One of the greatest threats to the conservation of wild cat populations may be dogs or, at least, one of their viruses. Canine distemper virus (CDV), a single-stranded RNA virus in the Paramyxoviridae family and genus Morbillivirus, infects and causes disease in a variety of species, not just canids. An outbreak of CDV in wild lions in the Serengeti, Tanzania, in 1994 was a wake-up call for conservationists, as it demonstrated that an infectious disease could swiftly impact a previously healthy felid population. To understand how this virus causes disease in noncanid hosts, researchers have focused on specific mutations in the binding site of the CDV hemagglutinin gene. Now, Seimon et al. provide information on CDV in its latest feline victim, the endangered wild Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) [T. A. Seimon et al., mBio 4(4):e00410-13, 2013, doi:10.1128/mBio.00410-13]. Their findings of CDV strains infecting tigers, in combination with recent information from other felids, paints a different picture, one in which CDV strains from a variety of geographic lineages and with a variety of amino acid residues in the hemagglutinin gene binding site can infect cats and cause disease. Although CDV has been known as a multihost disease since its discovery in domestic dogs in 1905, perhaps it is time to reconsider whether these noncanid species are not just incidental or “spillover” hosts but, rather, a normal part of the complex ecology of this infectious disease.
Reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) was used to detect canine distemper virus (CDV) nucleoprotein (NP) RNA in serum, whole blood, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from 38 dogs with clinically suspected distemper. Results were correlated to clinical findings, anti-CDV neutralizing antibody titers, postmortem findings, and demonstration of CDV NP antigen by immunohistochemistry. The specificity of the RT-PCR was ensured by amplification of RNA from various laboratory CDV strains, restriction enzyme digestion, and Southern blot hybridization. In 29 of 38 dogs, CDV infection was confirmed by postmortem examination and immunohistochemistry. The animals displayed the catarrhal, systemic, and nervous forms of distemper. Seventeen samples (serum, whole blood, or CSF) from dogs with distemper were tested with three sets of primers targeted to different regions of the NP gene of the CDV Onderstepoort strain. Expected amplicons were observed in 82, 53, and 41% of the 17 samples, depending upon the primer pair used. With the most sensitive primer pair (primer pair I), CDV NP RNA was detected in 25 of 29 (86%) serum samples and 14 of 16 (88%) whole blood and CSF samples from dogs with distemper but not in body fluids from immunohistochemically negative dogs. Nucleotide sequence analysis of five RT-PCR amplicons from isolates from the field revealed few silent point mutations. These isolates exhibited greater homology to the Rockborn (97 to 99%) than to the Onderstepoort (95 to 96%) CDV strain. In summary, although the sensitivity of the RT-PCR for detection of CDV is strongly influenced by the location of the selected primers, this nucleic acid detection system represents a highly specific and sensitive method for the antemortem diagnosis of distemper in dogs, regardless of the form of distemper, humoral immune response, and viral antigen distribution.
In the year 1994, the Serengeti lion population was decimated by a canine distemper disease outbreak. Retrospective investigations showed that this host population had already been in contact with the pathogen in 1981 without any detected sign of disease. As an alternative to the virus mutation hypothesis to explain this difference in virulences observed in 1981 and 1994, we propose a novel mechanism of disease emergence based on variation in population immunity. We use a stochastic model to show that stochastic fluctuations in pathogen circulation, owing to a low probability of virus transmission from its reservoir to the target host and thereby resulting in variations in the global immunity level of the target host population, can explain the observations made in Serengeti. This mechanism may also be involved in other infectious disease emergences or re-emergences.
canine distemper virus; lion Panthera leo; stochastic model; population immunity level; infectious disease re-emergence
The bycatch of small cetaceans in commercial fisheries is a global wildlife management problem. We used data from skippers' logbooks and independent observers to assess common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) bycatch patterns between 2003 and 2009 in the Pilbara Trawl Fishery, Western Australia. Both datasets indicated that dolphins were caught in all fishery areas, across all depths and throughout the year. Over the entire datasets, observer reported bycatch rates (n = 52 dolphins in 4,124 trawls, or 12.6 dolphins/1,000 trawls) were ca. double those reported by skippers (n = 180 dolphins in 27,904 trawls, or 6.5 dolphins/1,000 trawls). Generalised Linear Models based on observer data, which better explained the variation in dolphin bycatch, indicated that the most significant predictors of dolphin catch were: (1) vessel - one trawl vessel caught significantly more dolphins than three others assessed; (2) time of day – the lowest dolphin bycatch rates were between 00:00 and 05:59; and (3) whether nets included bycatch reduction devices (BRDs) - the rate was reduced by ca. 45%, from 18.8 to 10.3 dolphins/1,000 trawls, after their introduction. These results indicated that differences among vessels (or skippers' trawling techniques) and dolphin behavior (a diurnal pattern) influenced the rates of dolphin capture; and that spatial or seasonal adjustments to trawling effort would be unlikely to significantly reduce dolphin bycatch. Recent skipper's logbook data show that dolphin bycatch rates have not declined since those reported in 2006, when BRDs were introduced across the fishery. Modified BRDs, with top-opening escape hatches from which dolphins might escape to the surface, may be a more effective means of further reducing dolphin bycatch. The vulnerability of this dolphin population to trawling-related mortality cannot be assessed in the absence of an ongoing observer program and without information on trawler-associated dolphin community size, broader dolphin population size and connectivity with adjacent populations.
The mechanism of viral persistence, the driving force behind the chronic progression of inflammatory demyelination in canine distemper virus (CDV) infection, is associated with non-cytolytic viral cell-to-cell spread. Here, we studied the molecular mechanisms of viral spread of a recombinant fluorescent protein-expressing virulent CDV in primary canine astrocyte cultures. Time-lapse video microscopy documented that CDV spread was very efficient using cell processes contacting remote target cells. Strikingly, CDV transmission to remote cells could occur in less than 6 h, suggesting that a complete viral cycle with production of extracellular free particles was not essential in enabling CDV to spread in glial cells. Titration experiments and electron microscopy confirmed a very low CDV particle production despite higher titers of membrane-associated viruses. Interestingly, confocal laser microscopy and lentivirus transduction indicated expression and functionality of the viral fusion machinery, consisting of the viral fusion (F) and attachment (H) glycoproteins, at the cell surface. Importantly, using a single-cycle infectious recombinant H-knockout, H-complemented virus, we demonstrated that H, and thus potentially the viral fusion complex, was necessary to enable CDV spread. Furthermore, since we could not detect CD150/SLAM expression in brain cells, the presence of a yet non-identified glial receptor for CDV was suggested. Altogether, our findings indicate that persistence in CDV infection results from intracellular cell-to-cell transmission requiring the CDV-H protein. Viral transfer, happening selectively at the tip of astrocytic processes, may help the virus to cover long distances in the astroglial network, “outrunning” the host’s immune response in demyelinating plaques, thus continuously eliciting new lesions.
Demyelinating encephalitis; CDV persistence; Primary brain cells; Swift cell-to-cell spread; Attachment protein
A multiplex reverse transcription-nested polymerase chain reaction (RT-nPCR) method was developed for the detection and differentiation of wild-type and vaccine strains of canine distemper virus (CDV). A pair of primers (P1 and P4) specific for CDV corresponding to the highly conserved region of the CDV genome were used as a common primer pair in the first-round PCR of the nested PCR. Primers P2 specific for CDV wild-type strains, were used as the forward primer together with the common reverse primer P4 in the second round of nested PCR. Primers P3, P5 specific for CDV wild-type strain or vaccine strain, were used as the forward primer together with the common reverse primer P4+P6 in the second round of nested PCR. A fragment of 177 bp was amplified from vaccine strain genomic RNA, and a fragment of 247 bp from wild-type strain genomic RNA in the RT-nPCR, and two fragments of 247 bp and 177 bp were amplified from the mixed samples of vaccine and wild-type strains. No amplification was achieved for uninfected cells, or cells infected with Newcastle disease virus (NDV), canine parvovirus (CPV), canine coronavirus (CCV), rabies virus (RV), or canine adenovirus (CAV). The RT-nPCR method was used to detect 30 field samples suspected of canine distemper from Heilongjiang and Jilin Provinces, and 51 samples in Shandong province. As a result of 30 samples, were found to be wild-type-like, and 5 to be vaccine-strain-like. The RT-nPCR method can be used to effectively detect and differentiate wild-type CDV-infected dogs from dogs vaccinated with CDV vaccine, and thus can be used in clinical detection and epidemiological surveillance.
Heterogeneities in transmission among hosts can be very important in shaping infectious disease dynamics. In mammals with strong social organization, such heterogeneities are often structured by functional stage: juveniles, subadults and adults. We investigate the importance of such stage-related heterogeneities in shaping the 2002 phocine distemper virus (PDV) outbreak in the Dutch Wadden Sea, when more than 40 per cent of the harbour seals were killed. We do this by comparing the statistical fit of a hierarchy of models with varying transmission complexity: homogeneous versus heterogeneous mixing and density- versus frequency-dependent transmission. We use the stranding data as a proxy for incidence and use Poisson likelihoods to estimate the ‘who acquires infection from whom’ (WAIFW) matrix. Statistically, the model with strong heterogeneous mixing and density-dependent transmission was found to best describe the transmission dynamics. However, patterns of incidence support a model of frequency-dependent transmission among adults and juveniles. Based on the maximum-likelihood WAIFW matrix estimates, we use the next-generation formalism to calculate an R0 between 2 and 2.5 for the Dutch 2002 PDV epidemic.
phocine distemper virus; harbour seals; Phoca vitulina; stage-structured transmission; who acquires infection from whom matrix; next-generation matrix
Canine distemper virus (CDV) is present worldwide and produces a lethal systemic infection of wild and domestic Canidae. Pre-existing antibodies acquired from vaccination or previous CDV infection might interfere the interpretation of a serologic diagnosis method. In addition, due to the high similarity of nucleic acid sequences between wild-type CDV and the new vaccine strain, current PCR derived methods cannot be applied for the definite confirmation of CD infection. Hence, it is worthy of developing a simple and rapid nucleotide-based assay for differentiation of wild-type CDV which is a cause of disease from attenuated CDVs after vaccination. High frequency variations have been found in the region spanning from the 3'-untranslated region (UTR) of the matrix (M) gene to the fusion (F) gene (designated M-F UTR) in a few CDV strains. To establish a differential diagnosis assay, an amplification refractory mutation analysis was established based on the highly variable region on M-F UTR and F regions.
Sequences of frequent polymorphisms were found scattered throughout the M-F UTR region; the identity of nucleic acid between local strains and vaccine strains ranged from 82.5% to 93.8%. A track of AAA residue located 35 nucleotides downstream from F gene start codon highly conserved in three vaccine strains were replaced with TGC in the local strains; that severed as target sequences for deign of discrimination primers. The method established in the present study successfully differentiated seven Taiwanese CDV field isolates, all belonging to the Asia-1 lineage, from vaccine strains.
The method described herein would be useful for several clinical applications, such as confirmation of nature CDV infection, evaluation of vaccination status and verification of the circulating viral genotypes.
Paramyxovirus glycoproteins are posttranslationally modified by the addition of N-linked glycans, which are often necessary for correct folding, processing, and cell surface expression. To establish the contribution of N glycosylation to morbillivirus attachment (H) protein function and overall virulence, we first determined the use of the potential N-glycosylation sites in the canine distemper virus (CDV) H proteins. Biochemical characterization revealed that the three sites conserved in all strains were N glycosylated, whereas only two of the up to five additional sites present in wild-type strains are used. A wild-type virus with an H protein reproducing the vaccine strain N-glycosylation pattern remained lethal in ferrets but with a prolonged course of disease. In contrast, introduction of the vaccine H protein in the wild-type context resulted in complete attenuation. To further characterize the role of N glycosylation in CDV pathogenesis, the N-glycosylation sites of wild-type H proteins were successively deleted, including a nonstandard site, to ultimately generate a nonglycosylated H protein. Despite reduced expression levels, this protein remained fully functional. Recombinant viruses expressing N-glycan-deficient H proteins no longer caused disease, even though their immunosuppressive capacities were retained, indicating that reduced N glycosylation contributes to attenuation without affecting immunosuppression.
Canine distemper virus (CDV)-specific immune response was measured in different dog populations. Three groups of vaccinated or wild-type virus exposed dogs were tested: dogs with a known vaccination history, dogs without a known vaccination history (shelter dogs), and dogs with potential exposure to wild-type CDV. The use of a T-cell proliferation assay demonstrated a detectable CDV-specific T-cell response from both spleen and blood lymphocytes of dogs. Qualitatively, antibody assays [enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and neutralization assay] predicted the presence of a T-cell response well, although quantitatively neither antibody assays nor the T-cell assay correlated well with each other. An interesting finding from our study was that half of the dogs in shelters were not vaccinated (potentially posing a public veterinary health problem) and that antibody levels in dogs living in an environment with endemic CDV were lower than in vaccinated animals.
Canine distemper virus (CDV) causes in dogs a severe systemic infection, with a high frequency of demyelinating encephalitis. Among the six genes transcribed by CDV, the P gene encodes the polymerase cofactor protein (P) as well as two additional nonstructural proteins, C and V; of these V was shown to act as a virulence factor. We investigated the molecular mechanisms by which the P gene products of the neurovirulent CDV A75/17 strain disrupt type I interferon (IFN-α/β)-induced signaling that results in the establishment of the antiviral state. Using recombinant knockout A75/17 viruses, the V protein was identified as the main antagonist of IFN-α/β-mediated signaling. Importantly, immunofluorescence analysis illustrated that the inhibition of IFN-α/β-mediated signaling correlated with impaired STAT1/STAT2 nuclear import, whereas the phosphorylation state of these proteins was not affected. Coimmunoprecipitation assays identified the N-terminal region of V (VNT) responsible for STAT1 targeting, which correlated with its ability to inhibit the activity of the IFN-α/β-mediated antiviral state. Conversely, while the C-terminal domain of V (VCT) could not function autonomously, when fused to VNT it optimally interacted with STAT2 and subsequently efficiently suppressed the IFN-α/β-mediated signaling pathway. The latter result was further supported by a single mutation at position 110 within the VNT domain of CDV V protein, resulting in a mutant that lost STAT1 binding while retaining a partial STAT2 association. Taken together, our results identified the CDV VNT and VCT as two essential modules that complement each other to interfere with the antiviral state induced by IFN-α/β-mediated signaling. Hence, our experiments reveal a novel mechanism of IFN-α/β evasion among the morbilliviruses.
Morbillivirus cell entry is controlled by hemagglutinin (H), an envelope-anchored viral glycoprotein determining interaction with multiple host cell surface receptors. Subsequent to virus-receptor attachment, H is thought to transduce a signal triggering the viral fusion glycoprotein, which in turn drives virus-cell fusion activity. Cell entry through the universal morbillivirus receptor CD150/SLAM was reported to depend on two nearby microdomains located within the hemagglutinin. Here, we provide evidence that three key residues in the virulent canine distemper virus A75/17 H protein (Y525, D526, and R529), clustering at the rim of a large recessed groove created by β-propeller blades 4 and 5, control SLAM-binding activity without drastically modulating protein surface expression or SLAM-independent F triggering.
In order to effectively identify the vaccine and field strains of Canine distemper virus (CDV), a new differential diagnostic test has been developed based on reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP). We selected an 829 bp fragment of the nucleoprotein (N) gene of CDV. By RFLP analysis using BamHI, field isolates were distinguishable from the vaccine strains. Two fragments were obtained from the vaccine strains by RT-PCR-RFLP analysis while three were observed in the field strains. An 829 nucleotide region of the CDV N gene was analyzed in 19 CDV field strains isolated from minks, raccoon dogs and foxes in China between 2005 and 2007. The results suggest this method is precise, accurate and efficient. It was also determined that three different genotypes exist in CDV field strains in fur animal herds of the north of China, most of which belong to Asian type. Mutated field strains, JSY06-R1, JSY06-R2 and JDH07-F1 also exist in Northern China, but are most closely related to the standard virulent strain A75/17, designated in Arctic and America-2 genetype in the present study, respectively.
An atypical case of canine distemper (CD) was diagnosed in a vaccinated healthy adult dog. The patient was presented circling, seizuring, and blind. Postmortem examination resulted in a diagnosis of CD. Optic neuritis was diagnosed, a finding not previously described in the context of CD virus infection presenting solely with neurological signs.
Apoptosis can be induced or inhibited by viral proteins, it can form part of the host defense against virus infection, or it can be a mechanism for viral spread to neighboring cells. Canine distemper virus (CDV) induces apoptotic cells in lymphoid tissues and in the cerebellum of dogs naturally infected. CDV also produces a cytopathologic effect, leading to apoptosis in Vero cells in tissue culture. We tested canine distemper virus, a member of the Paramyxoviridae family, for the ability to trigger apoptosis in HeLa cells, derived from cervical cancer cells resistant to apoptosis. To study the effect of CDV infection in HeLa cells, we examined apoptotic markers 24 h post infection (pi), by flow cytometry assay for DNA fragmentation, real-time PCR assay for caspase-3 and caspase-8 mRNA expression, and by caspase-3 and -8 immunocytochemistry. Flow cytometry showed that DNA fragmentation was induced in HeLa cells infected by CDV, and immunocytochemistry revealed a significant increase in the levels of the cleaved active form of caspase-3 protein, but did not show any difference in expression of caspase-8, indicating an intrinsic apoptotic pathway. Confirming this observation, expression of caspase-3 mRNA was higher in CDV infected HeLa cells than control cells; however, there was no statistically significant change in caspase-8 mRNA expression profile. Our data suggest that canine distemper virus induced apoptosis in HeLa cells, triggering apoptosis by the intrinsic pathway, with no participation of the initiator caspase -8 from the extrinsic pathway. In conclusion, the cellular stress caused by CDV infection of HeLa cells, leading to apoptosis, can be used as a tool in future research for cervical cancer treatment and control.
Apoptosis; Canine distemper virus; Caspase; Cervical tumor; HeLa cell; HPV
: Phocine Distemper Virus in Seals
In 2006 and 2007, elevated numbers of deaths among seals, constituting an unusual mortality event, occurred off the coasts of Maine and Massachusetts, United States. We isolated a virus from seal tissue and confirmed it as phocine distemper virus (PDV). We compared the viral hemagglutinin, phosphoprotein, and fusion (F) and matrix (M) protein gene sequences with those of viruses from the 1988 and 2002 PDV epizootics. The virus showed highest similarity with a PDV 1988 Netherlands virus, which raises the possibility that the 2006 isolate from the United States might have emerged independently from 2002 PDVs and that multiple lineages of PDV might be circulating among enzootically infected North American seals. Evidence from comparison of sequences derived from different tissues suggested that mutations in the F and M genes occur in brain tissue that are not present in lung, liver, or blood, which suggests virus persistence in the central nervous system.
Phocine distemper virus; morbilliviruses; epizootic; genomic sequence; phylogeny; central nervous system; persistent infection; mutations; United States; research
A new isolate of canine distemper virus (CDV), named ZJ7, was isolated from lung tissues of a dog suspected with CDV infection using MDCK cells. The ZJ7 isolate induced cytopathogenic effects of syncytia in MDCK cell after six passages. In order to evaluate pathogenesis of ZJ7 strain, three CDV sero-negative dogs were intranasally inoculated with its virus suspension. All infected dogs developed clinical signs of severe bloody diarrhea, conjunctivitis, ocular discharge, nasal discharge and coughing, fever and weight loss at 21 dpi, whereas the mock group infected with DMEM were normal. The results demonstrated that CDV-ZJ7 strain isolated by MDCK cell was virulent, and the nucleotide and amino acid sequences of strain ZJ7 had no change after isolation by MDCK cell when compared with the original virus from the fresh tissues. Molecular and phylogenetic analyses for the nucleocapsid (N), phosphoprotein (P) and receptor binding haemagglutinin (H) gene of the ZJ7 isolate clearly showed it is joins to the Asia 1 group cluster of CDV strains, the predominant genotype in China.
Canine distemper virus (CDV); MDCK; Genotype; Phylogenetic analysis; Pathogenesis; Virulence
This report describes the naturally occurring atypical neuropathological manifestation of systemic canine distemper virus (CDV) infection in two 16-day-old Pit Bull pups. CDV-induced changes affected the gray and white matter of the forebrain while sparing the hindbrain. Histologically, there was necrosis with destruction of the nervous parenchyma due to an influx of inflammatory and reactive cells associated with eosinophilic intranuclear inclusion bodies within glial cells. Positive immunoreactivity against CDV antigens was predominantly observed within astrocytes and neurons. RT-PCR was used to amplify CDV-specific amplicons from brain fragments. These findings suggest the participation of CDV in the etiopathogenesis of these lesions.
canine distemper virus; immunohistochemistry; neuropathology; RT-PCR
In paramyxoviruses, the matrix (M) protein mediates the interaction between the envelope and internal proteins during particle assembly and egress. In measles virus (MeV), M mutations, such as those found in subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) strains, and differences in vaccine and wild-type M proteins can affect the strength of interaction with the envelope glycoproteins, assembly efficiency, and spread. However, the contribution of the M protein to the replication and pathogenesis of the closely related canine distemper virus (CDV) has not been characterized. To this end this, we generated a recombinant wild-type CDV carrying a vaccine strain M protein. The recombinant virus retained the parental growth phenotype in VerodogSLAMtag cells, but displayed an increased particle-to-infectivity ratio very similar to that of the vaccine strain, likely due to inefficient H protein incorporation. Even though infectious virus was released only from the apical surface, consistent with the release polarity of the wild-type CDV strain, envelope protein distribution in polarized epithelial cells reproduced the bipolar pattern seen in vaccine strain-infected cells. Most notably, the chimeric virus was completely attenuated in ferrets and caused only a mild and transient leukopenia, indicating that the differences in particle infectivity and envelope protein sorting mediated by the vaccine M protein contribute importantly to vaccine strain attenuation.
Canine distemper virus (CDV) is a negative-sense, single-stranded RNA virus within the genus Morbillivirus and the family Paramyxoviridae. The Morbillivirus genome is composed of six transcriptional units that are separated by untranslated regions (UTRs), which are relatively uniform in length, with the exception of the UTR between the matrix (M) and fusion (F) genes. This UTR is at least three times longer and in the case of CDV also highly variable. Exchange of the M-F region between different CDV strains did not affect virulence or disease phenotype, demonstrating that this region is functionally interchangeable. Viruses carrying the deletions in the M 3′ UTR replicated more efficiently, which correlated with a reduction of virulence, suggesting that overall length as well as specific sequence motifs distributed throughout the region contribute to virulence.
Serum antibody titers for canine parvovirus type-2 (CPV-2), canine distemper virus (CDV) and canine adenovirus type-1 (CAV-1) were investigated in 1031 healthy adult household dogs (2 to 18 years old) given an annual inoculation in the previous 11 to 13 months. The number of dogs retaining significant titers of antibodies against CPV-2, CDV, and CAV-1 were 888 (86%), 744 (72%), and 732 (71%), respectively. There were no differences between males and females in antibody titers against the 3 viruses. Antibody titer for CPV-2 was significantly higher in younger dogs than in older dogs, CDV antibody was significantly higher in older dogs than in younger dogs, and CAV titer was not associated with age.
Canine distemper virus; fox; red foxes; Italy; Vulpes vulpes; H gene; viruses; letter