Original Research

The pCS20 PCR assay for Ehrlichia ruminantium does not cross-react with the novel deer ehrlichial agent found in white-tailed deer in the United States of America

S.M. Mahan, B.H. Simbi, M.J. Burridge
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 71, No 2 | a271 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v71i2.271 | © 2004 S.M. Mahan, B.H. Simbi, M.J. Burridge | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 November 2004 | Published: 08 November 2004

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S.M. Mahan,
B.H. Simbi,
M.J. Burridge,

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White-tailed deer are susceptible to heartwater (Ehrlichia [Cowdria] ruminantium infection) and are likely to suffer high mortality if the disease spreads to the United States. It is vital, therefore, to validate a highly specific and sensitive detection method for E. ruminantium infection that can be reliably used in testing white-tailed deer, which are reservoirs of antigenically or genetically related agents such as Ehrlichia chaffeensis, Anaplasma (Ehrlichia) phagocytophilum (HGE agent) and Ehrlichia ewingii. Recently, a novel but as yet unnamed ehrlichial species, the white-tailed deer ehrlichia (WTDE), has been discovered in deer populations in the United States. Although the significance of WTDE as a pathogen is unknown at present, it can be distinguished from other Ehrlichia spp. based on 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis. In this study it was differentiated from E. ruminantium by the use of the pCS20 PCR assay which has high specificity and sensitivity for the detection of E. ruminantium. This assay did not amplify DNA from the WTDE DNA samples isolated from deer resident in Florida, Georgia and Missouri, but amplified the specific 279 bp fragment from E. ruminantium DNA. The specificity of the pCS20 PCR assay for E. ruminantium was confirmed by Southern hybridization. Similarly, the 16S PCR primers (nested) that amplify a specific 405-412 bp fragment from the WTDE DNA samples, did not amplify any product from E. ruminantium DNA. This result demonstrates that it would be possible to differentiate between E. ruminantium and the novel WTDE agent found in white tailed deer by applying the two respective PCR assays followed by Southern hybridizations. Since the pCS20 PCR assay also does not amplify any DNA products from E. chaffeensis or Ehrlichia canis DNA, it is therefore the method of choice for the detection of E. ruminantium in these deer and other animal hosts.


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Crossref Citations

1. Natural history of Ehrlichia ruminantium
Basil A. Allsopp
Veterinary Parasitology  vol: 167  issue: 2-4  first page: 123  year: 2010  
doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2009.09.014