Unique macrophage and tick cell-specific protein expression from the p28/ p30-outer membrane protein multigene locus in Ehrlichia chaffeensis and Ehrlichia canis

Vijayakrishna Singu, Lalitha Peddireddi, Kamesh R. Sirigireddy, Chuanmin Cheng, Ulrike Munderloh, Roman R. Ganta

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Ehrlichia chaffeensis and Ehrlichia canis are tick-transmitted rickettsial pathogens that cause human and canine monocytic ehrlichiosis respectively. We tested the hypothesis that these pathogens express unique proteins in response to their growth in vertebrate and tick host cells and that this differential expression is similar in closely related Ehrlichia species. Evaluation of nine E. chaffeensis isolates and one E. canis isolate demonstrated that protein expression was host cell-dependent. The differentially expressed proteins included those from the p28/30-Omp multigene locus. E. chaffeensis and E. canis proteins expressed in infected macrophages were primarily the products of the p28-Omp 19 and 20 genes or their orthologues. In cultured tick cells, E. canis expressed only the p30-10 protein, an orthologue of the E. chaffeensis p28-Omp 14 protein which is the only protein expressed by E. chaffeensis propagated in cultured tick cells. The expressed Omp proteins were post-translationally modified to generate multiple molecular forms. E. chaffeensis gene expression from the p28/30-Omp locus was similar in tick cell lines derived from both vector (Amblyomma americanum) and non-vector (Ixodes scapularis) ticks. Differential expression of proteins within the p28/p30-Omp locus may therefore be vital for adaptation of Ehrlichia species to their dual host life cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1475-1487
Number of pages13
JournalCellular Microbiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006


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