Authors:Sándor Hornok, Alexandra Corduneanu, Jenő Kontschán, Katinka Bekő, Krisztina Szőke, Tamás Görföl, Miklós Gyuranecz and Attila D. Sándor
Babesia vesperuginis is the only piroplasm known to infect bats. Unlike most members of the genus Babesia, it is probably transmitted by a soft tick species (i.e. Argas vespertilionis). Recently, two studies have been conducted to clarify the phylogenetic status of this species, and both agreed on placing it into a basal position among Babesia sensu stricto (s.s.). However, several important groups of piroplasms were not included in the already reported phylogenetic trees of B. vesperuginis isolates. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to amplify an approx. 950-bp fragment of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (cox1) gene of B. vesperuginis from A. vespertilionis specimens, and to compare its sequences with those from other piroplasmid groups in a broader phylogenetic context. Sequence comparisons focusing on either 18S rRNA or cox1 genes, as well as phylogenetic analyses involving separate and concatenated 18S rRNA and cox1 sequences indicate that B. vesperuginis is more closely related to the phylogenetic group of Theileriidae than to Babesia s.s. In particular, B. vesperuginis clustered closest to Cytauxzoon felis and the ‘prototheilerid’ B. conradae. The results of this study highlight that B. vesperuginis is a unique and taxonomically important species, which should be included in future studies aimed at resolving the comprehensive phylogeny of Piroplasmida.
Authors:Sándor Hornok, Attila D. Sándor, Gábor FÖldvári, Angela M. IonicĂ, Cornelia Silaghi, Nóra Takács, Anna-margarita SchÖtta and Michiel Wijnveld
Recently, the occurrence of Ixodes (Pholeoixodes) kaiseri has been reported for the first time in several European countries, but data on the molecular analysis of this hard tick species are still lacking. Therefore, in this study DNA extracts of 28 I. kaiseri (collected from dogs and red foxes in Germany, Hungary and Romania) were screened with reverse line blot hybridisation (RLB), PCR and sequencing for the presence of 43 tick-borne pathogens or other members of their families from the categories of Anaplasmataceae, piroplasms, rickettsiae and borreliae. Rickettsia helvetica DNA was detected in one I. kaiseri female (from a red fox, Romania), for the first time in this tick species. Six ticks (from red foxes, Romania) contained the DNA of Babesia vulpes, also for the first time in the case of I. kaiseri. Molecular evidence of R. helvetica and B. vulpes in engorged I. kaiseri does not prove that this tick species is a vector of the above two pathogens, because they might have been taken up by the ticks from the blood of foxes. In addition, one I. kaiseri female (from a dog, Hungary) harboured Babesia sp. badger type-B, identified for the first time in Hungary and Central Europe (i.e. it has been reported previously from Western Europe and China). The latter finding can be explained by either the susceptibility of dogs to Babesia sp. badger type-B, or by transstadial survival of this piroplasm in I. kaiseri.
Authors:Krisztin Szőke, Attila D. Sándor, Sándor A. Boldogh, Tamás Görföl, Jan Votýpka, Nóra Takács, Péter Estók, Dávid Kováts, Alexandra Corduneanu, Viktor Molnár, Jenő Kontschán and Sándor Hornok
Kinetoplastids are flagellated protozoa, including principally free-living bodonids and exclusively parasitic trypanosomatids. In the most species-rich genus, Trypanosoma, more than thirty species were found to infect bats worldwide. Bat trypanosomes are also known to have played a significant role in the evolution of T. cruzi, a species with high veterinary medical significance. Although preliminary data attested the occurrence of bat trypanosomes in Hungary, these were never sought for with molecular methods. Therefore, amplification of an approx. 900-bp fragment of the 18S rRNA gene of kinetoplastids was attempted from 307 ixodid and 299 argasid ticks collected from bats, and from 207 cimicid bugs collected from or near bats in Hungary and Romania. Three samples, one per each bat ectoparasite group, were PCR positive. Sequencing revealed the presence of DNA from free-living bodonids (Bodo saltans and neobodonids), but no trypanosomes were detected. The most likely source of bodonid DNA detected here in engorged bat ectoparasites is the blood of their bat hosts. However, how bodonids were acquired by bats, can only be speculated. Bats are known to drink from freshwater bodies, i.e. the natural habitats of B. saltans and related species, allowing bats to ingest bodonids. Consequently, these results suggest that at least the DNA of bodonids might pass through the alimentary mucosa of bats into their circulation. The above findings highlight the importance of studying bats and other mammals for the occurrence of bodonids in their blood and excreta, with potential relevance to the evolution of free-living kinetoplastids towards parasitism.