Molecular and in vitro characterization of a Babesia divergens-like agent from eastern cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus) on Nantucket Island

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Title: Molecular and in vitro characterization of a Babesia divergens-like agent from eastern cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus) on Nantucket Island
Author: Spencer, Angela M
Abstract: A Babesia sp . isolated from eastern cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus ) is morphologically similar and genetically identical , based on SSU rRNA gene comparisons , to two agents responsible for human babesiosis in North America and is closely related to the European parasite , Babesia divergens . The ribosomal RNA (rRNA ) internal transcribed spacer regions (ITS1 and ITS2 ) and the 5 .8S rRNA genes of Babesia isolates were sequenced and analyzed . The rRNA ITS region sequences of three isolates , one each from Kentucky , Massachusetts and Great Britain , considered Babesia divergens -like organisms , were compared to two Babesia microti isolates , two Babesia odocoilei isolates and a well defined Babesia divergens isolate . The two B . divergenslike isolates from North America shared identical rRNA ITS1 -5 .8S -ITS2 region sequences , and the clones of these isolates clustered into one clade in three phylogenetic analyses , suggesting that these isolates are conspecific . In vitro comparison of host erythrocyte specificity between the rabbit Babesia sp . and B . divergens was employed to discriminate between the two organisms and to determine the usefulness of in vitro techniques for Babesia sp . characterization . In vitro growth of the rabbit Babesia sp . was supported in human and cottontail rabbit erythrocytes , but not in bovine cells . Babesia divergens in vitro growth was supported in human and bovine erythrocytes , but not in cottontail rabbit cells . Morphological characteristics and size differences also distinguished the two parasites from one another . The erythrocyte specificity and parasite size differences reported in this study agree with previous in vivo results and validate the use of in vitro methods for characterization of Babesia species .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /4175
Date: 2006-10-30

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Molecular and in vitro characterization of a Babesia divergens-like agent from eastern cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus) on Nantucket Island. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /4175 .

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