UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
The data obtained to date in the parent grant have shown that A. phagocytophilum strains causing clinical disease in dogs and humans are indistinguishable by current methods. Similarly, horse and squirrel strains appear similar. However, strains infecting some ruminants and rodents appear to be different and not capable of infecting humans. The presence of multiple strains circulating in distinct ecological cycles could be contributing to incipient speciation of the diverse A. phagocytophilum strains. Our data from aim 1 and modeling from aim 4 suggest that genome sequencing (aim 2) should include the strains infecting dogs, ruminants, horses and sciurid reservoirs to verify the similarities and differences with human-infective strains of A. phagocytophilum more thoroughly at the whole genome level. The specific aim of the proposed administrative supplement is:
1) to sequence multiple genomes of ecologically interacting host-specific strains of A. phagocytophilum from rodent reservoir hosts and clinical hosts in areas of enzootic disease.
This aim is within the scope of the existing grant, to discover new genospecies of A. phagocytophilum within ecosystems including organisms with different host tropisms; sequence new A. phagocytophilum genomes; experimentally evaluate host-pathogen interactions in animal models and reservoir species; and model the emergence of A. phagocytophilum genospecies.