Molecular epidemiology of bovine anaplasmosis with a particular focus in Mexico.
Bovine anaplasmosis, caused by the rickettsia Anaplasma marginale, has a worldwide distribution and is the cause of great economic losses in developing countries where it is highly endemic. Transmission is carried mainly by ixodid ticks: Dermacentor spp. and Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) spp. Mechanical transmission is important in disseminating the disease within and across herds. The relationship between the rickettsia, the host and the vector is complex. Several surface proteins (Msps) have been described with functions that span from adhesins towards the erythrocyte and tick cells to evasion of the immune system of the host through the generation of antigenic variants. Biologic transmission of A. marginale through Dermacentor ticks has been well studied but many questions are unresolved as to how this organism spreads within and across herds and little is known about the role Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) ticks play in transmission in the Americas. Mechanical transmission in the absence of ticks and lack of transmission through ticks are questions that need to be addressed. Phylogenetic studies of the rickettsia show wide antigenic and genetic mosaics which affects the design of new vaccines. In the present work we will discuss the molecular elements in the relationship between the rickettsia, the tick and the mammalian host associated to the distribution and persistence of the pathogen in nature.