First Whole Genome Sequence of Anaplasma platys, an Obligate Intracellula Rickettsial Pathogen of Dogs
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We have assembled the first genome draft of Anaplasma platys, an obligate intracellular rickettsia, and the only known bacterial pathogen infecting canine platelets. A. platys is a not-yet-cultivated bacterium that causes infectious cyclic canine thrombocytopenia, a potentially fatal disease in dogs. Despite its global distribution and veterinary relevance, no genome sequence has been published so far for this pathogen. Here, we used a strategy based on metagenome assembly to generate a draft of the A. platys genome using the blood of an infected dog. The assembled draft is similar to other Anaplasma genomes in size, gene content, and synteny. Notable differences are the apparent absence of rbfA, a gene encoding a 30S ribosome-binding factor acting as a cold-shock protein, as well as two genes involved in biotin metabolism. We also observed differences associated with expanded gene families, including those encoding outer membrane proteins, a type IV secretion system, ankyrin repeat-containing proteins, and proteins with predicted intrinsically disordered regions. Several of these families have members highly divergent in sequence, likely to be associated with survival and interactions within the host and the vector. The sequence of the A. platys genome can benefit future studies regarding invasion, survival, and pathogenesis of Anaplasma species, while paving the way for the better design of treatment and prevention strategies against these neglected intracellular pathogens.