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Vet Parasitol. 2003 Feb 13;111(2-3):247-60.

Antibodies to Anaplasma marginale major surface proteins 1a and 1b inhibit infectivity for cultured tick cells.

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Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oklahoma State University, 250 McElroy Hall, Stillwater, OK 74078-2007, USA.


Major surface protein 1 (MSP1) of the cattle pathogen Anaplasma marginale (Rickettsiales: Anaplasmataceae) is a complex of two proteins, MSP1a and MSP1b. Previous studies demonstrated that MSP1a and MSP1b are adhesins for bovine erythrocytes, while only MSP1a proved to be an adhesin for tick cells. In this study, a tick cell culture system for propagation of A. marginale was used to develop an infection inhibition assay for testing the ability of antisera to block infection of A. marginale for cultured tick cells. A. marginale derived from cell culture was incubated with various antisera prior to inoculation onto cell monolayers. The monolayers were harvested 7 days post-inoculation and A. marginale in the cultures was quantified using an antigen detection ELISA. Antisera tested in the infection inhibition assay were derived from persistently infected cattle, from cattle immunized with A. marginale purified from bovine erythrocytes, and from rabbits and cattle that were immunized with the recombinant MSP1a, MSP1b and MSP1 complex. Antibodies from cattle persistently infected with A. marginale, cattle immunized with A. marginale from bovine erythrocytes or cattle immunized with the recombinant MSP1 complex did not inhibit the infectivity of A. marginale for tick cells. Antiserum from rabbits immunized with MSP1a and MSP1b (individually or combined) reduced infection of both the Virginia and Oklahoma isolates of A. marginale for tick cells by 25-70%. Likewise, antisera from cattle immunized with recombinant MSP1a or MSP1b inhibited infection of tick cells by 26-37%. These results further confirm the role of MSP1 complex proteins in infection of tick cells. Lack of inhibition of infection by antisera from naturally infected cattle or cattle immunized with whole organisms suggests that the bovine immune response is not directed toward blocking infection of A. marginale for tick cells and may contribute to the continued infectivity of the pathogen for ticks.

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