Genome Analysis of the Human Erythrocyte Pathogen, Bartonella Bacilliformis


We are proposing to sequence B. bacilliformis to closure using the random shotgun strategy. Final assembly and gap closure will be aided by the availability of the closed B. quintana and B. henselae genomes. This should reduce difficulty of the physical gap closure process. Because B. bacilliformis differs from the sequenced Bartonella species at the species level, a closed genome sequence would be preferred to a draft sequence.


Bartonella bacilliformis, the agent of Carrion's disease, is an emerging, vector borne pathogen associated with endemic and epidemic disease in South America. It is closely related to Bartonella henselae and Bartonella quintana, which cause cat scratch disease and trench fever, respectively. While B. henselaeis is a zoonotic disease, no animal reservoirs have been identified for either B. quintanaor or B. bacilliformis. These human-specific pathogens have caused large epidemics in the past, with over a million troops infected with trench fever during World War I, and approximately 7000 workers killed in Peru in the 1870's by the hemolytic anemia of B. bacilliformis infection. B. bacilliformis is a gram-negative pleomorphic, flagellated coccobacillus transmitted to humans by sandflies of the genus Lutzomyia. Several species of Lutzomyia have been shown to transmit Carrion's disease and the genus is found in many areas of the world, including the U.S. Recent epidemics have occurred in regions of Peru visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists annually. Untreated hemolytic anemia of Carrion's disease has one of the highest case fatality rates of any bacterial infection (90%).


Laura Hendrix
Texas A&M University SHSC

Rekha Seshadri

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