Development of a multiplex PCR assay for simultaneous detection of Theileria annulata, Babesia bovis and Anaplasma marginale in cattle

Bilgiç, H. B., Karagenç, T., Simuunza, M., Shiels, B. , Tait, A., Eren, H. and Weir, W. (2013) Development of a multiplex PCR assay for simultaneous detection of Theileria annulata, Babesia bovis and Anaplasma marginale in cattle. Experimental Parasitology, 133(2), pp. 222-229. (doi: 10.1016/j.exppara.2012.11.005) (PMID:23183165) (PMCID:PMC3650576)

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Tropical theileriosis, bovine babesiosis and anaplasmosis are tick-borne protozoan diseases that impose serious constraints on the health and productivity of domestic cattle in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. A common feature of these diseases is that, following recovery from primary infection, animals become persistent carriers of the pathogen and continue to play a critical role in disease epidemiology, acting as reservoirs of infection. This study describes development and evaluation of multiplex and single PCR assays for simultaneous detection of Theileria annulata, Babesia bovis and Anaplasma marginale in cattle. Following in silico screening for candidate target genes representing each of the pathogens, an optimised multiplex PCR assay was established using three primer sets, cytob1, MAR1bB2 and bovar2A, for amplification of genomic DNA of T. annulata, A. marginale and B. bovis respectively. The designed primer sets were found to be species-specific, generating amplicons of 312, 265 and 166 base pairs, respectively and were deemed suitable for the development of a multiplex assay. The sensitivity of each primer pair was evaluated using serial dilutions of parasite DNA, while specificity was confirmed by testing for amplification from DNA of different stocks of each pathogen and other Theileria, Babesia and Anaplasma species. Additionally, DNA preparations derived from field samples were used to evaluate the utility of the single and multiplex PCRs for determination of infection status. The multiplex PCR was found to detect each pathogen species with the same level of sensitivity, irrespective of whether its DNA was amplified in isolation or together with DNA representing the other pathogens. Moreover, single and multiplex PCRs were able to detect each species with equal sensitivity in serially diluted DNA representing mixtures of T. annulata, B. bovis and A. marginale, and no evidence of non-specific amplification from non-target species was observed. Validation that the multiplex PCR efficiently detects single and mixed infections from field samples was demonstrated. The developed assay represents a simple and efficient diagnostic for co-detection of tropical theileriosis, bovine babesiosis and anaplasmosis, and may be a valuable tool for epidemiological studies aimed at assessing the burden of multiple infection with tick-borne pathogens and improving control of the associated diseases in endemic regions.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Tait, Professor Andy and Weir, Professor Willie and Shiels, Professor Brian
Authors: Bilgiç, H. B., Karagenç, T., Simuunza, M., Shiels, B., Tait, A., Eren, H., and Weir, W.
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:Experimental Parasitology
ISSN (Online):1090-2449
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc.
First Published:First published in Experimental Parasitology 133(2):222-229
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
392992An integrated approach for the development of sustainable methods to control tropical theileriosisAndrew TaitWellcome Trust (WELLCOME)075820/A/04/ZSCHOOL OF VETERINARY MEDICINE