Genotypic diversity of Theileria orientalis detected from cattle grazing in Kumamoto and Okinawa prefectures of Japan

J Vet Med Sci. 2011 Mar;73(3):305-12. doi: 10.1292/jvms.10-0263. Epub 2010 Oct 22.


Theileria orientalis is a benign protozoan species that is widely distributed in Japan, yet sometimes causes serious economic losses in the livestock industry. In this study, we conducted a molecular survey based on genes encoding the major piroplasm surface protein (MPSP) and p23 for T. orientalis detected in cattle grazing in southern areas of Japan, consisting of 2 farms in Kumamoto prefecture (Aso and Kuma districts) and 3 farms in Okinawa prefecture (Ishigaki, Iriomote, and Yonaguni Islands). High prevalence rates of T. orientalis infection were shown in all the cattle populations using the diagnostic MPSP- and p23-PCR assays. Phylogenetic analyses revealed 4 MPSP genotypes and 3 p23 genotypes. Furthermore, MPSP genotype-specific PCR methods were developed in this study and wide distributions of 5-district genotypes of T. orientalis were observed for the examined farms. Our results indicate that at least 5 types of T. orientalis exist in Kumamoto and Okinawa prefectures of Japan and that genotype-specific PCR assays are highly applicable for the quarantine of transported cattle and for epidemiological surveys of bovine theileriosis in Japan.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Protozoan / genetics
  • Antigens, Protozoan / metabolism
  • Cattle
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genotype*
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Phylogeny
  • Protozoan Proteins / genetics
  • Protozoan Proteins / metabolism
  • Theileria / classification
  • Theileria / genetics*
  • Theileriasis / epidemiology
  • Theileriasis / parasitology*


  • Antigens, Protozoan
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • major piroplasm surface protein, Theileria