Population diversity and multiplicity of infection in Theileria annulata

Weir, W. , Karagenç, T., Gharbi, M., Simuunza, M., Aypak, S., Aysul, N., Darghouth, M. A., Shiels, B. and Tait, A. (2011) Population diversity and multiplicity of infection in Theileria annulata. International Journal for Parasitology, 41(2), pp. 193-203. (doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2010.08.004) (PMID:20833170) (PMCID:PMC3034872)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpara.2010.08.004


The tick-borne apicomplexan parasite Theileria annulata is endemic in many sub-tropical countries and causes the bovine disease tropical theileriosis. Although the parasite is known to be highly diverse, detailed information is lacking on the genetic structure of natural populations and levels of multiplicity of infection in the cattle host. With the widespread deployment of live attenuated vaccines and the emergence of drug-resistant parasites in the field, it is vital to appreciate the factors which shape genetic diversity of the parasite both within individual hosts and in the wider population. This study addresses these issues and represents an extensive genetic analysis of T. annulata populations in two endemic countries utilising a high-throughput adaptation of a micro- and mini-satellite genotyping system. Parasite material was collected from infected cattle in defined regions of Turkey and Tunisia to allow a variety of analyses to be conducted. All animals (n = 305) were found to harbour multiple parasite genotypes and only two isolates shared an identical predominant multi-locus profile. A modelling approach was used to demonstrate that host age, location and vaccination status play a measurable role in determining multiplicity of infection in an individual animal. Age was shown to positively correlate with multiplicity of infection and while positive vaccination status exerted a similar effect, it was shown to be due not simply to the presence of the immunising genotype. Importantly, no direct evidence was found for the immunising genotype spreading or recombining within the local parasite community. Genetic analysis confirmed the tentative conclusion of a previous study that the parasite population appears to be, in general, panmictic. Nevertheless, evidence supporting linkage disequilibrium and a departure from panmixia was uncovered in some localities and a number of explanations for these findings are advanced. (C) 2010 Australian Society for Parasitology Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Tait, Professor Andy and Weir, Professor Willie and Shiels, Professor Brian
Authors: Weir, W., Karagenç, T., Gharbi, M., Simuunza, M., Aypak, S., Aysul, N., Darghouth, M. A., Shiels, B., and Tait, A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation
Journal Name:International Journal for Parasitology

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