Detection and differentiation of ovine Theileria and Babesia by reverse line blotting in China.
A reverse line blot (RLB) assay was developed for detection and specific identification of the different ovine Theileria and Babesia parasites. In a polymerase chain reaction (PCR), the hypervariable region 4 (V4 region) of the 18S ribosomal DNA gene was amplified with a set of general primers specific for members of the genera Theileria and Babesia. Meanwhile, specific oligonucleotide probes were designed and bound on membrane. After one single-PCR amplification, the amplified fragment was hybridized against different generic and species-specific probes. It was able to detect four species, i.e., Babesia motasi (Chengde, Lintan, Ningxian, Tianzhu), Babesia sp. (Kashi), Theileria luwenshuni (Lintan, Madang, Ningxian), Theileria uilenbergi (Longde, Zhangjiachuan) as defined previously. All probes bound to their respective target sequence only; therefore, no cross-reaction was observed, resulting in clear recognition of either individual strains, species, or groups in normal positive tests. Meanwhile, no signal was observed when ovine genomic DNA and water were used as a control, demonstrating that the signals are due to the presence of parasite DNA in the samples. Furthermore, the sensitivity of RLB could be considerably enhanced to detect a parasitemia level between10(-3)% and 10(-8)%. Finally, 117 samples from field were tested with RLB, PCR, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The positive rate of RLB was higher than that of PCR and ELISA, and furthermore, RLB could determinate the species of piroplasms, the samples were infected with. Samples, 1,117, from five areas in Gannan Tibet Autonomous Region have been examined with RLB assay and compared with ELISA assay for corresponding samples. The results showed that the positive rate of RLB was higher than that of ELISA test obviously, and both T. luwenshuni and T. uilenbergi were widely distributed in these areas. RLB developed here could be used for differentiation of Babesia and Theileria infection and for epidemiological survey, which was difficult to achieve by classical methods. In conclusion, the RLB is a versatile technique for simultaneous detection and identification of all ovine piroplasms.