Project to develop veterinary vaccines against heartwater in cattle

One of the projects undertaken at the Unit is the annotation of Ehrlichia ruminantium, a bacterial genome that is the causative agent of heartwater in cattle. This genome was recently sequenced by Prof Basil Allsopp’s research team, first at the ARC Onderstepoort and more recently at the Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases at UP.

The goal of the project is to find new molecules to develop veterinary vaccines against heartwater. Prof Allsopp received funding to sequence the genome and when his team had completed the sequencing, they collaborated with a group at the Sanger Centre in England with the necessary bioinformatics expertise to assist with the data analysis. The Sanger Centre is the largest genomics centre in the world. The Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Unit was involved with the analysis of the genome for open reading frames, genes, control sequences and repeats.

This collaborative project yielded a complete annotation of the first genome sequenced in Africa and negotiations are underway with a prestigious journal for publication.

For more information, contact Prof Basil Allsopp, Tel: +27 12 529 8426, Fax: +27 12 529 8312