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Genome Report: Identification and Validation of Antigenic Proteins from Pajaroellobacter abortibovis Using De Novo Genome Sequence Assembly and Reverse Vaccinology.


Epizootic bovine abortion (EBA), or "foothill abortion," is the leading cause of beef cattle abortion in California and has also been reported in Nevada and Oregon. In the 1970s, the soft-shelled tick Ornithodoros coriaceus, or "pajaroello tick," was confirmed as the disease-transmitting vector. In 2005, a novel Deltaproteobacterium was discovered as the etiologic agent of EBA (aoEBA), recently named Pajaroellobacter abortibovis This organism cannot be grown in culture using traditional microbiological techniques; it can only be grown in experimentally-infected severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice. The objectives of this study were to perform a de novo genome assembly for P. abortibovis and identify and validate potential antigenic proteins as candidates for future recombinant vaccine development. DNA and RNA were extracted from spleen tissue collected from experimentally-infected SCID mice following exposure to P. abortibovis This combination of mouse and bacterial DNA was sequenced and aligned to the mouse genome. Mouse sequences were subtracted from the sequence pool and the remaining sequences were de novo assembled at 50x coverage into a 1.82 Mbp complete closed circular Deltaproteobacterial genome containing 2250 putative protein-coding sequences. Phylogenetic analysis of P. abortibovis predicts that this bacterium is most closely related to the organisms of the order Myxococcales, referred to as Myxobacteria. In silico prediction of vaccine candidates was performed using a reverse vaccinology approach resulting in the identification and ranking of the top 10 candidate proteins that are likely to be antigenic. Immunologic testing of these candidate proteins confirmed antigenicity of seven of the nine expressed protein candidates using serum from P. abortibovis immunized mice.

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