Isolation and Molecular Detection of Ehrlichia from Vertebrate Animals

Chuanmin Cheng1, Kamesh R. Sirigireddy1, Roman R. Ganta1

1 Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas
Publication Name:  Current Protocols in Microbiology
Unit Number:  Unit 3A.3
DOI:  10.1002/9780471729259.mc03a03s9
Online Posting Date:  May, 2008
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Abstract

Human monocytic ehrlichiosis (HME), caused by Ehrlichia chaffeensis, was first recognized in 1986. Infection with this pathogen can be fatal in immune compromised and elderly humans. E. chaffeensis can also infect dogs and several wild animals. The clinical symptoms of HME include fever, headache, malaise, myalgia, confusion, rash, lymphadenopathy, and nausea. White‐tailed deer serve as the major reservoir host for the natural maintenance of E. chaffeensis. E. canis is primarily responsible for the canine monocytic ehrlichiosis and is endemic throughout the world. It has a significant impact on the health of dogs. The isolation and growth of Ehrlichia species from vertebrate host samples is difficult and time consuming. In this unit, methods to recover E. chaffeensis and E. canis from infected blood samples collected from dogs, deer, and human patients are described. PCR and RT‐PCR methods for sensitive detection of Ehrlichia infection are also discussed. Curr. Protoc. Microbiol. 9:3A.3.1‐3A.3.16. © 2008 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Keywords: Ehrlichia isolation; animal blood; PCR; RT‐PCR; real‐time RT‐PCR; DNA isolation; RNA isolation

     
 
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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Basic Protocol 1: Isolation and Cultivation of E. chaffeensis from Human Blood Samples
  • Basic Protocol 2: Isolation and Cultivation of E. chaffeensis from Deer Blood Samples
  • Basic Protocol 3: Culture Isolation of E. chaffeensis or E. canis from Canine Blood
  • Basic Protocol 4: Recovery of Ehrlichia from Experimentally Infected Mouse Peritoneal Cells
  • Basic Protocol 5: Detect for the Presence of Ehrlichia by PCR
  • Support Protocol 1: Ehrlichia DNA Isolation by SDS/Proteinase K Method
  • Basic Protocol 6: RT‐PCR Assay for Detection of Ehrlichia
  • Basic Protocol 7: Triplex Real‐Time RT‐PCR for Quantitation of Ehrlichia
  • Support Protocol 2: Ehrlichia RNA Isolation
  • Reagents and Solutions
  • Commentary
  • Literature Cited
  • Figures
  • Tables
     
 
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Materials

Basic Protocol 1: Isolation and Cultivation of E. chaffeensis from Human Blood Samples

  Materials
  • Human blood sample in sterile blood collection tube containing EDTA
  • Hanks’ balanced salt solution (HBSS; without CaCl 2, MgCl 2, MgSO 4, or phenol red; appendix 2A)
  • Histopaque‐1083 (Sigma‐Aldrich)
  • Complete MEM medium (see recipe)
  • DH82 monolayer (∼60% confluent) in a 25‐cm2 tissue culture flask (unit 3.1)
  • 15‐ and 50‐ml centrifuge tubes
  • Pasteur pipets
  • 37°C, 5% CO 2 incubator
  • Additional reagents and equipment for DH82 monolayer culture and Cytospin slide preparation (unit 3.1)

Basic Protocol 2: Isolation and Cultivation of E. chaffeensis from Deer Blood Samples

  Materials
  • Heparinized deer blood samples infected with Ehrlichia chaffeensis
  • ACE lysing solution (see recipe)
  • Complete MEM medium (see recipe)
  • DH82 cells (∼60% confluent) in 25‐cm2 tissue culture flask (unit 3.1)
  • 50‐ml tubes
  • 37°C, 5% CO 2 incubator
  • Additional reagents and equipment for DH82 monolayer culture and Cytospin slide preparation (unit 3.1)

Basic Protocol 3: Culture Isolation of E. chaffeensis or E. canis from Canine Blood

  Materials
  • Ehrlichia‐infected dog blood in a sterile blood collection tube containing EDTA
  • Serofuge centrifuge (Becton Dickinson)
  • 37°C, 5% CO 2 incubator
  • Additional reagents and equipment for DH82 monolayer culture and Cytospin slide preparation (unit 3.1)

Basic Protocol 4: Recovery of Ehrlichia from Experimentally Infected Mouse Peritoneal Cells

  Materials
  • E. chaffeensis‐infected mice
  • Sterile PBS (see recipe), ice cold
  • 24‐well sterile culture plates
  • 37°C, 5% CO 2 incubator
  • Additional reagents and equipment for DH82 monolayer culture and Cytospin slide preparation (unit 3.1)

Basic Protocol 5: Detect for the Presence of Ehrlichia by PCR

  Materials
  • PCR kit (Invitrogen cat. no. 10966‐034) containing:
    • Platinum Taq DNA polymerase
    • 10× PCR buffer
    • 50 mM MgCl 2
  • PCR/RT‐PCR primers for E. chaffeensis and E. canis (Table 3.3.1)
  • 10 mM dNTPs
  • Nuclease‐free water
  • DNA template
  • 1% agarose gel containing 0.1 µg/ml ethidium bromide
  • 1‐kb plus DNA ladder (or any other comparable molecular weight DNA standards)
  • 0.2‐ml thin‐walled PCR/RT‐PCR tubes
  • GenAmp9700 PCR thermal cycler (Applied Biosystems)
    Table 3.0.1   MaterialsPrimers and Probes Used in PCR/RT‐PCR and Multiplex Ehrlichia Real‐Time RT‐PCR

    Primers and probes Sequence
    Primers for PCR/RT‐PCR
    E. chaffeensis‐forward primer 5′gcatacttggttataaata
    E. chaffeensis‐reverse primer 5′gtattaccgcggctgctggcac
    E. canis‐forward primer 5′cctctggctataggaaattg
    E. canis‐reverse primer 5′gtattaccgcggctgctggcac
    Primers and TaqMan probes
    Ehrlichia‐common forward primer 5′ctcagaacgaacgctgg
    Ehrlichia‐common reverse primer 5′catttctaatggctattcc
    E. chaffeensis TaqMan probe 5′TET/cttataaccttttggttataaataatgttag/TAMRA
    E. canis TaqMan probe 5′FAM/tatagcctctggctataggaaattgttag/TAMRA
    E. ewingii TaqMan probe 5′ROX/ctaaatagtctctgactatttagatagttgttag/BQH2

Support Protocol 1: Ehrlichia DNA Isolation by SDS/Proteinase K Method

  Materials
  • ACE lysing solution (see recipe)
  • Whole blood
  • DNA extraction buffer (see recipe)
  • 20 mg/ml proteinase K in 50 mM Tris·Cl, pH 7.5
  • Phenol, pH 8.0
  • 25:24:1 (v/v/v) phenol/chloroform/isoamyl alcohol
  • 24:1 (v/v) chloroform/isoamyl alcohol
  • 70% and 100% ethanol, ice cold
  • TE buffer (see recipe)
  • 1.7‐ml microcentrifuge tubes
  • Table top high‐speed microcentrifuge
  • 65°C water bath

Basic Protocol 6: RT‐PCR Assay for Detection of Ehrlichia

  Materials
  • SuperScript III, one‐step RT‐PCR system with Platinum Taq DNA polymerase and 2× buffer (Invitrogen cat. no. 11732‐020)
  • PCR/RT‐PCR primers for E. chaffeensis and E. canis (Table 3.3.1)
  • RNAsin (RNase inhibitor; Promega cat. no. N2515)
  • Nuclease‐free water
  • RNA template
  • 1.5% agarose gel containing 0.1 µg/ml ethidium bromide (Voytas, )
  • 1‐kb plus DNA ladder (or any other comparable molecular weight DNA standards)
  • 0.2‐ml thin‐walled PCR/RT‐PCR tubes
  • GenAmp9700 PCR thermal cycler (Applied Biosystems)

Basic Protocol 7: Triplex Real‐Time RT‐PCR for Quantitation of Ehrlichia

  Materials
  • SuperScript III, one step RT‐PCR system with Platinum Taq DNA polymerase and 2× buffer (Invitrogen cat. no. 11732‐020)
  • 10 mM dNTPs
  • Real‐time RT‐PCR primers and TaqMan probes for E. chaffeensis, E. canis, and E. ewingii (Table 3.3.1)
  • Nuclease‐free water
  • RNA (see protocol 9)
  • 1.7‐ml microcentrifuge tubes
  • PCR tubes for Smart Cycler (Cepheid cat. no. 11‐400‐3)
  • Smart Cycler real‐time PRC machine (Cepheid)

Support Protocol 2: Ehrlichia RNA Isolation

  Materials
  • Ehrlichia‐infected blood, tissue samples, or culture organisms
  • Tri‐reagent and Tri‐reagent BD (Sigma‐Aldrich) or similar reagents (available from other manufacturers)
  • TE buffer (see recipe) or nuclease‐free water
  • RNAsin (RNase inhibitor; Promega cat. no. N2515)
  • 1.7‐ml microcentrifuge tubes
  • Table‐top high‐speed microcentrifuge
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Figures

Videos

Literature Cited

Literature Cited
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