Domestic cats are the natural reservoir of Bartonella henselae, B. clarridgeiae and B. koehlerae. To determine the role of wild felids in the epidemiology of Bartonella infections, blood was collected from 14 free-ranging California mountain lions (Puma concolor) and 19 bobcats (Lynx rufus). Bartonella spp. were isolated from four (29%) mountain lions and seven (37%) bobcats. These isolates were characterized using growth characteristics, biochemical reactions, molecular techniques, including PCR-RFLP of selected genes or interspacer region, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), partial sequencing of several genes, and DNA-DNA hybridization. Two isolates were identical to B. henselae genotype II. All other isolates were distinguished from B. henselae and B. koehlerae by PCR-RFLP of the gltA gene using endonucleases HhaI, TaqI and AciI, with the latter two discriminating between the mountain lion and the bobcat isolates. These two novel isolates displayed specific PFGE profiles distinct from B. henselae, B. koehlerae and B. clarridgeiae. Sequences of amplified gene fragments from the three mountain lion and six bobcat isolates were closely related to, but distinct from, B. henselae and B. koehlerae. Finally, DNA-DNA hybridization studies demonstrated that the mountain lion and bobcat strains are most closely related to B. koehlerae. We propose naming the mountain lion isolates B. koehlerae subsp. boulouisii subsp. nov. (type strain: L-42-94), and the bobcat isolates B. koehlerae subsp. bothieri subsp. nov. (type strain: L-17-96), and to emend B. koehlerae as B. koehlerae subsp. koehlerae. The mode of transmission and the zoonotic potential of these new Bartonella subspecies remain to be determined.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)