The impact of tick-borne pathogen infection in Indian bovines is determined by host type but not the genotype of Theileria annulata

Larcombe, S.D. et al. (2019) The impact of tick-borne pathogen infection in Indian bovines is determined by host type but not the genotype of Theileria annulata. Infection, Genetics and Evolution, 75, 103972. (doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2019.103972) (PMID:31344487) (PMCID:PMC6853275)

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Tick-borne pathogens (TBP) are a major source of production loss and a welfare concern in livestock across the globe. Consequently, there is a trade-off between keeping animals that are tolerant to TBP infection, but are less productive than more susceptible breeds. Theileria annulata is a major TBP of bovines, with different host types (i.e. exotic and native cattle breeds, and buffalo) displaying demonstrable differences in clinical susceptibility to infection. However, the extent to which these differences are driven by genetic/physiological differences between hosts, or by different parasite populations/genotypes preferentially establishing infection in different host breeds and species is unclear. In this study, three different bovine host types in India were blood sampled to test for the presence of various TBP, including Theileria annulata, to determine whether native cattle (Bos indicus breeds), crossbreed cattle (Bos taurus x Bos indicus breeds) or water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) differ in the physiological consequences of infection. Population genetic analyses of T. annulata isolated from the three different host types was also performed, using a panel of mini- and micro-satellite markers, to test for sub-structuring of the parasite population among host types. We discovered that compared to other host types, “carrier” crossbreed cattle showed a higher level of haematological pathology when infected with T. annulata. Despite this finding, we found no evidence for differences in the genotypes of T. annulata infecting different host types, although buffalo appeared to harbour fewer mixed parasite genotype infections, indicating they are not the major reservoir of parasite diversity. The apparent tolerance/resistance of native breed cattle and buffalo to the impacts of T. annulata infection is thus most likely to be driven by host genotype, rather than differences in the parasite population. Our results suggest that an improved understanding of the genetic factors that underpin disease resistance could help to ameliorate future economic loss due to TBP or tropical theileriosis.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Shiels, Professor Brian and Larcombe, Dr Stephen and Weir, Professor Willie
Authors: Larcombe, S.D., Kolte, S.W., Ponnudurai, G., Kurkure, N., Magar, S., Velusamy, R., Rani, N., Rubinibala, B., Rekha, B., Alagesan, A., Weir, W., and Shiels, B.R.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Infection, Genetics and Evolution
ISSN (Online):1567-7257
Published Online:21 July 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in Infection, Genetics and Evolution 75:103972
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
631841Control of tick borne disease: molecular epidemiology, host resistance and novel vaccine antigensBrian ShielsBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/L004739/1RI BIODIVERSITY ANIMAL HEALTH & COMPMED