Ehrlichia canis TRP36 diversity in naturally infected-dogs from an urban area of Colombia

Esteban Arroyave, Juan D. Rodas-González, Xiaofeng Zhang, Marcelo B. Labruna, María S. González, Jorge A. Fernández-Silva, Jere W. McBride

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Ehrlichia canis is the etiologic agent of a highly prevalent tick-borne disease, canine monocytic ehrlichiosis (CME). Four defined E. canis genotypes based on the trp36 gene sequences have been reported, three of them identified in North or South America. The diversity of E. canis has been investigated using genetic and serologic approaches based on distinct 36 kDa tandem repeat protein (trp36) gene sequences that have been reported. The main objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence of E. canis infection in dogs from Medellín, Colombia by PCR and determine the E. canis diversity using molecular and serologic approaches. Blood was collected from dogs (n = 300) with clinical signs of CME for PCR detection of E. canis 16S rRNA, dsb and trp36 DNA. Phylogenetic analysis of trp36 gene sequences was performed using MEGA. A serological evaluation was performed using immunofluorescence microscopy and ELISA with species-specific peptides from E. canis TRP19 and TRP36 (3 genotypes) and E. chaffeensis (TRP32). E. canis DNA (16S rRNA and/or dsb) was detected in 18 % (53/300) of dogs by PCR amplification. The trp36 gene was amplified and sequenced from 35/53 16S rRNA/dsb PCR positive samples revealing three genotypes: United States (US; n = 21), Costa Rica (CR; n = 11), and Brazil (BR; n = 3). Most dogs (33/35) with detectable trp36 DNA had anti-E. canis TRP19 and TRP36 peptide antibodies that corresponded to the genotype detected by PCR. Dogs that had antibodies to the TRP19 peptide (82/300; 38 %), also had antibodies to one or more genotype-specific TRP36 peptides. Based on TRP36 serology, the dogs exhibited highest frequency of infection with the US genogroup (US = 26), followed by the CR genogroup (CR = 19) and the BR genogroup (BR = 11). Notably, 26/53 trp36 PCR positive dogs had detectable antibodies to multiple E. canis genotypes (US/BR/CR = 8, BR/CR = 7, US/CR = 6 and US/BR = 5) suggesting coinfection or multiple sequential infections with different genotypes. Colombian dogs did not have antibodies to E. chaffeensis as determined by a TRP32 species-specific ELISA. Our results demonstrate the presence of three previously defined genotypes in North and South America in Colombian dogs (US, BR, CR). These results also demonstrate that TRP19 and TRP36 serology can provide valuable information regarding E. canis exposure and the potential genotype(s) involved in infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101367
JournalTicks and Tick-borne Diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2020


  • Canine monocytic ehrlichiosis
  • Colombia
  • Ehrlichia canis
  • Genotype
  • Tandem repeat protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases


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