Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, the causative agent of Johne's disease, is able to dampen or distort immune responses at the mucosal sites and coexist with a massive infiltration of immune cells in the gastrointestinal tract. Knowledge of the mechanism by which M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis subverts the immune response at the mucosal level in cattle is important for the development of improved disease control strategies, including new vaccines and diagnostic tests. In this study, 38 cull cows from herds infected with M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis were divided into four groups, based on M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis culture from gut tissues and histopathological lesion scores. Cytokine gene expression and secretion from M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis sonicate-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) and mesenteric lymph node (MLN) cultures of the animals were compared. Antigen stimulation of MLN cells from the severely lesioned group resulted in significant upregulation of the mRNA expression of five cytokines, gamma interferon (IFN-γ), interleukin-10 (IL-10), IL-13, IL-17A, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), which have a diverse range of functions, while there was no significant upregulation of these cytokines by the other groups. There were major differences between the responses of the PBMC and MLN cultures, with higher levels of secreted IFN-γ released from the MLN cultures and, conversely, higher levels of IL-10 released from the PBMC cultures. The upregulation of all five cytokines from cells at the site of infection in the severely lesioned animals suggested a dysregulated immune response, contributing to a failure to clear infection in this group of animals.
Recent international developments in the area of infectious disease control and nontariff trade barriers, along with possible zoonotic concerns, have provoked a revival of interest in Johne’s disease in Canada and elsewhere. The bacterium causing Johne’s disease, Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis, is distributed worldwide and causes chronic granulomatous enteritis, also known as paratuberculosis, in domestic and exotic ruminants, including cattle. The subclinical form of this disease results in progressive weight loss, reduced milk production, lower slaughter value, and premature culling, with possible impacts on fertility and udder health. Eventually, infection can lead to the clinical form that manifests as chronic diarrhea, emaciation, debilitation, and eventual death. Currently, available tests to detect infected animals produce many false-negative results and some false-positives, particularly in subclinically infected animals, thus making their interpretation and utilization challenging in control programs.
The objective of this 2-part review is to critically review the literature about Johne’s disease in dairy cattle for bovine practitioners in Canada. Part I covers the clinical stages, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and prevalence of infection in Canada, while Part II discusses impacts, risk factors, and control programs relevant to Canadian dairy farms. By reviewing the scientific literature about Johne’s disease, control of the disease could be pursued through informed implementation of rational biosecurity efforts and the strategic use of testing and culling.
Control of Johne’s disease, caused by Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, has been difficult because of a lack of an effective vaccine. To address this problem we used targeted gene disruption to develop candidate mutants with impaired capacity to survive ex vivo and in vivo to test as a vaccine. We selected relA and pknG, genes known to be important virulence factors in Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium bovis, for initial studies. Deletion mutants were made in a wild type Map (K10) and its recombinant strain expressing the green fluorescent protein (K10-GFP). Comparison of survival in an ex vivo assay revealed deletion of either gene attenuated survival in monocyte-derived macrophages compared to survival of wild-type K10. In contrast, study in calves revealed survival in vivo was mainly affected by deletion of relA. Bacteria were detected in tissues from wild-type and the pknG mutant infected calves by bacterial culture and PCR at three months post infection. No bacteria were detected in tissues from calves infected with the relA mutant (P < 0.05). Flow cytometric analysis of the immune response to the wild-type K10-GFP and the mutant strains showed deletion of either gene did not affect their capacity to elicit a strong proliferative response to soluble antigen extract or live Map. Quantitative RT-PCR revealed genes encoding IFN-γ, IL-17, IL-22, T-bet, RORC, and granulysin were up-regulated in PBMC stimulated with live Map three months post infection compared to the response of PBMC pre-infection. A challenge study in kid goats showed deletion of pknG did not interfere with establishment of an infection. As in calves, deletion of relA attenuated survival in vivo. The mutant also elicited an immune response that limited colonization by challenge wild type Map. The findings show the relA mutant is a good candidate for development of a live attenuated vaccine for Johne’s disease.
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis; Johne’s disease; paratuberculosis; Crohn’s disease; live vaccine
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis is the causative agent of Johne's Disease, an economically important intestinal ailment of ruminants. Due to the considerable genetic and serologic cross-reactivity with closely related and ubiquitous members of the M. avium complex, a species-specific method for the serological diagnosis of Johne's disease is unavailable. Computational and PCR-based analysis of the complete genome sequence of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis led to the identification of 13 open reading frames with no identifiable homologs. One of these sequences is a putative insertion element present in six copies on the M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis genome. These novel M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis genes were cloned into Escherichia coli expression vectors, and nine were successfully expressed as recombinant fusion proteins. Five of these proteins were purified in sufficient amounts to allow immunoblot analyses of their reactivity with sera from naturally infected cattle as well as mice and rabbits exposed to M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis. Fusion proteins representing MAP0862, MAP3732c, and MAP2963c were recognized by nearly all of the sera tested, including those from cattle in the clinical stages of disease. Notably, further analysis of the protein encoded by MAP0862 showed that it reacted with sera from additional infected cattle but not with sera from uninfected control animals. The fusion product of MAP0860c did not react with any of the sera tested, while the remaining four proteins were variably recognized by sera from M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-infected cattle. Collectively, the results of this study demonstrate the utility of genomic data to identify potential diagnostic sequences.
Johne's disease in ruminants results in chronic enteritis caused by the pathogenic bacterium Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis. This study examined two M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis strains (JD3 and W), using different doses and routes of infection, to establish the optimal time postchallenge when predictable levels of infection, gut lesions, and clinical disease occur in a large proportion of sheep. While a small proportion (25%) of sheep challenged with a low-passage-number laboratory culture of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis (strain W) became infected, no infection was found in animals exposed to a high-passage-number culture isolate of strain W. In contrast, a primary tissue homogenate of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis (JD3) resulted in high (90%) infection rates and gut histopathology following oral or intratonsillar challenge. The optimal conditions necessary to produce Johne's disease involve oral inoculation of 3-month-old lambs with four doses of 5 × 108 CFU of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis isolated directly from the gut lymphatic tissues of clinically affected sheep. This resulted in consistent gut histopathology at 9 months and the onset of clinical disease by 11 months postchallenge.
Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) for the diagnosis of Johne's disease (JD), caused by Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, were developed using whole bacilli treated with formaldehyde (called WELISA) or surface antigens obtained by treatment of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis bacilli with formaldehyde and then brief sonication (called SELISA). ELISA plates were coated with either whole bacilli or sonicated antigens and tested for reactivity against serum obtained from JD-positive and JD-negative cattle or from calves experimentally inoculated with M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis, Mycobacterium avium subsp. avium, or Mycobacterium bovis. Because the initial results obtained from the WELISA and SELISA were similar, most of the subsequent experiments reported herein were performed using the SELISA method. To optimize the SELISA test, various concentrations (3.7 to 37%) of formaldehyde and intervals of sonication (2 to 300 s) were tested. With an increase in formaldehyde concentration and a decreased interval of sonication, there was a concomitant decrease in nonspecific binding by the SELISA. SELISAs prepared by treating M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis with 37% formaldehyde and then a 2-s burst of sonication produced the greatest difference (7×) between M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-negative and M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-positive serum samples. The diagnostic sensitivity and specificity for JD by the SELISA were greater than 95%. The SELISA showed subspecies-specific detection of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis infections in calves experimentally inoculated with M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis or other mycobacteria. Based on diagnostic sensitivity and specificity, the SELISA appears superior to the commercial ELISAs routinely used for the diagnosis of JD.
Johne's disease (JD), or paratuberculosis, caused by Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, is one of the most widespread and economically important diseases of livestock and wild ruminants worldwide. Control of JD could be accomplished by diagnosis and good animal husbandry, but this is currently not feasible because commercially available diagnostic tests have low sensitivity levels and are incapable of diagnosing prepatent infections. In this study, a highly sensitive and subspecies-specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was developed for the diagnosis of JD by using antigens extracted from the surface of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis. Nine different chemicals and various intervals of agitation by vortex were evaluated for their ability to extract the surface antigens. Various quantities of surface antigens per well in a 96-well microtiter plate were also tested. The greatest differences in distinguishing between JD-positive and JD-negative serum samples by ethanol vortex enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (EVELISA) were obtained with surface antigens dislodged from 50 μg/well of bacilli treated with 80% ethanol followed by a 30-second interval of agitation by vortex. The diagnostic specificity and sensitivity of the EVELISA were 97.4% and 100%, respectively. EVELISA plates that had been vacuum-sealed and then tested 7 weeks later (the longest interval tested) had diagnostic specificity and sensitivity rates of 96.9 and 100%, respectively. In a comparative study involving serum samples from 64 fecal culture-positive cattle, the EVELISA identified 96.6% of the low-level fecal shedders and 100% of the midlevel and high-level shedders, whereas the Biocor ELISA detected 13.7% of the low-level shedders, 25% of the mid-level shedders, and 96.2% of the high-level shedders. Thus, the EVELISA was substantially superior to the Biocor ELISA, especially in detecting low-level and midlevel shedders. The EVELISA may form the basis for a highly sensitive and subspecies-specific test for the diagnosis of JD.
Infection with Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis causes Johne's disease in cattle and is a serious problem for the dairy industry worldwide. Development of models to mimic aspects of Johne's disease remains an elusive goal because of the chronic nature of the disease. In this report, we describe a surgical approach employed to characterize the very early stages of infection of calves with M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis. To our surprise, strains of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis were able to traverse the intestinal tissues within 1 h of infection in order to colonize distant organs, such as the liver and lymph nodes. Both the ileum and the mesenteric lymph nodes were persistently infected for months following intestinal deposition of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis despite a lack of fecal shedding of mycobacteria. During the first 9 months of infection, humoral immune responses were not detected. Nonetheless, using flow cytometric analysis, we detected a significant change in the cells participating in the inflammatory responses of infected calves compared to cells in a control animal. Additionally, the levels of cytokines detected in both the ileum and the lymph nodes indicated that there were TH1-type-associated cellular responses but not TH2-type-associated humoral responses. Finally, surgical inoculation of a wild-type strain and a mutant M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis strain (with an inactivated gcpE gene) demonstrated the ability of the model which we developed to differentiate between the wild-type strain and a mutant strain of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis deficient in tissue colonization and invasion. Overall, novel insights into the early stages of Johne's disease were obtained, and a practical model of mycobacterial invasiveness was developed. A similar approach can be used for other enteric bacteria.
While many factors contribute to resistance and susceptibility to infectious disease, a major component is the genotype of the host and the way in which it is expressed. Johne’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease affecting ruminants and is caused by infection with Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP). We have previously identified red deer breeds (Cervus elaphus) that are resistant; have a low rate of MAP infection and do not progress to develop Johne’s disease. In contrast, susceptible breeds have a high rate of MAP infection as seen by seroconversion and progress to develop clinical Johne’s disease. The aim of this study was to determine if immunological differences exist between animals of resistant or susceptible breeds. Macrophage cultures were derived from the monocytes of deer genotypically defined as resistant or susceptible to the development of Johne’s disease. Following in vitro infection of the cells with MAP, the expression of candidate genes was assessed by quantitative PCR as well as infection rate and cell death rate. The results indicate that macrophages from susceptible animals show a significantly higher upregulation of inflammatory genes (iNOS, IL-1α, TNF-α and IL-23p19) than the macrophages from resistant animals. Cells from resistant animals had a higher rate of apoptosis at 24 hours post infection (hpi) compared to macrophages from susceptible animals. The excessive expression of inflammatory mRNA transcripts in susceptible animals could cause inefficient clearing of the mycobacterial organism and the establishment of disease. Controlled upregulation of inflammatory pathways coupled with programmed cell death in the macrophages of resistant animals may predispose the host to a protective immune response against this mycobacterial pathogen.
Part I of this 2-part review examined the clinical stages, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and epidemiology of Johne’s disease, providing information relevant to Canada, where available. In Part II, a critical review of the economic impacts of the disease, risk factors, and important control measures are presented to enable Canadian bovine practitioners to successfully implement control strategies and participate in control programs. In cattle positive by enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay, there is a 2.4 times increase in the risk of their being culled, and their lactational 305-day milk production is decreased by at least 370 kg. Reduced slaughter value and premature culling account for losses of CDN$1330 per year per infected 50-cow herd. Research has failed to show a consistent association between Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis test status and reduced fertility or risk of clinical or subclinical mastitis. Host level factors include age and level of exposure, along with source of exposure, such as manure, colostrum, or milk. Agent factors involve the dose of infectious agent and strains of bacteria. Environmental management factors influence the persistence of the bacteria and the level of contamination in the environment. Emphasizing a risk factor approach, various control strategies are reviewed, including a number of national control programs currently in place throughout the world, specifically Australia, The Netherlands, and the United States. By reviewing the scientific literature about Johne’s disease, control of the disease could be pursued through informed implementation of rational biosecurity efforts and the strategic use of testing and culling.
Johne's disease, caused by infection with Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, causes significant economic losses to the livestock farming industry. Improved investigative and diagnostic tools—necessary to understand disease processes and to identify subclinical infection—are much sought after. Here, we describe the production of single-chain antibodies with defined specificity for M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis surface proteins. Single-chain antibodies (scFv) were generated from sheep with Johne's disease by cloning heavy-chain and lambda light-chain variable regions and expressing these in fusion with gene III of filamentous phages. Two scFv clones (designated SurfS1.2 and SurfS2.2) were shown to be immunoreactive against M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis surface targets by flow cytometry, and immunoblotting identified specificity for a 34-kDa proteinase-susceptible determinant. Both antibodies were cross-reactive against Mycobacterium avium subsp. avium but nonreactive against Mycobacterium bovis or Mycobacterium phlei cells and were shown to be capable of enriching M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis cells by a factor of approximately 106-fold when employed in magnetic bead separation of mixed Mycobacterium sp. cultures. Further, magnetic bead separation using SurfS1.2 and SurfS2.2 was capable of isolating as few as 103 M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis cells from ovine fecal samples, indicating the diagnostic potential of these reagents. Finally, inclusion of SurfS1.2 or SurfS2.2 in in vitro broth culture with M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis indicated that surface binding activity did not impede bacterial growth, although colony clumping was prevented. These results are discussed in terms of the potential use of single-chain phage display monoclonal antibodies as novel diagnostic reagents.
Country lacks sensitive and indigenous diagnostic kits for the screening of goats and sheep against Johne’s disease. Therefore an indigenous ELISA kit was developed using protoplasmic antigen from native Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis ‘Bison Type’ strain of goat origin (Kit 1). In the present study, kit 1 and two commercial kits (kit 2 and 3) were evaluated with respect to ‘Gold Standard’ fecal culture in 71 animals (55 goats and 16 sheep). Kit 1 using indigenous antigen (protoplasmic antigen) was sensitive at very low concentration (0.1 μgm / well) as compared to purified commercial protoplasmic antigen (4 μgm / well) used in kit 2, in the Type 1 reactors (strong positive as positive). Screening of 71 animals by fecal culture detected 38.0% animals (goats-40.0%, sheep-31.2%) as positive (clinical shedders of bacilli) from these farm animals. Of the farm animals located at Central Institute for Research on Goats, herds of goat were endemic whereas, sheep flocks were comparatively resistant to Johne’s disease. The 29.5 and 61.9, 15.4 and 57.7 and 4.2 and 14.0% animals (goats and sheep) were in the category of sero-reactors type 1 and 2 of the ELISA kits 1, 2 and 3, respectively. In the type 1 sero-reactors, sensitivity and specificity of kit 1, 2 and 3 was 53.7 and 86.0, 17.8 and 86.0 and 3.5 and 94.7%, respectively. Indigenous ELISA test (kit 1) was significantly superior for the screening of goatherds and sheep flocks against JD as compared to commercial ELISA kits (Kit 2 and 3). In comparison to kit 2 and 3, kit 1 had highest sensitivity, comparable specificity and substantial to nearly perfect proportional agreement (Kappa Scores) with respect to ‘Gold standard’ fecal culture in goats and sheep. Disease being endemic in herds and flocks screened using ELISA kits, Type I sero-rectors had better correlation with fecal culture in comparison to Type II sero-reactors therefore, used for estimation of sero-prevalence. Newly developed Indigenous ELISA kit was simple, inexpensive, sensitive and reliable for screening of goats and sheep population against Johne’s disease. The study reports high prevalence of Johne’s disease in farm goatherds and sheep flocks, using sensitive tests (fecal culture and ELISA kit). Results of Type 1 reaction in kit 1 were optimally correlated with culture and were good for estimating the sero-prevalence. For controlling Johne’s disease in endemic herds initial removal of the animals in strong positive category (Tyep 1 reactors), may help to remove heavy shedders.
Johne’s disease; Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis; Protoplasmic antigen; Diagnosis; Fecal culture; ELISA kit
Johne's disease (JD) is a chronic, enteric disease in ruminants caused by Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP). Disease progression follows four distinct stages: silent, subclinical, clinical and advanced. Available diagnostic tests have poor sensitivity and cannot detect early stages of the infection; as a result, only animals in the clinical and advanced stages, which represent the tip of the ‘iceberg’, are identified through testing. The Iceberg Phenomenon is then applied to provide estimates for JD prevalence. For one animal in the advanced stage, it is assumed that there are one to two in the clinical stage, four to eight in the subclinical stage, and ten to fourteen in the silent stage. These ratios, however, are based on little evidence. To evaluate the ratios, we developed a deterministic ordinary differential equation model of JD transmission and disease progression dynamics. When duration periods associated with the natural course of the disease progression are used, the above ratios do not hold. The ratios used to estimate JD prevalence need to be further investigated.
Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (M. ap), the causative agent of Johne’s disease, infects many farmed ruminants, wild-life animals, and recently isolated from humans. To better understand the molecular pathogenesis of these infections, we analyzed the whole-genome sequences of several M. ap and M. avium subspecies avium (M. avium) isolates to gain insights into genomic diversity associated with variable hosts and environments. Using Next-generation sequencing technology, all six M. ap isolates showed a high percentage of similarity (98%) to the reference genome sequence of M. ap K-10 isolated from cattle. However, two M. avium isolates (DT 78 and Env 77) showed significant sequence diversity (only 87 and 40% similarity, respectively) compared to the reference strain M. avium 104, a reflection of the wide environmental niches of this group of mycobacteria. Within the M. ap isolates, genomic rearrangements (insertions/deletions) were not detected, and only unique single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were observed among M. ap isolates. While more of the SNPs (~100) in M. ap genomes were non-synonymous, a total of ~6,000 SNPs were detected among M. avium genomes, most of them were synonymous suggesting a differential selective pressure between M. ap and M. avium isolates. In addition, SNPs-based phylo-genomics had a enough discriminatory power to differentiate between isolates from different hosts but yet suggesting a bovine source of infection to other animals examined in this study. Interestingly, the human isolate (M. ap 4B) was closely related to a M. ap isolate from a dairy facility, suggesting a common source of infection. Overall, the identified phylo-genomes further supported the idea of a common ancestor to both M. ap and M. avium isolates. Genome-wide analysis described here could provide a strong foundation for a population genetic structure that could be useful for the analysis of mycobacterial evolution and for the tracking of Johne’s disease transmission among animals.
Mycobacteria; paratuberculosis; Johne’s disease; whole-genome sequencing; genomics; pathogenesis
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis is the causative agent of Johne's disease in cattle and may have implications for human health. Establishment of chronic infection by M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis depends on its subversion of host immune responses. This includes blocking the ability of infected macrophages to be activated by gamma interferon (IFN-γ) for clearance of this intracellular pathogen. To define the mechanism by which M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis subverts this critical host cell function, patterns of signal transduction to IFN-γ stimulation of uninfected and M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-infected bovine monocytes were determined through bovine-specific peptide arrays for kinome analysis. Pathway analysis of the kinome data indicated activation of the JAK-STAT pathway, a hallmark of IFN-γ signaling, in uninfected monocytes. In contrast, IFN-γ stimulation of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-infected monocytes failed to induce patterns of peptide phosphorylation consistent with JAK-STAT activation. The inability of IFN-γ to induce differential phosphorylation of peptides corresponding to early JAK-STAT intermediates in infected monocytes indicates that M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis blocks responsiveness at, or near, the IFN-γ receptor. Consistent with this hypothesis, increased expression of negative regulators of the IFN-γ receptors SOCS1 and SOCS3 as well as decreased expression of IFN-γ receptor chains 1 and 2 is observed in M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-infected monocytes. These patterns of expression are functionally consistent with the kinome data and offer a mechanistic explanation for this critical M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis behavior. Understanding this mechanism may contribute to the rational design of more effective vaccines and/or therapeutics for Johne's disease.
Johne's disease is a chronic enteritis of ruminants associated with enormous worldwide economic losses for the dairy cow- and goat-rearing industries. Management limitations and eradication programs for this disease have been hampered by the lack of a simple and specific diagnostic test for the detection of subclinical cases. We used a recombinant clone expressing a 35,000-molecular-weight Mycobacterium paratuberculosis antigen (p35 antigen) from a previously constructed expression library of M. paratuberculosis in Escherichia coli. The DNA fragment encoding the p35 gene hybridized only to DNA from Mycobacterium avium complex, but not to DNAs from other mycobacteria and nonmycobacterial organisms. The seroreactivity of p35 was evaluated by immunoblotting against 57 reference serum samples obtained from infected and uninfected animals. p35 was recognized by sera from 100% of animals with advanced Johne's disease (clinical stage) (12 cattle, 2 goats, and 2 sheep) and by sera from 75% of 20 cattle with early infection (subclinical stage). None of the sera from 15 M. paratuberculosis-free cows, 3 Mycobacterium bovis BCG-infected tuberculous cattle, or 3 cows artificially inoculated with multiple doses of viable M. paratuberculosis reacted with p35. The overall sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value were 86, 100, 100, and 75%, respectively. The accuracy of p35 immunoblotting was superior to those of commercially available diagnostic tests for Johne's disease. These results suggest that the p35 recombinant protein has potential for use in the serodiagnosis of animals with Johne's disease at all stages of infection. The DNA fragment encoding p35 may also serve as a probe for identification of M. avium complex infection.
Johnes disease (JD), caused by Mycobacterium avium subsp paratuberculosis (MAP), occurs worldwide as chronic granulomatous enteritis of domestic and wild ruminants. To develop a cost effective vaccine, in a previous study we constructed an attenuated Salmonella strain that expressed a fusion product made up of partial fragments of MAP antigens (Ag85A, Ag85B and SOD) that imparted protection against challenge in a mouse model. In the current study we evaluated the differential immune response and protective efficacy of the Sal-Ag vaccine against challenge in a goat model as compared to the live attenuated vaccine MAP316F. PBMCs from goats vaccinated with Sal-Ag and challenged with MAP generated significantly lower levels of IFN-γ, following in vitro stimulation with either Antigen-mix or PPD jhonin, than PBMC from MAP316F vaccinated animals. Flow cytometric analysis showed the increase in IFN-γ correlated with a significantly higher level of proliferation of CD4, CD8 and γδT cells and an increased expression of CD25 and CD45R0 in MAP316F vaccinated animals as compared to control animals. Evaluation of a range of cytokines involved in Th1, Th2, Treg, and Th17 immune responses by quantitative PCR showed low levels of expression of Th1 (IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-12) and proinflammatory cytokines (IL-6, IL-8, IL-18, TNF-α) in the Sal-Ag immunized group. Significant levels of Th2 and anti-inflammatory cytokines transcripts (IL-4, IL-10, IL-13, TGF-β) were expressed but their level was low and with a pattern similar to the control group. Over all, Sal-Ag vaccine imparted partial protection that limited colonization in tissues of some animals upon challenge with wild type MAP but not to the level achieved with MAP316F. In conclusion, the data indicates that Sal-Ag vaccine induced only a low level of protective immunity that failed to limit the colonization of MAP in infected animals. Hence the Sal-Ag vaccine needs further refinement to increase its efficacy.
A naturally occurring gastrointestinal disease, primarily of ruminants (Johne disease), is a chronic debilitating disease that is caused by Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP). MAP infection occurs primarily in utero and in newborns. Outside our Dietzia probiotic treatment, there are no preventive/curative therapies for bovine paratuberculosis. Interestingly, MAP is at the center of controversy as to its role in (cause of) Crohn disease (CD) and more recently, its role in diabetes, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); the latter two, like CD, are considered to be a result of chronic intestinal inflammation. Treatments, both conventional and biologic agents, which induce and maintain remission are directed at curtailing processes that are an intricate part of inflammation. Most possess side effects of varying severity, lose therapeutic value, and more importantly, none routinely result in prevention and/or cures. Based on (a) similarities of Johne disease and Crohn disease, (b) a report that Dietzia inhibited growth of MAP under specific culture conditions, and (c) findings that Dietzia when used as a probiotic, (i) was therapeutic for adult bovine paratuberculosis, and (ii) prevented development of disease in MAP-infected calves, the goal of the present investigations was to design protocols that have applicability for IBD patients. Dietzia was found safe for cattle of all ages and for normal and immunodeficient mice. The results strongly warrant clinical evaluation as a probiotic, in combination with/without dexamethasone.
Bovine Johne disease; Dietzia probiotic; Mycobacterium avium subsp. Paratuberculosis (MAP); idiopathic inflammatory bowel diseases (IIBD); ulcerative colitis; Crohn; diarrhea; therapy
Paratuberculosis (Johne’s disease) is a fatal disease of ruminants for which no effective treatment is available. Presently, no drugs against Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (M. paratuberculosis), the causative agent of Johne’s disease, are approved for use in livestock. Additionally, M. paratuberculosis has been linked to a human chronic granulomatous ileitis (Crohn’s disease). To assist in the evaluation of antimicrobial agents with potential activity against M. paratuberculosis, we have developed a firefly luciferase-based assay for the determination of drug susceptibilities. The microorganism used was M. paratuberculosis K-10(pYUB180), a clinical isolate carrying a plasmid with the firefly luciferase gene. The MICs determined by the broth macrodilution method were as follows: amikacin, 2 μg/ml; Bay y 3118, 0.015 μg/ml; clarithromycin, 1.25 μg/ml; d-cycloserine, 25 μg/ml; ethambutol, 20 μg/ml; and rifabutin, 0.5 μg/ml. The strain was resistant to isoniazid and kanamycin. The results obtained by the luciferase assay were identical or fell within 1 doubling dilution. These results suggest that a combination of amikacin, clarithromycin, and rifabutin may be the most efficacious therapy for the treatment of M. paratuberculosis infections and that the use of fluoroquinolone class of antibiotics deserves further consideration. We demonstrate that the luciferase drug susceptibility assay is reliable for M. paratuberculosis and gives results within 7 days, whereas the broth macrodilution method requires 14 days.
A survey was conducted to assess the beliefs of veterinarians on Johne’s disease (JD) and their attitudes towards the Canadian, risk assessment based, JD prevention program. The veterinarians surveyed believed Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis may have zoonotic potential, liked the risk assessment based program, and thought it could lead to the prevention of other on-farm diseases.
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis causes Johne's disease, a systemic infection and chronic inflammation of the intestine that affects many species, including primates. Infection is widespread in livestock, and human populations are exposed. Johne's disease is associated with immune dysregulation, with involvement of the enteric nervous system overlapping with features of irritable bowel syndrome in humans. The present study was designed to look for an association between Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis infection and irritable bowel syndrome. Mucosal biopsy specimens from the ileum and the ascending and descending colon were obtained from patients with irritable bowel syndrome attending the University of Sassari, Sassari, Sardinia, Italy. Crohn's disease and healthy control groups were also included. Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis was detected by IS900 PCR with amplicon sequencing. Data on the potential risk factors for human exposure to these pathogens and on isolates from Sardinian dairy sheep were also obtained. Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis was detected in 15 of 20 (75%) patients with irritable bowel syndrome, 3 of 20 (15%) healthy controls, and 20 of 23 (87%) people with Crohn's disease (P = 0.0003 for irritable bowel syndrome patients versus healthy controls and P = 0.0000 for Crohn's disease patients versus healthy controls). One subject in each group had a conserved single-nucleotide polymorphism at position 247 of IS900 that was also found in isolates from seven of eight dairy sheep. There was a significant association (P = 0.0018) between Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis infection and the consumption of hand-made cheese. Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis is a candidate pathogen in the causation of a proportion of cases of irritable bowel syndrome as well as in Crohn's disease.
The objective of this study was to describe the distribution of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) in the environment of infected dairy farms over time. Johne’s disease (JD) prevalence was monitored annually in 7 Michigan dairy herds. Environmental samples were collected bi-annually and cultured for MAP. Of 731 environmental samples that were cultured, 81 (11%) were positive. The lactating cow floor and manure storage areas were the areas most commonly contaminated, representing 30% and 33% of positive samples, respectively. When herd prevalence was > 2%, MAP was cultured from the lactating cow floor and/or manure storage area 75% of the time. When herd prevalence was ≤ 2%, MAP was never cultured from samples collected. For every 1 unit increase in number of positive environmental samples, within herd JD prevalence increased 1.62%. Environmental contamination with MAP is consistent over time on infected dairy farms, and management practices to reduce environmental contamination are warranted.
Paratuberculosis (Johne's disease), an endemic mycobacteriosis of cattle that is caused by Mycobacterium paratuberculosis, is characterized by incoercible diarrhea and fecal shedding of bacteria. The present work aimed at developing a specific serological test for this disease. We have recently shown that a 34-kDa protein belonging to the major antigen complex A36 of M. paratuberculosis is immunodominant and contains epitopes specific with respect to all mycobacteria tested, including Mycobacterium bovis and the closely related species Mycobacterium avium. From a lambda gt11 genomic library of M. paratuberculosis, three portions of the gene coding for this 34-kDa protein have been isolated. Two of them expressed cross-reacting mycobacterial epitopes. One portion (in clone a362) expressed a polypeptide which cross-reacted with all tested M. paratuberculosis strains but not with 20 other bacteria tested, including many strains of the M. avium-Mycobacterium intracellulare-Mycobacterium scrofulaceum group. The occurrence at the M. paratuberculosis surface of epitopes corresponding to the a362 polypeptide was shown by immune electron microscopy. The recombinant a362 polypeptide was used as reagent for an enzyme-linked immunoassay for paratuberculosis. This assay correctly diagnosed all the tested blood samples from infected cattle at all stages of the disease.
Currently, paratuberculosis vaccines are comprised of crude whole-cell preparations of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis. Although effective in reducing clinical disease and fecal shedding, these vaccines have severe disadvantages as well, including seroconversion of vaccinated animals and granulomatous lesions at the site of vaccination. DNA vaccines can offer an alternative approach that may be safer and elicit more protective responses. In an effort to identify protective M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis sequences, a genomic DNA expression library was generated and subdivided into pools of clones (∼1,500 clones/pool). The clone pools were evaluated to determine DNA vaccine efficacy by immunizing mice via gene gun delivery and challenging them with live, virulent M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis. Four clone pools resulted in a significant reduction in the amount of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis recovered from mouse tissues compared to mice immunized with other clone pools and nonvaccinated, infected control mice. One of the protective clone pools was further partitioned into 10 clone arrays of 108 clones each, and four clone arrays provided significant protection from both spleen and mesenteric lymph node colonization by M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis. The nucleotide sequence of each clone present in the protective pools was determined, and coding region functions were predicted by computer analysis. Comparison of the protective clone array sequences implicated 26 antigens that may be responsible for protection in mice. This study is the first study to demonstrate protection against M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis infection with expression library immunization.
The protein encoded by MAP1272c has been shown to be an antigen of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis that contains an NlpC/P60 superfamily domain found in lipoproteins or integral membrane proteins. Proteins containing this domain have diverse enzymatic functions that include peptidases, amidases, and acetyltransferases. The NlpC protein was examined in comparison to over 100 recombinant proteins and showed the strongest antigenicity when analyzed with sera from cattle with Johne's disease. To further localize the immunogenicity of NlpC, recombinant proteins representing defined regions were expressed and evaluated with sera from cattle with Johne's disease. The region from amino acids 74 to 279 was shown to be the most immunogenic. This fragment was also evaluated against a commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Two monoclonal antibodies were produced in mice immunized with the full-length protein, and each recognized a distinct epitope. These antibodies cross-reacted with proteins from other mycobacterial species and demonstrated variable sizes of the proteins expressed from these subspecies. Both antibodies were further analyzed, and their interaction with MAP1272c and MAP1204 was characterized by a solution-based, luminescent binding assay. These tools provide additional means to study a strong antigen of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis.