Development of a p28-based PCR assay for Ehrlichia chaffeensis

Wagner E. R., Bremer W. G., Rikihisa Y., Ewing S., Needham G. R., Unver A., ...More

Molecular and Cellular Probes, vol.18, no.2, pp.111-116, 2004 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 18 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.mcp.2003.10.002
  • Journal Name: Molecular and Cellular Probes
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.111-116
  • Keywords: Ehrlichia chaffeensis, Human monocytic ehrlichiosis, PCR assay
  • Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University Affiliated: No


Detection of Ehrlichia chaffeensis is necessary to study interactions between the parasite and its vertebrate and invertebrate hosts. The purpose of this study was to develop a sensitive, specific PCR assay for E. chaffeensis based on the outer membrane protein gene, p28. Candidate primer sets were identified and ranked based on annealing scores, similarities to three major p28 sequence clusters, dissimilarity to E. canis p30, an ortholog of p28, and the proximities of flanking primer sequences for nested PCR. The relative sensitivities of five optimized single-step and two nested PCR assays were determined, and the most sensitive assay was found to be a single-step PCR that was as much as 1000-fold more sensitive than a standard 16S rDNA-based nested PCR assay. This p28-based PCR assay amplified the target amplicon from isolates representative of all three major clusters of known p28 sequences, and this assay did not amplify template prepared from either of the two species most closely related to E. chaffeensis, E. canis and E. muris. These results indicate that this sensitive, specific and isolate-universal single-step PCR assay will be a useful tool in characterizing the transmission of this important zoonotic pathogen. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.