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1.  Serological testing of cattle experimentally infected with Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides Small Colony using four different tests reveals a variety of seroconversion patterns 
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.
PMCID: PMC3377920  PMID: 22098816
2.  Assessment of a novel multiplex real-time PCR assay for the detection of the CBPP agent Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides SC through experimental infection in cattle 
Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides SC is the pathogenic agent of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), the most important disease of cattle in Africa causing significant economic losses. The re-emergence of CBPP in Europe in the 1980s and 1990s illustrates that it is still a threat also to countries that have successfully eradicated the disease in the past. Nowadays, probe-based real-time PCR techniques are among the most advanced tools for a reliable identification and a sensitive detection of many pathogens, but only few protocols have been published so far for CBPP diagnosis. Therefore we developed a novel TaqMan®-based real-time PCR assay comprising the amplification of two independent targets (MSC_0136 and MSC_1046) and an internal exogenous amplification control in a multiplex reaction and evaluated its diagnostic performance with clinical samples.
The assays detected 49 MmmSC strains from diverse temporal and geographical origin, but did not amplify DNA from 82 isolates of 20 non-target species confirming a specificity of 100%. The detection limit was determined to be 10 fg DNA per reaction for the MSC_0136 assay and 100 fg per reaction for the MSC_1046 assay corresponding to 8 and 80 genome equivalents, respectively. The diagnostic performance of the assay was evaluated with clinical samples from 19 experimentally infected cattle and from 20 cattle without CBPP and compared to those of cultivation and a conventional PCR protocol. The two rt-PCR tests proved to be the most sensitive methods and identified all 19 infected animals. The different sample types used were not equally suitable for MmmSC detection. While 94.7% of lung samples from the infected cohort were positively tested in the MSC_0136 assay, only 81% of pulmonal lymph nodes, 31% of mediastinal lymph nodes and 25% of pleural fluid samples gave a positive result.
The developed multiplex rt-PCR assay is recommended as an efficient tool for rapid confirmation of a presumptive CBPP diagnosis in a well-equipped laboratory environment.
PMCID: PMC3170577  PMID: 21838878
3.  Isolation and Characterization of Intestinal Escherichia coli Clones from Wild Boars in Germany▿ †  
Our understanding of the composition of Escherichia coli populations in wild boars is very limited. In order to obtain insight into the E. coli microflora of wild boars, we studied E. coli isolates from the jejunums, ileums, and colons of 21 wild boars hunted in five geographic locations in Germany. Ten isolates per section were subjected to clonal determination using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. One representative isolate per clone was further investigated for virulence traits, phylogenetic affiliation, and antimicrobial susceptibility. Macrorestriction analysis of 620 isolates revealed a range of clone diversity among the sections and animals, with up to 9 and 16 different clones per section and animal, respectively. Most of the clones for a given animal were shared between two adjacent intestinal sections. The overall highest clonal diversity was observed within the colon. While the astA gene was present in a large number of clones, other virulence genes and hemolytic ability were detected only sporadically. Clones of all four ECOR groups dominated the intestinal sections. Phylogenetic analysis and the occurrence of virulence genes correlated with the isolation frequencies for clones. All E. coli clones from wild boars were susceptible to all antimicrobial agents tested. In conclusion, though several parameters (including an animal-specific and highly diverse E. coli clone composition, the simultaneous occurrence of single clones in two adjacent intestinal sections of a given animal, and a higher E. coli diversity in the large intestine than in the small intestine) of E. coli populations of wild boars were similar to those of previously described E. coli populations of conventionally reared domestic pigs, our data also indicate possible differences, as seen for the E. coli diversity in the large intestine, the occurrence of certain virulence genes and phylogenetic groups, and antimicrobial susceptibilities.
PMCID: PMC2632144  PMID: 19060173

Results 1-3 (3)