Association of Bartonella species with wild and synanthropic rodents in different Brazilian biomes
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Bartonella spp. comprise an ecologically successful group of microorganisms that infect erythrocytes and have adapted to different hosts, which include a wide range of mammals, besides humans. Rodents are reservoirs of about two-thirds of Bartonella spp. described to date; and some of them have been implicated as causative agents of human diseases. In our study, we performed molecular and phylogenetic analyses of Bartonella spp. infecting wild rodents from five different Brazilian biomes. In order to characterize the genetic diversity of Bartonella spp., we performed a robust analysis based on three target genes, followed by sequencing, Bayesian inference, and maximum likelihood analysis. Bartonella spp. were detected in 25.6% (117/457) of rodent spleen samples analyzed, and this occurrence varied among different biomes. The diversity analysis of gltA sequences showed the presence of 15 different haplotypes. Analysis of the phylogenetic relationship of gltA sequences performed by Bayesian inference and maximum likelihood showed that the Bartonella species detected in rodents from Brazil was closely related to the phylogenetic group A detected in other cricetid rodents from North America, probably constituting only one species. Last, the Bartonella species genogroup identified in the present study formed a monophyletic group that included Bartonella samples from seven different rodent species distributed in three distinct biomes. In conclusion, our study showed that the occurrence of Bartonella bacteria in rodents is much more frequent and widespread than previously recognized.
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