Borrelia lusitaniae OspA Gene Heterogeneity in Mediterranean Basin Area
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- Grego, E., Bertolotti, L., Peletto, S. et al. J Mol Evol (2007) 65: 512. doi:10.1007/s00239-007-9029-5
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In this study, Borrelia lusitaniae DNA extracted from ticks and lizards was used to amplify the outer surface protein A (OspA) gene in order to increase knowledge about sequence variability in the Mediterranean basin area, to better understand how Borrelia lusitaniae has evolved and how its distribution has expanded. Phylogenetic trees including Italian and reference sequences showed a clear separation of B. lusitaniae OspA strains in two different major clades. North African isolates form a clade with Portuguese POTIB strains, whereas Italian samples are grouped with German strains and a human Portuguese strain. This subdivision was supported by very high posterior probability values in the trees, by both analysis of molecular variance and selective pressure. These results, based on phylogenetic information contained in the OspA gene sequences, show the presence of two different B. lusitaniae strains circulating in the Mediterranean basin area, suggesting two different evolution paths.