Ehrlichia Comparative Geonomics

PLoS Genet. 2006 February; 2(2): e21.

Published online 2006 February 17. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.0020021.

PMCID: PMC1366493

Copyright : © 2006 Dunning Hotopp. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Comparative Genomics of Emerging Human Ehrlichiosis Agents

Julie C. Dunning Hotopp,1* Mingqun Lin,2 Ramana Madupu,1Jonathan Crabtree,1 Samuel V Angiuoli,1 Jonathan Eisen,1Rekha Seshadri,1 Qinghu Ren,1 Martin Wu,1 Teresa R Utterback,3 Shannon Smith,3 Matthew Lewis,3 Hoda Khouri,1Chunbin Zhang,2 Hua Niu,2 Quan Lin,2¤a Norio Ohashi,2¤b Ning Zhi,2¤c William Nelson,1 Lauren M Brinkac,1 Robert J Dodson,1M. J Rosovitz,1 Jaideep Sundaram,1 Sean C Daugherty,1 Tanja Davidsen,1 Anthony S Durkin,1 Michelle Gwinn,1 Daniel H Haft,1Jeremy D Selengut,1 Steven A Sullivan,1 Nikhat Zafar,1 Liwei Zhou,1 Faiza Benahmed,1 Heather Forberger,1 Rebecca Halpin,1 Stephanie Mulligan,1¤d Jeffrey Robinson,1 Owen White,1 Yasuko Rikihisa,2 and Hervé Tettelin1

1 The Institute for Genomic Research, Rockville, Maryland, United States of America

2 Department of Veterinary Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, United States of America

3 J. Craig Venter Joint Technology Center, Rockville, Maryland, United States of America

Paul M. Richardson, Editor

The US DoE Joint Genome Institute, United States of America

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:

¤a Current address: Developmental and Regenerative Neurobiology Program, Department of Neurology, Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, Georgia, United States of America

¤b Current address: Laboratory of Environmental Microbiology, Institute for Environmental Sciences, Suruga, Shizuoka, Japan

¤c Current address: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America

¤d Current address: Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, Virginia, United States of America

Received October 20, 2005; Accepted January 9, 2006.

This article has been corrected. See PLoS Genet. 2006 December 29; 2(12): e213.

This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.


Anaplasma (formerly Ehrlichia) phagocytophilum, Ehrlichia chaffeensis,and Neorickettsia (formerly Ehrlichia) sennetsu are intracellular vector-borne pathogens that cause human ehrlichiosis, an emerging infectious disease.

We present the complete genome sequences of these organisms along with comparisons to other organisms in the Rickettsiales order. Ehrlichia spp. and Anaplasma spp. display a unique large expansion of immunodominant outer membrane proteins facilitating antigenic variation.

All Rickettsiales have a diminished ability to synthesize amino acids compared to their closest free-living relatives. Unlike members of the Rickettsiaceae family, these pathogenic Anaplasmataceae are capable of making all major vitamins, cofactors, and nucleotides, which could confer a beneficial role in the invertebrate vector or the vertebrate host.

Further analysis identified proteins potentially involved in vacuole confinement of the Anaplasmataceae, a life cycle involving a hematophagous vector, vertebrate pathogenesis, human pathogenesis, and lack of transovarial transmission. These discoveries provide significant insights into the biology of these obligate intracellular pathogens.

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