Methane emissions from ruminant livestock are considered to be one of the more potent forms of greenhouses gases contributing to global warming. Many strategies to reduce emissions are targeting the methanogens that inhabit the rumen, but such an approach can only be successful if it targets all the major groups of ruminant methanogens. Therefore, a thorough knowledge of the diversity of these microbes in breeds of buffaloes, as well as in response to geographical location and different diets, is required. Therefore, molecular diversity of rumen methanogens in Surti buffaloes was investigated using 16S rRNA gene libraries prepared from pooled rumen contents from three Surti buffaloes. A total of 171 clones were identified revealing 23 different sequences (phylotypes). Of these 23 sequences, twelve sequences (12 OTUs, 83 clones) and 10 sequences (10 OTUs, 83 clones) were similar to methanogens belonging to the orders Methanomicrobiales and Methanobacteriales, and the remaining 1 phylotype (5 clones) were similar to Methanosarcina barkeri. These unique sequences clustered within a distinct and strongly supported phylogenetic group. Further studies and effective strategies can be made to inhibit the growth of Methanomicrobiales and Methanobacteriales phylotypes to reduce the methane emission from rumen and thus help in preventing global warming.
Methanomicrobiales; Methanobacteriales; Surti buffaloes; phylotypes; 16s DNA
Shiga toxin (Stx)-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) are recognized as important human pathogens of public health concern. Many animals are the sources of STEC. In this study we determined the occurrence and characteristics of the STEC in yaks (Bos grunniens) from the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau, China. A total of 728 yak fecal samples was collected from June to August, 2012 and was screened for the presence of the stx1 and stx2 genes by TaqMan real-time PCR after the sample was enriched in modified Tryptone Soya Broth. Of the 138 (18.96%) stx1 and/or stx2-positive samples, 85 (61.59%) were confirmed to have at least 1 STEC isolate present by culture isolation, from which 128 STEC isolates were recovered. All STEC isolates were serotyped, genotyped by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and characterized for the presence of 16 known virulence factors. Fifteen different O serogroups and 36 different O:H serotypes were identified in the 128 STEC isolates with 21 and 4 untypable for the O and H antigens respectively. One stx1 subtype (stx1a) and 5 stx2 subtypes (stx2a, stx2b, stx2c, stx2d and stx2g) were present in these STEC isolates. Apart from lpfAO157/OI-141, lpfAO157/OI-154, lpfAO113, katP and toxB which were all absent, other virulence factors screened (eaeA, iha, efa1, saa, paa, cnf1, cnf2, astA, subA, exhA and espP) were variably present in the 128 STEC isolates. PFGE were successful for all except 5 isolates and separated them into 67 different PFGE patterns. For the 18 serotypes with 2 or more isolates, isolates of the same serotypes had the same or closely related PFGE patterns, demonstrating clonality of these serotypes. This study was the first report on occurrence and characteristics of STEC isolated from yaks (Bos grunniens) from the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau, China, and extended the genetic diversity and reservoir host range of STEC.
Understanding ruminal methanogens is essential for greenhouse gas mitigation, as well as for improving animal performance in the livestock industry. It has been speculated that ruminal methanogenic diversity affects host feed efficiency and results in differences in methane production. This study examined methanogenic profiles in the rumen using culture-independent PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) analysis for 56 beef cattle which differed in feed efficiency, as well as diet (the cattle were fed a low-energy diet or a high-energy diet). The methanogenic PCR-DGGE profiles detected were greatly affected by diet, and the major pattern changed from a community containing predominantly Methanobrevibacter ruminantium NT7 with the low-energy diet to a community containing predominantly Methanobrevibacter smithii, Methanobrevibacter sp. AbM4, and/or M. ruminantium NT7 with the high-energy diet. For each diet, the methanogenic PCR-DGGE pattern was strongly associated with the feed efficiency of the host. Diet-associated bands for Methanobrevibacter sp. AbM4 and M. smithii SM9 and a feed efficiency-related band for M. smithii PS were identified. The abundance of total methanogens was estimated by determining the numbers of copies of the 16S rRNA genes of methanogens. However, the size of the methanogen population did not correlate with differences in feed efficiency, diet, or metabolic measurements. Thus, the structure of the methanogenic community at the species or strain level may be more important for determining host feed efficiency under different dietary conditions.
Hybridization between yak Poephagus grunniens and taurine Bos taurus or indicine B. indicus cattle has been widely practiced throughout the yak geographical range, and gene flow is expected to have occurred between these species. To assess the impact of cattle admixture on domestic yak, we examined 1076 domestic yak from 29 populations collected in China, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Russia using mitochondrial DNA and 17 autosomal microsatellite loci. A cattle diagnostic marker-based analysis reveals cattle-specific mtDNA and/or autosomal microsatellite allele introgression in 127 yak individuals from 22 populations. The mean level of cattle admixture across the populations, calculated using allelic information at 17 autosomal microsatellite loci, remains relatively low (mYcattle = 2.66 ± 0.53% and Qcattle = 0.69 ± 2.58%), although it varies a lot across populations as well as among individuals within population. Although the level of cattle admixture shows a clear geographical structure, with higher levels of admixture in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and Mongolian and Russian regions, and lower levels in the Himalayan and Pamir Plateau region, our results indicate that the level of cattle admixture is not significantly correlated with the altitude across geographical regions as well as within geographical region. Although yak-cattle hybridization is primarily driven to produce F1 hybrids, our results show that the subsequent gene flow between yak and cattle took place and has affected contemporary genetic make-up of domestic yak. To protect yak genetic integrity, hybridization between yak and cattle should be tightly controlled.
admixture analysis; cattle; introgression; Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau; yak
Cattle with high feed efficiencies (designated “efficient”) produce less methane gas than those with low feed efficiencies (designated “inefficient”); however, the role of the methane producers in such difference is unknown. This study investigated whether the structures and populations of methanogens in the rumen were associated with differences in cattle feed efficiencies by using culture-independent methods. Two 16S rRNA libraries were constructed using ∼800-bp amplicons generated from pooled total DNA isolated from efficient (n = 29) and inefficient (n = 29) animals. Sequence analysis of up to 490 randomly selected clones from each library showed that the methanogenic composition was variable: less species variation (22 operational taxonomic units [OTUs]) was detected in the rumens of efficient animals, compared to 27 OTUs in inefficient animals. The methanogenic communities in inefficient animals were more diverse than those in efficient ones, as revealed by the diversity indices of 0.84 and 0.42, respectively. Differences at the strain and genotype levels were also observed and found to be associated with feed efficiency in the host. No difference was detected in the total population of methanogens, but the prevalences of Methanosphaera stadtmanae and Methanobrevibacter sp. strain AbM4 were 1.92 (P < 0.05) and 2.26 (P < 0.05) times higher in inefficient animals, while Methanobrevibacter sp. strain AbM4 was reported for the first time to occur in the bovine rumen. Our data indicate that the methanogenic ecology at the species, strain, and/or genotype level in the rumen may play important roles in contributing to the difference in methane gas production between cattle with different feed efficiencies.
The clinical signs of a disorder in yaks (Bos grunniens), known locally as “swayback ailment,” in the Qing Hai-Tibetan Plateau are described. The purpose of this study is to investigate the possibility that swayback ailment is iron (Fe)-induced copper (Cu) deficiency. The mean concentrations of Cu in soil and forage from affected areas and unaffected areas are similar and within the normal ranges. The mean concentrations of Cu in blood and hair from the affected yaks was significantly lower (P < 0.01) than that in unaffected yaks. The mean concentrations of Fe in soil and forage were significantly higher (P < 0.01) in affected than in unaffected areas. Affected yaks showed a hypochromic microcytic anemia and a low level of ceruloplasmin. Oral administration of copper sulphate prevented and cured the disease. We conclude that “swayback disorder” of yaks is caused by secondary Cu deficiency, mainly due to the high Fe content in forage.
High roughage diet causes more methane emissions; however, the total methanogen abundance is not influenced by roughage proportion. Technologies to reduce methane emissions are lacking, and development of inhibitors and vaccines that mitigate rumen-derived methane by targeting methanogens relies on present knowledge of the methanogens. In this work, we have investigated molecular diversity of rumen methanogens of Surti buffalo. DNA from rumen fluid was extracted, and 16S rRNA encoding genes were amplified using methanogen specific primer to generate 16S rDNA clone libraries. Seventy-six clones were randomly selected and analysed by RFLP resulting in 21 operational taxonomic units (OTUs). BLAST analysis with available sequences in database revealed sequences of 13 OTUs (55 clones) showing similarity with Methanomicrobium sp, 3 OTUs (15 clones) with Methanobrevibacter sp. The remaining 5 OTUs (6 clones) belonged to uncultured archaea. The phylogenetic analysis indicated that methanogenic communities found in the library were clustered in the order of Methanomicrobiales (18 OTUs) and Methanobacteriales (3 OTUs). The population of Methanomicrobiales, Methanobacteriales, and Methanococcales were also observed, accounting for 1.94%, 0.72%, and 0.47% of total archaea, respectively.
The domestication of plants and animals was extremely important anthropologically. Previous studies have revealed a general tendency for populations of livestock species to include deeply divergent maternal lineages, indicating that they were domesticated in multiple, independent events from genetically discrete wild populations. However, in water buffalo, there are suggestions that a similar deep maternal bifurcation may have originated from a single population. These hypotheses have rarely been rigorously tested because of a lack of sufficient wild samples. To investigate the origin of the domestic yak (Poephagus grunnies), we analyzed 637 bp of maternal inherited mtDNA from 13 wild yaks (including eight wild yaks from a small population in west Qinghai) and 250 domesticated yaks from major herding regions.
The domestic yak populations had two deeply divergent phylogenetic groups with a divergence time of > 100,000 yrs BP. We here show that haplotypes clustering with two deeply divergent maternal lineages in domesticated yaks occur in a single, small, wild population. This finding suggests that all domestic yaks are derived from a single wild gene pool. However, there is no clear correlation of the mtDNA phylogenetic clades and the 10 morphological types of sampled yaks indicating that the latter diversified recently. Relatively high diversity was found in Qinghai and Tibet around the current wild distribution, in accordance with previous suggestions that the earliest domestications occurred in this region. Conventional molecular clock estimation led to an unrealistic early dating of the start of the domestication. However, Bayesian estimation of the coalescence time allowing a relaxation of the mutation rate are better in agreement with a domestication during the Holocene as supported by archeological records.
The information gathered here and the previous studies of other animals show that the demographic histories of domestication of livestock species were highly diverse despite the common general feature of deeply divergent maternal lineages. The results further suggest that domestication of local wild prey ungulate animals was a common occurrence during the development of human civilization following the postglacial colonization in different locations of the world, including the high, arid Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.
Toxoplasma gondii is an amphixenosis which has extensive hosts. In recent years, the prevalence of T. gondii in China has been reported, while little is known on the survey of T. gondii infection in northwest China, especially in yaks (Bos grunniens) and Tibetan mastiffs (Canis lupus familiaris). The current study survey the infection of T. gondii in Tibetan mastiffs and yaks in Qinghai Province, China.
The indirect hemagglutination test (IHAT) was used to examine T. gondii antibodies in 1 795 serums, including 192 Tibetan mastiffs and 1603 yaks in Qinghai Province, China.
In this study, the seroprevalence of T. gondii infection was 8.52%. Twenty (10.42%) of 192 serums of Tibetan mastiffs and 133 (8.30%) of 1603 serums of yaks were seropositive. The seroprevalence of T.gondii infection in Tibetan mastiffs in breeding farm (1.08%) was lower than that in the field (19.19%), and the difference was statistically significant (P <0.05). The seroprevalence of antibodies to T.gondii in yaks ranged from 5.45% to 13.28% among the four different areas. The seroprevalence in different age groups were determined with apparent association.
The results indicated that T.gondii infection was prevalent in Tibetan mastiffs and yaks, which have implications for public health in this region. To our knowledge, this is the first seroprevalence survey of Tibetan mastiffs infected by T. gondii in The People’s Republic of China.
Toxoplasma gondii ; Survey; Tibetan mastiff; Yak; IHAT
Methanogens that populate the gastrointestinal tract of livestock ruminants contribute significantly to methane emissions from the agriculture industry. There is a great need to analyze archaeal microbiomes from a broad range of host species in order to establish causal relationships between the structure of methanogen communities and their potential for methane emission. In this report, we present an investigation of methanogenic archaeal populations in the foregut of alpacas.
We constructed individual 16S rRNA gene clone libraries from five sampled animals and recovered a total of 947 sequences which were assigned to 51 species-level OTUs. Individuals were found to each have between 21 and 27 OTUs, of which two to six OTUs were unique. As reported in other host species, Methanobrevibacter was the dominant genus in the alpaca, representing 88.3% of clones. However, the alpaca archaeal microbiome was different from other reported host species, as clones showing species-level identity to Methanobrevibacter millerae were the most abundant.
From our analysis, we propose a model to describe the population structure of Methanobrevibacter-related methanogens in the alpaca and in previously reported host species, which may contribute in unraveling the complexity of symbiotic archaeal communities in herbivores.
In the dairy cattle industry, Holstein and Jersey are the breeds most commonly used for production. They differ in performance by various traits, such as body size, milk production, and milk composition. With increased concerns about the impact of agriculture on climate change, potential differences in other traits, such as methane emission, also need to be characterized further. Since methane is produced in the rumen by methanogenic archaea, we investigated whether the population structure of methanogen communities would differ between Holsteins and Jerseys. Breed-specific rumen methanogen 16S rRNA gene clone libraries were constructed from pooled PCR products obtained from lactating Holstein and Jersey cows, generating 180 and 185 clones, respectively. The combined 365 sequences were assigned to 55 species-level operational taxonomic units (OTUs). Twenty OTUs, representing 85% of the combined library sequences, were common to both breeds, while 23 OTUs (36 sequences) were found only in the Holstein library and 12 OTUs (18 sequences) were found only in the Jersey library, highlighting increased diversity in the Holstein library. Other differences included the observation that sequences with species-like sequence identity to Methanobrevibacter millerae were represented more highly in the Jersey breed, while Methanosphaera-related sequences and novel uncultured methanogen clones were more frequent in the Holstein library. In contrast, OTU sequences with species-level sequence identity to Methanobrevibacter ruminantium were represented similarly in both libraries. Since the sampled animals were from a single herd consisting of two breeds which were fed the same diet and maintained under the same environmental conditions, the differences we observed may be due to differences in host breed genetics.
Methane (CH4) is a potent greenhouse gas (GHG), having a global warming potential 21 times that of carbon dioxide (CO2). Methane emissions from agriculture represent around 40% of the emissions produced by human-related activities, the single largest source being enteric fermentation, mainly in ruminant livestock. Technologies to reduce these emissions are lacking. Ruminant methane is formed by the action of methanogenic archaea typified by Methanobrevibacter ruminantium, which is present in ruminants fed a wide variety of diets worldwide. To gain more insight into the lifestyle of a rumen methanogen, and to identify genes and proteins that can be targeted to reduce methane production, we have sequenced the 2.93 Mb genome of M. ruminantium M1, the first rumen methanogen genome to be completed.
The M1 genome was sequenced, annotated and subjected to comparative genomic and metabolic pathway analyses. Conserved and methanogen-specific gene sets suitable as targets for vaccine development or chemogenomic-based inhibition of rumen methanogens were identified. The feasibility of using a synthetic peptide-directed vaccinology approach to target epitopes of methanogen surface proteins was demonstrated. A prophage genome was described and its lytic enzyme, endoisopeptidase PeiR, was shown to lyse M1 cells in pure culture. A predicted stimulation of M1 growth by alcohols was demonstrated and microarray analyses indicated up-regulation of methanogenesis genes during co-culture with a hydrogen (H2) producing rumen bacterium. We also report the discovery of non-ribosomal peptide synthetases in M. ruminantium M1, the first reported in archaeal species.
The M1 genome sequence provides new insights into the lifestyle and cellular processes of this important rumen methanogen. It also defines vaccine and chemogenomic targets for broad inhibition of rumen methanogens and represents a significant contribution to worldwide efforts to mitigate ruminant methane emissions and reduce production of anthropogenic greenhouse gases.
Identifying recent positive selection signatures in domesticated animals could provide information on genome response to strong directional selection from domestication and artificial selection. With the completion of the cattle genome, private companies are now providing large numbers of polymorphic markers for probing variation in domestic cattle (Bos taurus). We analysed over 7,500 polymorphic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in beef (Angus) and dairy (Holstein) cattle and outgroup species Bison, Yak and Banteng in an indirect test of inbreeding and positive selection in Domestic cattle.
Outgroup species: Bison, Yak and Banteng, were genotyped with high levels of success (90%) and used to determine ancestral and derived allele states in domestic cattle. Frequency spectrums of the derived alleles in Angus and Holstein were examined using Fay and Wu's H test. Significant divergences from the predicted frequency spectrums expected under neutrality were identified. This appeared to be the result of combined influences of positive selection, inbreeding and ascertainment bias for moderately frequent SNP. Approximately 10% of all polymorphisms identified as segregating in B. taurus were also segregating in Bison, Yak or Banteng; highlighting a large number of polymorphisms that are ancient in origin.
These results suggest that a large effective population size (Ne) of approximately 90,000 or more existed in B. taurus since they shared a common ancestor with Bison, Yak and Banteng ~1–2 million years ago (MYA). More recently Ne decreased sharply probably associated with domestication. This may partially explain the paradox of high levels of polymorphism in Domestic cattle and the relatively small recent Ne in this species. The period of inbreeding caused Fay and Wu's H statistic to depart from its expectation under neutrality mimicking the effect of selection. However, there was also evidence for selection, because high frequency derived alleles tended to cluster near each other on the genome.
Interest in methanogens from ruminants has resulted from the role of methane in global warming and from the fact that cattle typically lose 6 % of ingested energy as methane. Several species of methanogens have been isolated from ruminants. However they are difficult to culture, few have been consistently found in high numbers, and it is likely that major species of rumen methanogens are yet to be identified.
Total DNA from clarified bovine rumen fluid was amplified using primers specific for Archaeal 16S rRNA gene sequences (rDNA). Phylogenetic analysis of 41 rDNA sequences identified three clusters of methanogens. The largest cluster contained two distinct subclusters with rDNA sequences similar to Methanobrevibacter ruminantium 16S rDNA. A second cluster contained sequences related to 16S rDNA from Methanosphaera stadtmanae, an organism not previously described in the rumen. The third cluster contained rDNA sequences that may form a novel group of rumen methanogens.
The current set of 16S rRNA hybridization probes targeting methanogenic Archaea does not cover the phylogenetic diversity present in the rumen and possibly other gastro-intestinal tract environments. New probes and quantitative PCR assays are needed to determine the distribution of the newly identified methanogen clusters in rumen microbial communities.
The molecular diversity of rumen methanogens in feedlot cattle and the composition of the methanogen populations in these animals from two geographic locations were investigated using 16S rRNA gene libraries prepared from pooled PCR products from 10 animals in Ontario (127 clones) and 10 animals from Prince Edward Island (114 clones). A total of 241 clones were examined, with Methanobrevibacter ruminantium accounting for more than one-third (85 clones) of the clones identified. From these 241 clones, 23 different 16S rRNA phylotypes were identified. Feedlot cattle from Ontario, which were fed a corn-based diet, revealed 11 phylotypes (38 clones) not found in feedlot cattle from Prince Edward Island, whereas the Prince Edward Island cattle, which were fed potato by-products as a finishing diet, had 7 phylotypes (42 clones) not found in cattle from Ontario. Five sequences, representing the remaining 161 clones (67% of the clones), were common in both herds. Of the 23 different sequences, 10 sequences (136 clones) were 89.8 to 100% similar to those from cultivated methanogens belonging to the orders Methanobacteriales, Methanomicrobiales, and Methanosarcinales, and the remaining 13 sequences (105 clones) were 74.1 to 75.8% similar to those from Thermoplasma volcanium and Thermoplasma acidophilum. Overall, nine possible new species were identified from the two clone libraries, including two new species belonging to the order Methanobacteriales and a new genus/species within the order Methanosarcinales. From the present survey, it is difficult to conclude whether the geographical isolation between these two herds or differences between the two finishing diets directly influenced community structure in the rumen. Further studies are warranted to properly assess the differences between these two finishing diets.
The carrier status of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) is complicated, and the role of carrier animals in virus transmission is controversial. To investigate the carrier status of FMDV in animals that live in high altitude, Bos grunniens yaks were infected experimentally with FMDV O/Akesu/58.
All of the yaks showed clinical signs of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). Total antibody levels against FMDV measured by liquid-phase blocking enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (LPB-ELISA) and antibody levels against nonstructural proteins (NSP) showed dynamic changes. Three of the five yaks were indentified as carrier animals by RT-PCR method, and the OP fluids from carrier yaks can cause cytopathic effect (CPE) on BHK-21 cells. At last, five persistent infection strains were isolated. Nucleotide mutations of VP1 gene were analyzed.
After infected with FMDV, all of the yaks showed typical clinical signs. Yaks can keep carrier status for at least 8 months. Total antibody levels against FMDV measured by LPB-ELISA and antibody levels against NSP were at high level for carrier yaks. Sequence alignment of the five isolated strains showed obvious gene and protein mutations.
FMDV; Yak; Gene mutation; Carrier status
The pulmonary arterial pressure of Ladakhi yaks, at an altitude of about 4500m, was not significantly different from that found in yaks bred at low altitude. The pulmonary arterial resistance, however, was slightly but significantly increased in the high altitude group. It is concluded that the yak has adapted genetically to high altitude by largely eliminating the hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstrictor response. The pulmonary arterial pressure and resistance were significantly higher in indigenous Himalayan cattle than in the yaks. The dzo (cow X yak) had pulmonary haemodynamics similar to those of the yak. Half of the stols (dzo X bull) had pulmonary haemodynamics similar to those of the yak, while in the other half the findings resembled those in the cow. The results suggest that the genetic attenuation of the hypoxic vasoconstrictor response is transmitted as a simple autosomal dominant.
Melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) gene plays a key role in determining coat color in several species, including the cattle. However, up to now there is no report regarding the MC1R gene and the potential association of its mutations with coat colors in yak (Poephagus grunniens). In this study, we sequenced the encoding region of the MC1R gene in three yak breeds with completely white (Tianzhu breed) or black coat color (Jiulong and Maiwa breeds). The predicted coding region of the yak MC1R gene resulted of 954 bp, the same to that of the wild-type cattle sequence, with >99% identity. None of the mutation events reported in cattle was found. Comparing the yak obtained sequences, five nucleotide substitutions were detected, which defined three haplotypes (EY1, EY2, and EY3). Of the five mutations, two, characterizing the EY1 haplotype, were nonsynonymous substitutions (c.340C>A and c.871G>A) causing amino acid changes located in the first extracellular loop (p.Q114K) and in the seventh transmembrane region (p.A291T). In silico prediction might indicate a functional effect of the latter substitution. However, all three haplotypes were present in the three yak breeds with relatively consistent frequency distribution, despite of their distinguished coat colors, which suggested that there was no across-breed association between haplotypes or genotypes and black/white phenotypes, at least in the investigated breeds. Other genes may be involved in affecting coat color in the analyzed yaks.
Methanogens are the only known microorganisms capable of methane production, making them of interest when investigating methane abatement strategies. A number of experiments have been conducted to study the methanogen population in the rumen of cattle and sheep, as well as the relationship that methanogens have with other microorganisms. The rumen methanogen species differ depending on diet and geographical location of the host, as does methanogenesis, which can be reduced by modifying dietary composition, or by supplementation of monensin, lipids, organic acids, or plant compounds within the diet. Other methane abatement strategies that have been investigated are defaunation and vaccines. These mitigation methods target the methanogen population of the rumen directly or indirectly, resulting in varying degrees of efficacy. This paper describes the methanogens identified in the rumens of cattle and sheep, as well as a number of methane mitigation strategies that have been effective in vivo.
The distribution of genetic diversity of Toxoplasma gondii in wildlife is of interest to understand the transmission of this parasite in the environment. Limited information on T. gondii genotypes has been reported in wildlife in China. The objective of this study was to carry out the genetic characterization of T. gondii isolates from wild animals on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
Using PCR and multilocous polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) technology, we detected genetic diversity of T. gondii isolates from Qinghai vole, Plateau pika and Tibetan ground-tit in these regions.
In total, 183 brain tissues of different wild animals, including 48 Qinghai vole (Microtus fuscus), 101 Plateau pika (Ochotona curzoniae) and 34 Tibetan ground-tit (Pseudopodoces humilis), were tested for T. gondii infection. 11 of these were found to be positive for the T. gondii B1 gene by PCR amplification. These positive DNA samples were typed at 10 genetic markers, including 9 nuclear loci (SAG1, 5’-and 3’-SAG2, alternative SAG2, BTUB, GRA6, L358, PK1, c22-8, c29-2), and an apicoplast locus Apico. Six were successfully genotyped at eight or more genetic loci, and were grouped to three distinct genotypes. Four samples belonged to ToxoDB Genotype #10 and the other two samples were identified as two new genotypes (http://toxodb.org/toxo/).
To our knowledge, this is the first report of genetic typing of T. gondii isolates in wildlife on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China. The results show that there is a potential risk for the transmission of this parasite through the wildlife in this region.
Toxoplasma gondii; Genetic typing; PCR-RFLP; Wildlife; Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
The main objective of this work was to study the unique polymorphisms of the lactate dehydrogenase-1 (LDH1) gene in yak (Bos grunniens). Native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis revealed three phenotypes of LDH1 (a tetramer of H subunit) in yak heart and longissimus muscle extracts. The corresponding gene, ldhb, encoding H subunits of three LDH1 phenotypes was obtained by RT-PCR. A total of six nucleotide differences were detected in yak ldhb compared with that of cattle, of which five mutations cause amino acid substitutions. Sequence analysis shows that the G896A and C689A, mutations of ldhb gene, result in alterations of differently charged amino acids, and create the three phenotypes (F, M, and S) of yak LDH1. Molecular modeling of the H subunit of LDH indicates that the substituted amino acids are not located within NAD+ or substrate binding sites. PCR-RFLP examination of G896A mutation demonstrated that most LDH1-F samples are actually heterozygote at this site. These results help to elucidate the molecular basis and genetic characteristic of the three unique LDH1 phenotypes in yak.
Bos grunniens; lactate dehydrogenase; polymorphism; hypoxic adaptation
GeoChip 3.0, a microbial functional gene array, containing ~28,000 oligonucleotide probes and targeting ~57,000 sequences from 292 functional gene families, provided a powerful tool for researching microbial community structure in natural environments. The alpine meadow is a dominant plant community in the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau, hence it is important to profile the unique geographical flora and assess the response of the microbial communities to environmental variables. In this study, Geochip 3.0 was employed to understand the microbial functional gene diversity and structure, and metabolic potential and the major environmental factors in shaping microbial communities structure of alpine meadow soil in Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.
A total of 6143 microbial functional genes involved in carbon degradation, carbon fixation, methane oxidation and production, nitrogen cycling, phosphorus utilization, sulphur cycling, organic remediation, metal resistance, energy process and other category were detected in six soil samples and high diversity was observed. Interestingly, most of the detected genes associated with carbon degradation were derived from cultivated organisms. To identify major environmental factors in shaping microbial communities, Mantel test and CCA Statistical analyses were performed. The results indicated that altitude, C/N, pH and soil organic carbon were significantly (P < 0.05) correlated with the microbial functional structure and a total of 80.97% of the variation was significantly explained by altitude, C/N and pH. The C/N contributed 38.2% to microbial functional gene variation, which is in accordance with the hierarchical clustering of overall microbial functional genes.
High overall functional genes and phylogenetic diversity of the alpine meadow soil microbial communities existed in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Most of the genes involved in carbon degradation were derived from characterized microbial groups. Microbial composition and structures variation were significantly impacted by local environmental conditions, and soil C/N is the most important factor to impact the microbial structure in alpine meadow in Qinghai-Tibetan plateau.
Alpine meadow; Geochip 3.0; Microbial functional gene diversity; Environmental variable; Climate change
The Zoige wetland of the Tibetan plateau is at permanent low temperatures and is a methane emission heartland of the plateau; however, cold-adaptive methanogens in the soil are poorly understood. In this study, a variety of methanogenic enrichments at 15°C and 30°C were obtained from the wetland soil. It was demonstrated that hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis was the most efficient type at 30°C, while methanol supported the highest methanogenesis rate at 15°C. Moreover, methanol was the only substrate to produce methane more efficiently at 15°C than at 30°C. A novel psychrophilic methanogen, strain R15, was isolated from the methanol enrichment at 15°C. Phylogenetic analysis placed strain R15 within the genus Methanolobus, loosely clustered with Methanolobus taylorii (96.7% 16S rRNA similarity). R15 produced methane from methanol, trimethylamine, and methyl sulfide and differed from other Methanolobus species by growing and producing methane optimally at 18°C (specific growth rate of 0.063 ± 0.001 h−1) and even at 0°C. Based on these characteristics, R15 was proposed to be a new species and named “Methanolobus psychrophilus” sp. nov. The Km and Vmax of R15 for methanol conversion were determined to be 87.5 ± 0.4 μM and 0.39 ± 0.04 mM h−1 at 18°C, respectively, indicating a high affinity and conversion efficiency for methanol. The proportion of R15 in the soil was determined by quantitative PCR, and it accounted for 17.2% ± 2.1% of the total archaea, enumerated as 107 per gram of soil; the proportion was increased to 42.4% ± 2.3% in the methanol enrichment at 15°C. This study suggests that the psychrophilic methanogens in the Zoige wetland are likely to be methylotrophic and to play a role in methane emission of the wetland.
Prolactin receptor (PRLR) and growth hormone receptor (GHR) belong to the large superfamily of class 1 cytokine receptors. Both of them have been identified as candidate genes affecting key quantitative traits, like growth and reproduction in livestock. We have previously studied the molecular anatomy of the cytoplasmic domain of GHR in different cattle breeds and artiodactyl species. In this study we have analysed the corresponding cytoplasmic signalling region of PRLR.
We sequenced PRLR gene exon 10, coding for the major part of the cytoplasmic domain, from cattle, American bison, European bison, yak, sheep, pig and wild boar individuals. We found different patterns of variation in the two receptors within and between ruminants and pigs. Pigs and bison species have no variation within GHR exon 10, but show high haplotype diversity for the PRLR exon 10. In cattle, PRLR shows lower diversity than GHR. The Bovinae PRLR haplotype network fits better the known phylogenetic relationships between the species than that of the GHR, where differences within cattle breeds are larger than between the different species in the subfamily. By comparison with the wild boar haplotypes, a high number of subsequent nonsynonymous substitutions seem to have accumulated in the pig PRLR exon 10 after domestication.
Both genes affect a multitude of traits that have been targets of selection after domestication. The genes seem to have responded differently to different selection pressures imposed by human artificial selection. The results suggest possible effects of selective sweeps in GHR before domestication in the pig lineage or species divergence in the Bison lineage. The PRLR results may be explained by strong directional selection in pigs or functional switching.
The yak (Bos grunniens) is a long-haired bovine that lives at high altitudes and is an important source of milk, meat, fiber and fuel. The recent sequencing, assembly and annotation of its genome are expected to further our understanding of the means by which it has adapted to life at high altitudes and its ecologically important traits.
The Yak Genome Database (YGD) is an internet-based resource that provides access to genomic sequence data and predicted functional information concerning the genes and proteins of Bos grunniens. The curated data stored in the YGD includes genome sequences, predicted genes and associated annotations, non-coding RNA sequences, transposable elements, single nucleotide variants, and three-way whole-genome alignments between human, cattle and yak. YGD offers useful searching and data mining tools, including the ability to search for genes by name or using function keywords as well as GBrowse genome browsers and/or BLAST servers, which can be used to visualize genome regions and identify similar sequences. Sequence data from the YGD can also be downloaded to perform local searches.
A new yak genome database (YGD) has been developed to facilitate studies on high-altitude adaption and bovine genomics. The database will be continuously updated to incorporate new information such as transcriptome data and population resequencing data. The YGD can be accessed at http://me.lzu.edu.cn/yak.
Yak genome; Genome database; High-altitude adaption; Bovine genomics