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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1998 Jun 29;849:137-45.

Development of a non-radioactive DNA probe and in situ hybridization for detection of Anaplasma marginale in ticks and cattle.

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Department of Anatomy, Pathology and Pharmacology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater 74078-2007, USA.


A non-radioactive DNA probe was developed for detection of Anaplasma marginale in ticks and cattle. The probe was labeled with digoxigenin 11-dUTP by polymerase chain reaction. The probe was tested on bovine blood and was found to be a sensitive and specific detection method for A. marginale in cattle. The DNA probe was then adapted for in situ hybridization (ISH) of A. marginale in Dermacentor andersoni and D. variabilis ticks infected either as nymphs or adults. One-half of each tick was studied with ISH while the other half was examined with light and electron microscopy. In male ticks infected as adults, tick gut cells first became infected with A. marginale while ticks fed on an infected calf, and they remained infected as they transmission fed on a second, susceptible calf. At the onset of transmission feeding, salivary glands became infected with A. marginale. During transmission feeding infection was also observed in interstitial, reproductive, skeletal muscle, fat body and Malpighian tubule tissue, resulting in a generalized A. marginale infection. When adult ticks that acquired infection as nymphs were examined with ISH and microscopy, gut tissues of both D. andersoni and D. variabilis became infected with A. marginale. However, salivary gland infection was seen only in D. variabilis, even though both species of ticks transmitted A. marginale to susceptible calves. A. marginale was not seen with ISH or microscopy in hemocytes collected from both species of ticks and, thus, hemocytes do not appear to play a role in the development of A. marginale in ticks.

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