Replication and long-term persistence of bovine and human strains of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis within Acanthamoeba polyphaga

Mura, Manuela; Bull, Tim J.; Evans, Hugh; Sidi-Boumedine, Karim; McMinn, Liz; Rhodes, Glenn; Pickup, Roger; Hermon-Taylor, John. 2006 Replication and long-term persistence of bovine and human strains of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis within Acanthamoeba polyphaga. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 72 (1). 854-859. 10.1128/AEM.72.1.854-859.2006

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Free-living protists are ubiquitous in the environment and form a potential reservoir for the persistence of animal and human pathogens. Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis is the cause of Johne's disease, a systemic infection accompanied by chronic inflammation of the intestine that affects many animals, including primates. Most humans with Crohn's disease are infected with this chronic enteric pathogen. Subclinical infection with M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis is widespread in domestic livestock. Infected animals excrete large numbers of robust organisms into the environment, but little is known about their ability to replicate and persist in protists. In the present study we fed laboratory cultures of Acanthamoeba polyphaga with bovine and human strains of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis. Real-time PCR showed that the numbers of the pathogens fell over the first 4 to 8 days and recovered by 12 to 16 days. Encystment of the amoebic cultures after 4 weeks resulted in a 2-log reduction in the level of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis, which returned to the original level by 24 weeks. Extracts of resection samples of human gut from 39 patients undergoing abdominal surgery were fed to cultures of A. polyphaga. M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis detected by nested IS900 PCR with amplicon sequencing and visualized by IS900 in situ hybridization and auramine-rhodamine staining was found in cultures derived from 13 of the patients and was still present in the cultures after almost 4 years of incubation. Control cultures were negative. M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis has the potential for long-term persistence in environmental protists.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1128/AEM.72.1.854-859.2006
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biodiversity
CEH Sections: _ Ecological Processes in Freshwater & Soils
ISSN: 0099-2240
Format Availability: Electronic, Print
NORA Subject Terms: Biology and Microbiology
Date made live: 29 Jun 2007 13:45 +0 (UTC)

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