Examining the vector-host-pathogen interface with quantitative molecular tools

Jason E. Comer, Ellen A. Lorange, B. Joseph Hinnebusch

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


We developed PCR assays to detect and quantitate Yersinia pestis, the bacterial agent of plague, in flea vector and mammalian host tissues. Bacterial numbers in fleas, fleabite sites, and infected lymph nodes were determined using real-time PCR with primers and probes for a gene target on a multi-copy plasmid specific to Y. pestis. Tissue-matched standard curves used to determine absolute bacterial numbers in unknown samples were linear over at least five orders of magnitude. The methods were applied to studies of transmission of Y. pestis by the rat flea Xenopsylla cheopis, but should be generally useful to investigate the transmission dynamics of any arthropod-borne disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBacterial Pathogenesis - Methods and Protocols
Number of pages9
StatePublished - Aug 31 2007
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745


  • Arthropod-borne disease
  • Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction
  • Vector competence
  • Vector-borne transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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