Establishment of the tick (Acari:Ixodidae)-borne cattle pathogen Anaplasma marginale (Rickettsiales:Anaplasmataceae) in tick cell culture

J Med Entomol. 1996 Jul;33(4):656-64. doi: 10.1093/jmedent/33.4.656.


Anaplasma marginale is a tick-borne rickettsia that causes bovine anaplasmosis worldwide. Despite its importance, A. marginale has thus far not been established in a continuous culture system. We have propagated A. marginale continuously for the 1st time in a tick cell line derived from the black-legged tick, Ixodes scapularis Say, using infected bovine blood as the inoculum. Erythrocytic stages invaded the tick cells and multiplied in membrane-lined vacuoles to form colonies typical of those observed in naturally infected ticks as demonstrated by light and electron microscopy. The rickettsiae have been passaged serially for 3 yr and have been cryopreserved in liquid nitrogen. Antigens present in A. marginale from tick cell culture were recognized by bovine immune serum against the blood stages of A. marginale. A. marginale grown in this tick cell line was infective for calves, and male ticks fed on the calves transmitted A. marginale to a susceptible calf. The ability to culture A. marginale removes a major impediment to the study of Anaplasma biology in vitro, and will enhance development of vaccines and diagnostic tests.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anaplasma / genetics
  • Anaplasma / growth & development*
  • Anaplasma / isolation & purification
  • Anaplasma / ultrastructure
  • Anaplasmosis / transmission
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / transmission
  • Cell Line
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Dermacentor / microbiology
  • Immunoblotting
  • Ixodes / cytology
  • Ixodes / microbiology*
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data


  • DNA, Bacterial