Transmissibility of Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides infection from experimentally inoculated goats to other goats and calves was studied. Eight goats and six calves were housed in an 18 m2 room. Six of the goats were inoculated endobronchially with strain D44 isolated from a natural case of polyarthritis in Ontario. These six goats died within a week of Mycoplasma septicemia. The two contact goats or the six calves never showed signs of disease and M. mycoides subsp. mycoides was not recovered from these animals. The contact goats and four calves were killed 25 days after exposure. They were all seronegative, M. mycoides subsp. mycoides was not recovered at necropsy and none had pathomorphological changes attributable to this Mycoplasma. The two remaining calves were inoculated endobronchially with 10(9) CFU of strain D44 and observed for 20 days. They never showed signs of disease and did not have significant lesions at necropsy. Both developed a significant serological response to M. mycoides subsp. mycoides, although this organism was not recovered during the experimental period or at necropsy. This study did not provide evidence for transmission of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides from endobronchially inoculated goats to contact goats or calves and endobronchially inoculated calves did not develop pneumonia. This would suggest that the infection of the goat population in Canada with this pathogen would not be a significant threat to the cattle population.
Two unidentified mycoplasmas, N3 and N11, isolated from the respiratory tract of horses, were found to cross-react with strains of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides in indirect immunofluorescence tests, growth-inhibition tests carried out by the running drop/agar-well method, and in complement-fixation and double immunodiffusion tests. Serologically, the equine mycoplasmas were not completely identical with any of the reference strains of M. mycoides with which they were compared. Their cultural characteristics, ability to digest coagulated serum and casein, and survival at 45 degrees C, however, suggested that they were more closely related to strains of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides, such as Y-goat, which are found in goats, than to strains of that subspecies which are pathogenic for cattle.
The electrophoretic patterns of cell proteins in polyacrylamide gels were used for the study of several taxonomic problems in the Mycoplasmatales. The patterns of five Mycoplasma hominis strains showed marked differences that corresponded with their known serological and nucleic acid heterogeneity. The patterns of three M. mycoides var. mycoides strains isolated in different countries were essentially identical. The electrophoretic patterns of several caprine strains resembled those of M. mycoides var. mycoides, supporting their classification as M. mycoides var. capri. Strain B3, a swine isolate, accordingly was tentatively identified as M. mycoides var. capri. The bovine mastitis strain M. agalactiae var. bovis possessed a pattern basically similar to that of the goat mastitis strain M. agalactiae, supporting the inclusion of both strains in one species. Three M. pulmonis strains isolated from rats or tissue cultures showed nearly identical patterns. The pattern of the toxigenic M. neurolyticum (Sabin A) strain resembled but was not identical with that of the nontoxigenic PG28 strain. The avian Mycoplasma species, M. gallisepticum, M. meleagridis, M. synoviae, M. gallinarum, and M. iners showed easily distinguishable and specific patterns, supporting their present classification in different species. Several improvements in the electrophoretic technique are described, and its advantages and limitations as a taxonomic tool are discussed.
Association of Mycoplasma mycoides subspecies capri (Mmc) with natural goat mastitis has been studied earlier largely by detecting the Mmc DNA using molecular methods. However, report on detection of cultivable Mmc isolates from natural goat-mastitis milk is still very rare. In this study, Mmc was isolated from milk samples (n = 171) of goats with or without clinical signs of mastitis. Mmc isolates were further characterized by biochemical and species-specific PCR methods. Intra species strain variation was also studied by 16S amplified rDNA restriction analysis (16S ARDRA). The study recovered a total of 6 Mmc isolates (3.5%). Three types of intraspecies variants among the recovered Mmc isolates were found by 16S ARDRA. The study concluded that Mmc may be an etiological agent of mycoplasmal mastitis in Indian goat herds.
Few serological tests are available for detecting antibodies against Mycoplasma capricolum subsp. capripneumoniae, the causal agent of contagious caprine pleuropneumonia (CCPP). The complement fixation test, the test prescribed for international trade purposes, uses a crude antigen that cross-reacts with all the other mycoplasma species of the “mycoides cluster” frequently infecting goat herds. The lack of a more specific test has been a real obstacle to the evaluation of the prevalence and economic impact of CCPP worldwide. A new competitive ELISA kit for CCPP, based on a previous blocking ELISA, was formatted at CIRAD and used to evaluate the prevalence of CCPP in some regions of Kenya, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Tajikistan and Pakistan in an international collaborative study.
The strict specificity of the test was confirmed in CCPP-free goat herds exposed to other mycoplasma species of the “mycoides cluster”. Prevalence studies were performed across the enzootic range of the disease in Africa and Asia. Seroprevalence was estimated at 14.6% in the Afar region of Ethiopia, whereas all the herds presented for CCPP vaccination in Kenya tested positive (individual seroprevalence varied from 6 to 90% within each herd). In Mauritius, where CCPP emerged in 2009, nine of 62 herds tested positive. In Central Asia, where the disease was confirmed only recently, no positive animals were detected in the Wakhan District of Afghanistan or across the border in neighboring areas of Tajikistan, whereas seroprevalence varied between 2.7% and 44.2% in the other districts investigated and in northern Pakistan. The test was also used to monitor seroconversion in vaccinated animals.
This newly formatted CCPP cELISA kit has retained the high specificity of the original kit. It can therefore be used to evaluate the prevalence of CCPP in countries or regions without vaccination programs. It could also be used to monitor the efficacy of vaccination campaigns as high-quality vaccines induce high rates of seroconversion.
Contagious caprine pleuropneumonia; Competitive ELISA; Seroprevalence; Kenya; Ethiopia; Mauritius; Tajikistan; Afghanistan; Pakistan; Vaccine quality control
In recent years, mycoplasma taxonomists have found that numerous mycoplasma strains from goats are serologically indistinguishable from Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides, the causative agent of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), by routinely used tests, e.g. the metabolism- and growth-inhibition tests. As a result, such organisms are now openly referred to as M. mycoides subsp. mycoides. Seven of these so-called M. mycoides subsp. mycoides strains from goats were compared with two strains of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides from CBPP, and with one strain of M. mycoides subsp. capri, by means of two in-vivo tests, namely, (1) a test of the ability of each strain, injected intraperitoneally into mice, to produce mycoplasmaemia, and (2) a cross-protection test in mice. Of the seven strains, only one ('O goat') was indistinguishable from genuine M. mycoides subsp. mycoides; it also had small colonies resembling those of genuine M. mycoides subsp. mycoides. The other six were easily distinguished from genuine M. mycoides subsp. mycoides, and they produced large colonies. These six strains and others like them should no longer be given a name that fails to distinguish them from the causative agent of CBPP. Cross-protection tests showed that the seven goat strains referred to above differed from M. mycoides subsp. capri.
Small colony (SC) strains of Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides from contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) and from goats were compared with large colony (LC) strains of so-called M. mycoides subsp. mycoides from goats and sheep by means of a cross-protection test in which mice were challenged with M. mycoides subsp. capri. Of 13 LC strains, all gave partial cross-protection, and 11 were shown to be more closely related than four SC strains to subspecies capri. In a further experiment, six SC strains--three from CBPP and three from goats--all gave weak partial cross-protection against subspecies capri.
Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), caused by Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides, is an important livestock disease in Africa. The current control measures rely on a vaccine with limited efficacy and occasional severe side effects. Knowledge of the protective arms of immunity involved in this disease will be beneficial for the development of an improved vaccine. In previous studies on cattle infected with M. mycoides subsp. mycoides, a correlation was detected between the levels of mycoplasma-specific IFN-γ-secreting CD4+ T lymphocytes and reduced clinical signs. However, no cause and effect has been established, and the role of such cells and of protective responses acquired during a primary infection is not known.
We investigated the role of CD4+ T lymphocytes in CBPP by comparing disease patterns and post mortem findings between CD4+ T cell depleted and non-depleted cattle. The depletion was carried out using several injections of BoCD4 specific murine monoclonal antibody on day 6 after experimental endotracheal infection with the strain Afadé. All cattle were monitored clinically daily and sacrificed 28-30 days post-infection. Statistically significant but small differences were observed in the mortality rate between the depleted and non-depleted animals. However, no differences in clinical parameters (fever, signs of respiratory distress) and pathological lesions were observed, despite elimination of CD4+ T cells for more than a week. The slightly higher mortality in the depleted group suggests a minor role of CD4+ T cells in control of CBPP.
Infection by Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) can induce diseases, such as pneumonia and otitis media in young calves and mastitis and arthritis in older animals. Here, we report the finished and annotated genome sequence of M. bovis strain Hubei-1, a strain isolated in 2008 that caused calf pneumonia on a Chinese farm. The genome of M. bovis strain Hubei-1 contains a single circular chromosome of 953,114 bp with a 29.37% GC content. We identified 803 open reading frames (ORFs) that occupy 89.5% of the genome. While 34 ORFs were Hubei-1 specific, 662 ORFs had orthologs in the M. bovis type strain PG45 genome. Genome analysis validated lateral gene transfer between M. bovis and the Mycoplasma mycoides subspecies mycoides, while phylogenetic analysis found that the closest M. bovis neighbor is Mycoplasma agalactiae. Glycerol may be the main carbon and energy source of M. bovis, and most of the biosynthesis pathways were incomplete. We report that 47 lipoproteins, 12 extracellular proteins and 18 transmembrane proteins are phase-variable and may help M. bovis escape the immune response. Besides lipoproteins and phase-variable proteins, genomic analysis found two possible pathogenicity islands, which consist of four genes and 11 genes each, and several other virulence factors including hemolysin, lipoate protein ligase, dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase, extracellular cysteine protease and 5′-nucleotidase.
Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) is the most important chronic pulmonary disease of cattle on the African continent causing severe economic losses. The disease, caused by infection with Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides is transmitted by animal contact and develops slowly into a chronic form preventing an early clinical diagnosis. Because available vaccines confer a low protection rate and short-lived immunity, the rapid diagnosis of infected animals combined with traditional curbing measures is seen as the best way to control the disease. While traditional labour-intensive bacteriological methods for the detection of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides have been replaced by molecular genetic techniques in the last two decades, these latter approaches require well-equipped laboratories and specialized personnel for the diagnosis. This is a handicap in areas where CBPP is endemic and early diagnosis is essential.
We present a rapid, sensitive and specific diagnostic tool for M. mycoides subsp. mycoides detection based on isothermal loop-mediated amplification (LAMP) that is applicable to field conditions. The primer set developed is highly specific and sensitive enough to diagnose clinical cases without prior cultivation of the organism. The LAMP assay detects M. mycoides subsp. mycoides DNA directly from crude samples of pulmonary/pleural fluids and serum/plasma within an hour using a simple dilution protocol. A photometric detection of LAMP products allows the real-time visualisation of the amplification curve and the application of a melting curve/re-association analysis presents a means of quality assurance based on the predetermined strand-inherent temperature profile supporting the diagnosis.
The CBPP LAMP developed in a robust kit format can be run on a battery-driven mobile device to rapidly detect M. mycoides subsp. mycoides infections from clinical or post mortem samples. The stringent innate quality control allows a conclusive on-site diagnosis of CBPP such as during farm or slaughter house inspections.
CBPP Mycoplasma mycoides; Isothermal; Loop-mediated amplification LAMP; Molecular diagnostic; Field test
The lipoprotein LppQ is the most prominent antigen of Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides small colony type (SC) during infection of cattle. This pathogen causes contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), a devastating disease of considerable socio-economic importance in many countries worldwide. The dominant antigenicity and high specificity for M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC of lipoprotein LppQ have been exploited for serological diagnosis and for epidemiological investigations of CBPP. Scanning electron microscopy and immunogold labelling were used to provide ultrastructural evidence that LppQ is located to the cell membrane at the outer surface of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC. The selectivity and specificity of this method were demonstrated through discriminating localization of extracellular (i.e., in the zone of contact with host cells) vs. integral membrane domains of LppQ. Thus, our findings support the suggestion that the accessible N-terminal domain of LppQ is surface exposed and such surface localization may be implicated in the pathogenesis of CBPP.
Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP); Immunogold labeling; Lipoprotein LppQ; Domain analysis; Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides SC; Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)
A latex agglutination test (LAT) has been developed for the diagnosis of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP). The latex microspheres were coated with MmmSC polyclonal immunoglobulin G antiserum and detected MmmSC antigen in the serum of cattle infected with CBPP and in growth medium containing MmmSC. The specific antigen recognizsed by this test appeared to be the capsular polysaccharide (CPS). The LAT recognized all 23 strains of MmmSC examined in this study, with a sensitivity level of 2 ng of CPS, or the equivalent of 5 × 103 CFU, in a reaction volume of 0.03 ml. Therefore, rapid identification of MmmSC cultures should be possible. Agglutination was also observed with the related goat pathogens and “Mycoplasma mycoides” cluster members Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides large colony biotype (four of six strains positive) and Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. capri (three of six strains positive), in agreement with the suggestion that these latter two mycoplasmas may in fact represent a single species (although collectively exhibiting two capsular serotypes). Comparisons in diagnosis with the complement fixation test (CFT) were made by using African field sera from CBPP-infected cattle. After 2 (or 3) min of incubation, the test detected 55% (or 61%) of CFT-positive sera and 29% (or 40%) of CFT-negative sera, with an overall correlation in diagnosis of 62% (or 61%). The rates for false-positive diagnoses made by using “known” CBPP-negative sera from the United Kingdom were 3 or 13% after 2 or 3 min of incubation, respectively. The data agree with previous findings that some CBPP CFT-negative misdiagnoses may occur due to “antibody eclipsing” by excess circulating antigen. The LAT combines low cost and high specificity with ease of application in the field, without the need for any specialist training or equipment.
To study the specific antibody response to infection with Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides Small Colony (MmmSC), the agent of Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP), we examined three panels of sera collected during three experimental infection trials in African cattle. The methods used included an in-house complement fixation test (CFT), a commercially available CFT, a competitive antibody ELISA (cELISA) and the immunoblotting test (IBT). In addition, lung tissue samples were examined by culture.
A total of 89% (51/59) of all experimentally infected animals tested positive on at least one of the serological tests throughout the trial. The specific antibody titres to the MmmSC infection became positive first by CFT (6 to 9 days post infection [dpi]), followed by IBT (9 to 13 dpi) and cELISA (13 to 16 dpi). Individual animals were found to display remarkably distinct seroconversion patterns, which allowed their classification into i) early high responders, ii) late high responders, and iii) low responders. In accordance with other studies, none of the present serological tests was capable of detecting all CBPP infected animals.
Comparison of the assays' performance in terms of sensitivity and specificity raises serious questions as to their reliability for identification of infected individuals in the field. In view of these limitations, a combination of CFT and cELISA can markedly improve CBPP diagnosis at single-animal level.
Contagious caprine pleuropneumonia (CCPP) is a major threat to goat farming in parts of Africa and Asia. It classically causes acute high morbidity and mortality early in infection, but little is known of its long term epizootiology and course. In this study, 10 goats were inoculated with Mycoplasma capricolum subsp. capripneumoniae (M. capripneumoniae) and then mixed with 15 goats for contact transmission. The disease course was monitored in each goat for 56–105 days, whereafter the goats were killed and necropsied. Varying features signifying infection occurred in altogether 17 goats (7 inoculated, 10 in-contact). Clinical signs were severe in 8 goats but no fatalities occurred. Only 6 goats had serum antibody titres against M. capripneumoniae in ELISA. Fourteen goats (5 inoculated, 9 in-contact) had chronic pleuropulmonary lesions compatible with CCPP at necropsy and 7 of those showed M. capripneumoniae antigen in the lung by immunohistochemistry. Neither cultivation nor PCR tests were positive for the agent in any goat. The results indicate that the clinical course of CCPP in a flock may be comparatively mild, M. capripneumoniae-associated lung lesions may be present at a late stage of infection, and chronic infection may occur without a significant serological response.
goat; Mycoplasma; contagious pleuropneumonia; ELISA; immunohistochemistry; serology; pathology.
Members of the Mycoplasma mycoides cluster are among the most virulent of the mycoplasmas, causing worldwide economically significant diseases of cattle and goats. A distinguishing phenotype among the members of the cluster is the ability to degrade casein. The MMCAP2_0241 gene, an S41 peptidase, confers the proteolytic phenotype in Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. capri GM12. In order to determine the impact of disruption of the gene, we used differential proteome profiling to compare the M. mycoides subsp. capri wild type with a mutant lacking the proteolytic phenotype. Disruption of MMCAP2_0241 resulted in altered phenotypes reminiscent of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC and had significant impacts on the proteome profile of the microbe. The mutant exhibited increased production of hydrogen peroxide, decreased lactate dehydrogenase activity, and increased sensitivity to heat shock.
The Mycoplasma mycoides cluster consists of five species or subspecies that are ruminant pathogens. One subspecies, Mycoplasma mycoides subspecies mycoides Small Colony (MmmSC), is the causative agent of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia. Its very close relative, Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. capri (Mmc), is a more ubiquitous pathogen in small ruminants causing mastitis, arthritis, keratitis, pneumonia and septicaemia and is also found as saprophyte in the ear canal. To understand the genetics underlying these phenotypic differences, we compared the MmmSC PG1 type strain genome, which was already available, with the genome of an Mmc field strain (95010) that was sequenced in this study. We also compared the 95010 genome with the recently published genome of another Mmc strain (GM12) to evaluate Mmc strain diversity.
The MmmSC PG1 genome is 1,212 kbp and that of Mmc 95010 is ca. 58 kbp shorter. Most of the sequences present in PG1 but not 95010 are highly repeated Insertion Sequences (three types of IS) and large duplicated DNA fragments. The 95010 genome contains five types of IS, present in fewer copies than in PG1, and two copies of an integrative conjugative element. These mobile genetic elements have played a key role in genome plasticity, leading to inversions of large DNA fragments. Comparison of the two genomes suggested a marked decay of the PG1 genome that seems to be correlated with a greater number of IS. The repertoire of gene families encoding surface proteins is smaller in PG1. Several genes involved in polysaccharide metabolism and protein degradation are also absent from, or degraded in, PG1.
The genome of MmmSC PG1 is larger than that of Mmc 95010, its very close relative, but has less coding capacity. This is the result of large genetic rearrangements due to mobile elements that have also led to marked gene decay. This is consistent with a non-adaptative genomic complexity theory, allowing duplications or pseudogenes to be maintained in the absence of adaptive selection that would lead to purifying selection and genome streamlining over longer evolutionary times. These findings also suggest that MmmSC only recently adapted to its bovine host.
Mastitis is the most important and costly disease in dairy goat production. Subclinical mastitis is common in goats and is mainly caused by contagious bacteria. Several methods to diagnose subclinical mastitis are available. In this study indirect measurement of somatic cell count (SCC) by California Mastitis Test (CMT) and direct measurement of SCC using a portable deLaval cell counter (DCC) are evaluated. Swedish goat farmers would primarily benefit from diagnostic methods that can be used at the farm. The purpose of the study was to evaluate SCC measured by CMT and DCC as possible markers for intramammary infection (IMI) in goats without clinical symptoms of mastitis. Moreover to see how well indirect measurement of SCC (CMT) corresponded to direct measurement of SCC (DCC).
Udder half milk samples were collected once from dairy goats (n = 111), in five different farms in Northern and Central Sweden. Only clinically healthy animals were included in the study. All goats were in mid to late lactation at sampling. Milk samples were analyzed for SCC by CMT and DCC at the farm, and for bacterial growth at the laboratory.
Intramammary infection, defined as growth of udder pathogens, was found in 39 (18%) of the milk samples. No growth was found in 180 (81%) samples while 3 (1%) samples were contaminated. The most frequently isolated bacterial species was coagulase negative staphylococci (CNS) (72% of all isolates), followed by Staphylococcus aureus (23% of all isolates). Somatic cell count measured by DCC was strongly (p = 0.000) associated with bacterial growth. There was also a very strong association between CMT and bacterial growth. CMT 1 was associated with freedom of IMI while CMT ≥2 was associated with IMI. Indirect measurement of SCC by CMT was well correlated with SCC measured by DCC.
According to the results, SCC measured with CMT or DCC can predict udder infection in goats, and CMT can be used as a predictor of the SCC.
Contagious caprine pleuropneumonia (CCPP), one of the most serious and dramatic diseases of goats, is caused by Mycoplasma capricolum subsp. capripneumoniae (M. capripneumoniae). This organism is very difficult to isolate and to correctly identify. In a previous report we described a method for the rapid detection and identification of M. capripneumoniae. This method is based on a PCR system by which a segment of the 16S rRNA gene from all mycoplasmas of the M. mycoides cluster can be amplified. The PCR product is then analyzed by restriction enzyme cleavage for the identification of M. capripneumoniae DNA. This system has now been further evaluated with respect to specificity and diagnostic efficacy for the identification and direct detection of the organism in clinical material. Identification by restriction enzyme analysis of amplified DNA from mycoplasmas of the M. mycoides cluster was verified for 55 strains, among which were 15 strains of M. capripneumoniae. The PCR was applied to clinical samples from the nose, ear, pharynx, pleural fluid, and lung tissue containing M. capripneumoniae or other mycoplasmas. As expected, mycoplasmas belonging to the M. mycoides cluster could be detected by the PCR. Restriction enzyme analysis of the PCR products could then be applied for the identification of M. capripneumoniae. Clinical samples and cultures containing M. capripneumoniae were dried on filter paper, to try an easier sample transport method, and were tested by PCR. M. capripneumoniae DNA could be detected in the dried specimens, but the sensitivity of the PCR test was reduced.
Nine caprine and ovine mycoplasma strains, said to be indistinguishable serologically from Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides (the causative organism of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia; CBPP) were examined in mice by (1) a mycoplasmaemia test, and (2) a cross-protection test. Of the nine strains, two from goats belonged to a small colony (SC) type; four caprine and three ovine strains belonged to a large colony (LC) type.
The two SC strains — like a single SC strain examined in an earlier study — were indistinguishable from genuine M. mycoides subsp. mycoides as isolated from CBPP. They produced mycoplasmaemia readily. In a cross-protection test, the two SC strains and a CBPP strain immunized completely against each other.
Of the seven LC strains, six — like six LC strains examined in an earlier study — were easily distinguished from genuine M. mycoides subsp. mycoides; except for one that was not tested, all were shown to lack the ability to produce mycoplasmaemia readily. In cross-protection tests all six strains immunized partially but not completely against a CBPP strain.
The seventh LC strain (Mankefår 2833) was exceptional: it produced mycoplasmaemia readily, resembling the SC strains in this respect. Like other LC strains, in cross-protection tests it protected only partially against a CBPP strain. Strain Mankefår 2833 was isolated in ca. 1965 by Brack from a Barbary sheep (Ammotragus lervia) in a German zoo.
The ability of Mankefår 2833 to produce mycoplasmaemia enabled it to be used as a challenge strain in cross-protection tests. For the purpose of such tests the collection of nine mycoplasma strains referred to above was augmented with six LC strains from an earlier study. Partial but not complete protection against Mankefår 2833 was produced by two caprine SC strains, one CBPP strain, and nine LC strains. Three further LC strains gave protection that may have been as strong as that produced by the homologous strain, but confirmatory experiments are needed. A strain of M. mycoides subsp. capri gave no protection against Mankefår 2833.
Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP), caused by Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides, is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa. The current live vaccine T1/44 has limited efficacy and occasionally leads to severe side effects in the animals. A better understanding of the immune responses triggered by Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides and their role in disease progression will help to facilitate the design of a rational vaccine. Currently, knowledge of cytokines involved in immunity and immunopathology in CBPP is rather limited. The aim of this study was to characterize the in vivo plasma concentrations of the cytokines TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-4, IL-10 and the overall role of CD4+ T cells in the development of cytokine levels during a primary infection. Plasma cytokine concentrations in two groups of cattle (CD4+ T cell-depleted and non-depleted cattle) experimentally infected with Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides were measured and their relationship to the clinical outcomes was investigated.
Plasma cytokine concentrations varied between animals in each group. Depletion of CD4+ T cells did not induce significant changes in plasma levels of TNF-α, IL-4, and IL-10, suggesting a minor role of CD4+ T cells in regulation or production of the three cytokines during the time window of depletion (1-2 weeks post depletion). Unexpectedly, the IFN-γ concentrations were slightly, but statistically significantly higher in the depleted group (p < 0.05) between week three and four post infection. Three CD4+ T cell-depleted animals that experienced severe disease, had high levels of TNF-α and IFN-γ. Only one severely diseased non-depleted animal showed a high serum concentration of IL-4 post infection.
Comparison of most severely diseased animals, which had to be euthanized prior to the expected date, versus less severe diseased animals, irrespective of the depletion status, suggested that high TNF-α levels are correlated with more severe pathology in concomitance with high IFN-γ levels.
Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia; Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides; Cytokines; TNF-α; IFN-γ; IL-4; IL-10
Mycoplasma mycoides subspecies mycoides small colony (SC) is the aetiologic agent of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), a respiratory disease causing important losses in cattle production. The publication of the genome sequence of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC should facilitate the identification of putative virulence factors. However, real progress in the study of molecular mechanisms of pathogenicity also requires efficient molecular tools for gene inactivation. In the present study, we have developed a transposon-based approach for the random mutagenesis of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC. A PCR-based screening assay enabled the characterization of several mutants with knockouts of genes potentially involved in pathogenicity. The initial transposon was further improved by combining it with the transposon γδ TnpR/res recombination system to allow the production of unmarked mutations. Using this approach, we isolated a mutant free of antibiotic-resistance genes, in which the gene encoding the main lipoprotein LppQ was disrupted. The mutant was found to express only residual amounts of the truncated N-terminal end of LppQ. This approach opens the way to study virulence factors and pathogen-host interactions of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC and to develop new, genetically defined vaccine strains.
Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) is the most serious cattle disease in Africa, caused by Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides small-colony type (SC). CBPP control strategies currently rely on vaccination with a vaccine based on live attenuated strains of the organism. Recently, an lppQ− mutant of the existing vaccine strain T1/44 has been developed (Janis et al., 2008). This T1lppQ− mutant strain is devoid of lipoprotein LppQ, a potential virulence attribute of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC. It is designated as a potential live DIVA (Differentiating Infected from Vaccinated Animals) vaccine strain allowing both serological and etiological differentiation. The present paper reports on the validation of a control strategy for CBPP in cattle, whereby a TaqMan real-time PCR based on the lppQ gene has been developed for the direct detection of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC in ex vivo bronchoalveolar lavage fluids of cows and for the discrimination of wild type strains from the lppQ− mutant vaccine strain.
Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides SC; TaqMan real-time PCR; Bronchoalveolar lavage fluids; lppQ− mutant vaccine strain; DIVA
Mycoplasma sp. (strain F38) is the causative agent of contagious caprine pleuropneumonia, which is a goat disease of great global concern. Strain F38 belongs to the so-called "Mycoplasma mycoides cluster," and the members of this cluster have many biochemical and serological properties in common, which makes it difficult to differentiate between them by conventional methods. Their phylogenetic interrelationship are thus uncertain. The 16S rRNA gene of the rrnB operon from strain F38 was cloned and sequenced. The sequence was compared with the 16S rRNA sequences of related mycoplasmas, and phylogenetic trees were constructed by parsimony analysis. A three-way ambiguity among strain F38, Mycoplasma capricolum, and Mycoplasma sp. strain PG50 was observed in the trees. This observation is in agreement with a recent proposal to reclassify strain F38 and M. capricolum. A primer set was designed for in vitro amplification by PCR of a fragment of the 16S rRNA genes from the M. mycoides cluster. The amplimers of strain F38 could be distinguished easily from the corresponding amplimers from other members of the M. mycoides cluster by restriction enzyme analysis with PstI. This observation was utilized to design an identification system for strain F38. Part of the 16S rRNA gene of the rrnA operon from strain F38 was also cloned, and several sequence differences between the two rRNA operons were discovered, revealing microheterogeneity between the two 16S rRNA genes of this organism.
Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides of the large-colony (LC) type was isolated in pure culture on 5% sheep blood agar plates inoculated with lung specimens from a 4-month-old Toggenburg goat. The growth characteristics of this isolate, of four known LC types, and of five known small-colony (SC) types of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides were compared on 5% sheep blood agar at 2, 5, and 7 days. The SC types were not visible at 2 days and did not grow larger than 0.1 mm, whereas the LC types were visible in 2 days and increased in diameter over 7 days to between 0.4 and 0.7 mm. These results indicate that growth on 5% sheep blood agar can be used as an additional marker in differentiating LC and SC types of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides.
Strain Y3343 isolated from a goat with septicemia and polyarthritis was studied. The strain was virulent and induced septicemia, polyarthritis and coagulopathy in two goats. Limulus amebocyte lysate active material was present in plasma, but not in higher titre in inoculated goats. Sonicated mycoplasma material induced a dramatic somatic cell response in the mammary gland of cows and goats and marked clotting of the cows' milk, but it did not clot limulus amebocyte lysate or kill chick embryos. Phenol-water extract clotted limulus amebocyte lysate and induced somatic cell response in cows but not in goats. The phenol-water extract did not kill chick embryos, was not pyrogenic in rabbits or goats, and did not induce generalized Shwartzman reaction or change the leukocyte kinetics in rabbits. It therfore appears that the virulence mechanisms of strain Y3343 can not be explained on the basis of factors with strong endotoxin activity.