First isolation of Rickettsia amblyommatis from Amblyomma mixtum in Colombia

Jenny J. Chaparro-Gutiérrez, Leidy Y. Acevedo-Gutiérrez, Nicole L. Mendell, Laura N. Robayo-Sánchez, Arlex Rodríguez-Durán, Jesús A. Cortés-Vecino, Diana Fernández, Alejandro Ramírez-Hernández, Donald H. Bouyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Rickettsiae are obligate intracellular Gram-negative bacteria that are the causative agent of rickettsioses and are spread to vertebrate hosts by arthropods. There are no previous reports of isolation of Rickettsia amblyommatis for Colombia. Methods: A convenience sampling was executed in three departments in Colombia for direct collection of adult ticks on domestic animals or over vegetation. Ticks were screened for the presence of Rickettsia spp. by real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) amplifying the citrate synthase gene (gltA), and the positive sample was processed for isolation and further molecular characterization by conventional PCR. The absolute and relative frequencies were calculated for several tick species variables. All products from conventional PCR were further purified and sequenced by the Sanger technique. Representative sequences of 18 Rickettsia species were downloaded from GenBank. Consensus phylogenetic trees were constructed for the gltA, ompB, ompA, and htrA genes with 1000 replicates, calculating bootstrap values through the maximum likelihood method and the generalized time reversible substitution model in the MEGA 7.0 software program. Results: One female Amblyomma mixtum collected on vegetation was amplified by qPCR (gltA), indicating a frequency of 1.6% (1/61) for Rickettsia spp. infection. Sequence analysis of a rickettsial isolate from this tick in BLASTn showed 100% identity with gltA (340 base pairs [bp]), 99.87% for ompB (782 bp), 98.99% for htrA (497 bp), and 100% for ompA (488 bp) to R. amblyommatis. Concatenated phylogenetic analysis confirmed these findings indicating that the isolate is grouped with other sequences of Amblyomma cajennense complex from Panama and Brazil within the R. amblyommatis clade. Conclusions: This paper describes the isolation and early molecular identification of a R. amblyommatis strain from A. mixtum in Colombia. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number332
JournalParasites and Vectors
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Arthropods
  • Colombia
  • Disease
  • Rickettsia
  • Ticks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • General Veterinary
  • Infectious Diseases


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