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J Vet Diagn Invest. 1994 Oct;6(4):435-41.

Molecular and biological characterization of a newly isolated Anaplasma marginale strain.

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Department of Veterinary Microbiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman 99164-7040.


Anaplasma marginale, a rickettsial hemoparasite of cattle and other ruminants, results in significant economic losses worldwide. Distinct strains of A. marginale have been identified based on differences in tick transmissibility, molecular size of surface proteins and DNA restriction fragments, and reactivity to a panel of monoclonal antibodies. These different strains vary considerably in their virulence, antigenic composition, and ability to protect against heterologous challenge. In this paper, we report on the molecular characterization of a newly isolated strain of A. marginale, designated St. Maries, recovered from an acutely infected cow in northern Idaho. Dermacentor andersoni ticks taken from the infected animal were tested for infection by RNA probe analysis. The infection rate of male ticks (as determined by midgut infection) was 100%, and the infection rate of female ticks was 83%. Infected male ticks were able to transmit the St. Maries strain to a susceptible calf. The high infection rate in male ticks may be particularly relevant, given that male ticks are believed to be epidemiologically important in transmission of A. marginale because of their intermittent feeding behavior, which promotes interhost transfer. The newly isolated strain differs from other US strains, including strains previously isolated in Idaho and Washington, based on reactivity to a panel of monoclonal antibodies and restriction fragment length polymorphisms. These results imply that antigenically distinct strains of A. marginale may arise within the same region.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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