Detection of atypical Chlamydiaceae in roe deer (Capreolus capreolus)
Investigations on fecal samples, vaginal swabs and sera from roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) in south-western France led to the detection of a non-classified Chlamydiaceae strain. A total of 85 vaginal swabs were sampled from roe deer that had been captured in 2012 (n = 42) and 2013 (n = 43). Using a Chlamydiaceae family-specific real-time PCR, only one vaginal swab out of the 42 samples done in 2012 tested positive and was subsequently identified as Chlamydia (C.) psittaci. In contrast, 6/43 vaginal swab samples were positive in 2013. Four of these positive samples came from a single group of roe deer, captured in the Fabas plain. Fecal samples from this group of 9 females were subsequently analyzed, with 6 of them testing positive with the Chlamydiaceae-specific PCR. All positive samples collected in 2013 were negative when re-tested with C. abortus-, C. psittaci-, C. pecorum- and C. suis-specific real-time PCR assays. Sera from this group of 9 females were analyzed with two immunoassays (recomLine and ELISA). Whereas intense positive reactions with C. pneumoniae antigens were observed for all sera when tested with the recomLine test, none was positive with the C. abortus specific ELISA test. Comparative sequence analysis of the 16S, 23S rRNA and ompA gene sequences from 3 animals, as well as the MLST analysis from 2 animals, showed that this roe deer group likely harbored the same bacterium related to members of the family Chlamydiaceae. Notably, the roe deer strain formed a separate entity different from the currently recognized chlamydial species, with C. trachomatis, C. suis and C. muridarum appearing as its closest relatives.