Rickettsia bellii is a bacterium with wide geographical distribution in the Americas, from the United States to Argentina, including Brazil. The aims of this project are the molecular characterization and phylogeographic analysis of R. bellii isolates from different species of ticks and regions of the Americas, including newly unpublished isolates that have been obtained during the present research grant from the Doctoral project FAPESP 2012/21915-4. A total of 20 R. bellii isolates from a variety of tick species will be analyzed, being 13 isolates from Brazil, 1 from Argentina, and 6 from the United States. Molecular characterization of the 20 isolates will be performed by generating DNA sequences of the rickettsial genes gltA, ompA, virB4, dnaA and dnaK, the intergenic regions rrl-rrf - ITS, mpp-pur, rpmE-tRNAfmet, and the R. bellii plasmids. The results will assist in a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of R. bellii, thereby providing the taxonomic understanding, and biogeographical relationships with invertebrate hosts and geographical origin, generating information for understanding the evolution of this species of bacterium in the Americas.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: