiguous genetic discrimination between different trichomonad species. Comparison of both genetic loci confirmed that T. suis and T. mobilensis are phylogenetically very close to T. foetus. Moreover, these two genetic markers were suited to define host-specific genotypes of T. foetus. Both loci showed single base differences between cat and cattle isolates but showed full sequence identity within strains from either cat or cattle isolates. Furthermore, an additional PCR with a forward primer designed to specifically amplify the bovine sequence of EF-1α was able to discriminate bovine isolates of T. foetus from feline isolates and also from other trichomonads. The implications these minor genetic differences may have on the biological properties of the distinct isolates remain to be investigated.

Keywords Pubmed: Animals
Base Sequence
Cat Diseases/parasitology*
Cattle Diseases/parasitology*
DNA, Protozoan/genetics
Gene Expression Regulation/physiology
Genetic Variation
Polymerase Chain Reaction/veterinary
Protozoan Infections, Animal/parasitology*
Protozoan Proteins/genetics
Protozoan Proteins/metabolism*
Species Specificity
Tritrichomonas foetus/genetics*
Tritrichomonas foetus/isolation & purification*

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