Stable transformation of Babesia bigemina and Babesia bovis using a single transfection plasmid

Marta G. Silva, Donald P. Knowles, Monica L. Mazuz, Brian M. Cooke, Carlos E. Suarez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Babesia bigemina and Babesia bovis, are the two major causes of bovine babesiosis, a global neglected disease in need of improved methods of control. Here, we describe a shared method for the stable transfection of these two parasites using electroporation and blasticidin/blasticidin deaminase as a selectable marker. Stably transfected B. bigemina and B. bovis were obtained using a common transfection plasmid targeting the enhanced green fluorescent protein-BSD (egfp-bsd) fusion gene into the elongation factor-1α (ef-1α) locus of B. bigemina and B. bovis under the control of the B. bigemina ef-1α promoter. Sequencing, Southern blotting, immunoblotting and immunofluorescence analysis of parasite-infected red blood cells, demonstrated that the egfp-bsd gene was expressed and stably integrated solely into the ef-1α locus of both, B. bigemina and B. bovis. Interestingly, heterologous B. bigemina ef-1α sequences were able to drive integration into the B. bovis genome by homologous recombination, and the stably integrated B. bigemina ef-1α-A promoter is fully functional in B. bovis. Collectively, the data provides a new tool for genetic analysis of these parasites, and suggests that the development of vaccine platform delivery systems based on transfected B. bovis and B. bigemina parasites using homologous and heterologous promoters is feasible.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6096
Number of pages9
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2018


  • biological techniques
  • infectious diseases

Cite this