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Rev Sci Tech. 2015 Aug;34(2):577-86.

The genus Anaplasma: new challenges after reclassification.


The genus Anaplasmais one of four distinct genera in the family Anaplasmataceae, which are obligate intracellular pathogens vectored by ticks and found exclusively within parasitophorous vacuoles in the host cell cytoplasm. The 2001 reclassification of the order Rickettsiales expanded the genus Anaplasma, which previously contained pathogens that were host specific for ruminants (A. marginale, A. centrale and A. bovis), by adding A. phagocytophilum, a unification of three organisms previously classified as Ehrlichia (E. equi, E. phagocytophila and the unnamed agent of human granulocytic ehrlichiosis). Also included in the genus Anaplasma were A. bovis (formerly E. bovis), A. platys (formerly E. platys) and Aegyptianella pullorum. Despite the genomic relatedness of the regrouped organisms, many aspects of their biology are diverse, including their host specificity, host cell preferences, major surface proteins (MSPs) and tick vectors. This review focuses on the two most important pathogens: A. marginale, which causes bovine anaplasmosis, and A. phagocytophilum, the aetiologic agent of tick-borne fever in sheep and human granulocytic anaplasmosis, an emerging tick-borne disease of humans. For both pathogens, strain diversity is much greater than previously recognised. While MSPs were found to be useful in phylogenetic studies and strain identification, highly conserved MSPs were found to affect the specificity of serologic tests. Comparison of these two important pathogens highlights the challenges and insight derived from reclassification and molecular analysis, both of which have implications for the development and evaluation of diagnosis and control strategies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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