Molecular Survey of Anaplasma and Ehrlichia of Red Deer and Sika Deer in Gansu, China in 2013.
Phenotypic criteria for the identification of erythrocytic ruminant Anaplasma species has relied on subjective identification methods such as host pathogenicity (virulence for cattle or sheep) and/or the location of Anaplasma inclusion bodies within the host's red cells. Sequence comparisons of new and available GenBank Accessions were investigated to elucidate the relationships among these closely related Anaplasma species. Twenty-one 16S rDNA and GroEL (HSP60) sequences from 13 Anaplasma marginale (South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Israel, USA, Australia and Uruguay), three A. centrale (South Africa and Japan), two A. ovis (USA and South Africa), and two unknown Anaplasma species isolated from wild ruminants (South Africa), were compared. 16S rDNA maximum-likelihood and distance trees separated all A. marginale (and the two wild ruminant isolates) from the two South African A. centrale (including original vaccine strain, Theiler, 1911). The Japanese A. centrale (Aomori) demonstrated the lowest sequence identity to the remaining erythrocytic Anaplasma species. A. ovis inter-species relationships could not be resolved through the 16S rDNA analyses, whereas strong bootstrap branch support is demonstrated in the GroEL distance tree using A. ovis OVI strain. All erythrocytic Anaplasma species and isolates were confirmed to belong to the same cluster showing strong branch support to Anaplasma (Ehrlichia) phagocytophilum with Ehrlichia (Cowdria) ruminantium and Rickettsia rickettsii serving as appropriate out-groups. Based on groEL sequences, a specific PCR method was developed which amplified A. centrale vaccine (Theiler, 1911) specifically. This study confirms the suitability of 16S rDNA sequences to define genera and demonstrates the usefulness of GroEL sequences for defining species of erythrocytic Anaplasma.