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Cabezas-Cruz, Alejandro; Passos, Lygia M. F.; Lis, Katarzyna; Kenneil, Rachel; Valdés, James J.; Ferrolho, Joana; Tonk, Miray; Pohl, Anna E.; Grubhoffer, Libor; Zweygarth, Erich; Shkap, Varda; Ribeiro, Mucio F. B.; Estrada-Peña, Agustín; Kocan, Katherine M. und de la Fuente, José (2013): Functional and Immunological Relevance of Anaplasma marginale Major Surface Protein 1a Sequence and Structural Analysis.
In: PLOS ONE 8(6), e65243




Bovine anaplasmosis is caused by cattle infection with the tick-borne bacterium, Anaplasma marginale. The major surface protein 1a (MSP1a) has been used as a genetic marker for identifying A. marginale strains based on N-terminal tandem repeats and a 5'-UTR microsatellite located in the msp1a gene. The MSP1a tandem repeats contain immune relevant elements and functional domains that bind to bovine erythrocytes and tick cells, thus providing information about the evolution of host-pathogen and vector-pathogen interactions. Here we propose one nomenclature for A. marginale strain classification based on MSP1a. All tandem repeats among A. marginale strains were classified and the amino acid variability/frequency in each position was determined. The sequence variation at immunodominant B cell epitopes was determined and the secondary (2D) structure of the tandem repeats was modeled. A total of 224 different strains of A. marginale were classified, showing 11 genotypes based on the 5'-UTR microsatellite and 193 different tandem repeats with high amino acid variability per position. Our results showed phylogenetic correlation between MSP1a sequence, secondary structure, B-cell epitope composition and tick transmissibility of A. marginale strains. The analysis of MSP1a sequences provides relevant information about the biology of A. marginale to design vaccines with a cross-protective capacity based on MSP1a B-cell epitopes.