Location: Animal Diseases Research
Project Number: 5348-32000-033-00
Start Date: Oct 20, 2011
End Date: Oct 19, 2016
Anaplasma marginale, the causative agent of anaplasmosis, is the most prevalent tick-borne pathogen of livestock worldwide. This bacterial pathogen causes a significant disease burden to cattle in the United States and is a barrier to trade. The tools currently available to control this disease are limited and rely on treatment of clinically affected animals and tick control. The work proposed here is designed to fill knowledge gaps required for development of more effective control strategies. In the proposed experiments we target two points of control, one aimed at preventing infection of the bovine host, and the other aimed at preventing tick transmission. Using a comparative approach, we will identify genetic markers of highly efficient tick transmission in A. marginale, thus allowing for the development of a vaccine targeting potential outbreak strains. Concurrently, we will identify and test conserved subdominant antigens for the ability to induce protection against homologous and heterologous challenge in cattle. Together these data will guide the development of an effective vaccine. Using a proteomics approach followed by RNAi experiments to knock-down specific gene function, we will identify the molecules unique to the tick that are required for A. marginale transmission. Identification of these molecules will lay the foundation for development of novel methods to block transmission of A. marginale at the level of the tick vector.