The occurrence of melanism (darkening of the background coloration) is documented in 13 felid species, in some cases reaching high frequencies at the population level. Recent analyses have indicated that it arose multiple times in the Felidae, with three different species exhibiting unique mutations associated with this trait. The causative mutations in the remaining species have so far not been identified, precluding a broader assessment of the evolutionary dynamics of melanism in the Felidae. Among these, the leopard (Panthera pardus) is a particularly important target for research, given the iconic status of the ‘black panther’ and the extremely high frequency of melanism observed in some Asian populations. Another felid species from the same region, the Asian golden cat (Pardofelis temminckii), also exhibits frequent records of melanism in some areas. We have sequenced the coding region of the Agouti Signaling Protein (ASIP) gene in multiple leopard and Asian golden cat individuals, and identified distinct mutations strongly associated with melanism in each of them. The single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) detected among the P. pardus individuals was caused by a nonsense mutation predicted to completely ablate ASIP function. A different SNP was identified in P. temminckii, causing a predicted amino acid change that should also induce loss of function. Our results reveal two additional cases of species-specific mutations implicated in melanism in the Felidae, and indicate that ASIP mutations may play an important role in naturally-occurring coloration polymorphism.
Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) infects domestic cats and at least 20 additional species of non-domestic felids throughout the world. Strains specific to domestic cat (FIVFca) produce AIDS-like disease progression, sequelae and pathology providing an informative model for HIV infection in humans. Less is known about the immunological and pathological influence of FIV in other felid species although multiple distinct strains of FIV circulate in natural populations. As in HIV-1 and HIV-2, multiple diverse cross-species infections may have occurred. In the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, three divergent subtypes of lion FIV (FIVPle) are endemic, whereby 100% of adult lions are infected with one or more of these strains. Herein, the relative distribution of these subtypes in the population are surveyed and, combined with observed differences in lion mortality due to secondary infections based on FIVPle subtypes, the data suggest that FIVPle subtypes may have different patterns of pathogenicity and transmissibility among wild lion populations.
FIVPle; lions; CDV; Babesia
The wildcat (Felis silvestris ssp.) is a conservation concern largely due to introgressive hybridization with its congener F. s. catus, the common domestic cat. Because of a recent divergence and entirely overlapping ranges, hybridization is common and pervasive between these taxa threatening the genetic integrity of remaining wildcat populations. Identifying pure wildcats for inclusion in conservation programs using current morphological discriminants is difficult because of gross similarity between them and the domestic, critically hampering conservation efforts. Here, we present a vetted panel of microsatellite loci and mitochondrial polymorphisms informative for each of the 5 naturally evolved wildcat subspecies and the derived domestic cat. We also present reference genotypes for each assignment class. Together, these marker sets and corresponding reference genotypes allow for the development of a genetic rational for defining “units of conservation” within a phylogenetically based taxonomy of the entire F. silvestris species complex. We anticipate this marker panel will allow conservators to assess genetic integrity and quantify admixture in managed wildcat populations and to be a starting point for more in-depth analysis of hybridization.
captive breeding; conservation genetics; hybridization; introgression; reintroduction microsatellite
Thermal capsular shrinkage was popular for the treatment of shoulder instability, despite a paucity of outcomes data in the literature defining the indications for this procedure or supporting its long-term efficacy. The purpose of this study was to perform a clinical evaluation of radiofrequency thermal capsular shrinkage for the treatment of shoulder instability, with a minimum 2-year follow-up. From 1999 to 2001, 101 consecutive patients with mild to moderate shoulder instability underwent shoulder stabilization surgery with thermal capsular shrinkage using a monopolar radiofrequency device. Follow-up included a subjective outcome questionnaire, discussion of pain, instability, and activity level. Mean follow-up was 3.3 years (range 2.0–4.7 years). The thermal capsular shrinkage procedure failed due to instability and/or pain in 31% of shoulders at a mean time of 39 months. In patients with unidirectional anterior instability and those with concomitant labral repair, the procedure proved effective. Patients with multidirectional instability had moderate success. In contrast, four of five patients with isolated posterior instability failed. Thermal capsular shrinkage has been advocated for the treatment of shoulder instability, particularly mild to moderate capsular laxity. The ease of the procedure makes it attractive. However, our retrospective review revealed an overall failure rate of 31% in 80 patients with 2-year minimum follow-up. This mid- to long-term cohort study adds to the literature lacking support for thermal capsulorrhaphy in general, particularly posterior instability.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11420-010-9187-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
shoulder instability; arthroscopic shoulder stabilization; thermal capsulorrhaphy; outcomes
To evaluate the effects of previously reported host genetics factors that influence cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis incidence, progression to AIDS, and efficacy of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for mortality, retinitis progression, and retinal detachment in patients with CMV retinitis and AIDS in the era of HAART.
Prospective, multicenter, observational study.
Cox proportional hazards model based genetic association tests examined the influence of IL-10R1_S420L, CCR5Δ32, CCR2-V64I, CCR5 P1, and SDF-3`A polymorphisms among patients with mortality, retinitis progression, and retinal detachment. Participants were 203 European American and 117 African American patients with AIDS and CMV retinitis.
European American patients with the CCR5 +.P1.+ promoter haplotype showed increased risk for mortality (HR=1.83; 95% CI: 1.00–3.40; P=0.05). Although the same haplotype also trended for increased risk for mortality in African American patients, the result was not significant (HR=2.28; 95% CI: 0.93–5.60; P=0.07). However, this haplotype was associated with faster retinitis progression in African Americans (HR=5.22; 95% CI: 1.54–17.71; P=0.007). Increased risk of retinitis progression was also evident for African American patients with the SDF1-3′A variant (HR=3.89; 95% CI: 1.42–10.60; P=0.008). In addition, the SDF1-3′A variant increased the retinal detachment risk in this patient group (HR=3.05; 95% CI: 1.01–9.16; P=0.05).
Besides overall immune health, host genetic factors influence mortality, retinitis progression, and retinal detachment in patients with AIDS and CMV retinitis that are receiving HAART.
A recent genome-wide study showed that the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the HLA-DP region were associated with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in Japanese and Thai persons. We tested the effects of HLA-DP SNPs for all major HBV outcomes in Han Chinese (n = 1742): HBV resistance, clearance, chronic infection, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. HLA - DPA1 rs3077 T was strongly associated with decreased risk of chronic HBV infection (odds ratio, .62; P = .001), consistent with the previous report. We showed for the first time to our knowledge that it is a predictor for HBV clearance (odds ratio, 2.41; P < .001). However, rs3077 was not associated with the development of cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma.
Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a major health issue, especially in Asia. A recent genome-wide association study (GWAS) has implicated genetic variants in the HLA-DP locus associated with chronic hepatitis B in Japanese and Thai populations. To confirm whether the polymorphisms at the HLA-DP genes are associated with persistent chronic hepatitis B virus infection in Han Chinese, we conducted an independent case-control study using 521 persistent chronic HBV carriers and 819 controls that included 571 persons with HBV natural clearance and 248 never HBV-infected (healthy) individuals. Eleven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in a region including HLA-DPA and HLA-DPB and an adjacent SNP in strong linkage disequilibrium (LD) with a neighboring HLA-DR13 locus were genotyped using TaqMan SNP genotyping assay. Eleven variants at HLA-DP showed a strong association with persistent chronic HBV carrier status (p = 1.82×10−12 to 0.01). We also stratified the analysis by HBV clearance status to test the association between these polymorphisms and HBV natural clearance; similar results were obtained (p = 2.70×10−11 to 0.003). Included SNPs define highly structured haplotypes which were also strongly associated with HBV chronic infection (Block 1: odds ratio (OR) = 0.54, p = 8.73×10−7; block 2: OR = 1.98, p = 1.37×10−10). These results further confirm that genetic variants in the HLA-DP locus are strongly associated with persistent HBV infection in the Han Chinese population.
Chronic hepatitis B; Haplotype association; GWAS; SNPs; Joint effects
The domestic cat is afflicted with multiple viruses that serve as powerful models for human disease including cancers, SARS and HIV/AIDS. Cat viruses that cause these diseases have been studied for decades revealing detailed insight concerning transmission, virulence, origins and pathogenesis. Here we review recent genetic advances that have questioned traditional wisdom regarding the origins of virulent Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) diseases, the pathogenic potential of Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) in wild non-domestic Felidae species, and the restriction of Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) mediated immune impairment to domestic cats rather than other Felidae species. The most recent interpretations indicate important new evolutionary conclusions implicating these deadly infectious agents in domestic and non-domestic felids.
FIV; FCoV; FeLV; Felidae
Background. High-throughput genome-wide techniques have facilitated the identification of previously unknown host proteins involved in cellular human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Recently, 3 independent studies have used small interfering RNA technology to silence each gene in the human genome to determine the importance of each in HIV infection. Genes conferring a significant effect were termed HIV-dependency factors (HDFs).
Methods. We assembled high-density panels of 6380 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 278 HDF genes and tested for genotype associations with HIV infection and AIDS progression in 1633 individuals from clinical AIDS cohorts.
Results. After statistical correction for multiple tests, significant associations with HIV acquisition were found for SNPs in 2 genes, NCOR2 and IDH1. Weaker associations with AIDS progression were revealed for SNPs within the TM9SF2 and EGFR genes.
Conclusions. This study independently verifies the influence of NCOR2 and IDH1 on HIV transmission, and its findings suggest that variation in these genes affects susceptibility to HIV infection in exposed individuals.
Matrix extracellular phosphoglycoprotein (MEPE) belongs to a family of small integrin-binding ligand N-linked glycoproteins (SIBLINGs) that play a key role in skeleton development, particularly in mineralization, phosphate regulation and osteogenesis. MEPE associated disorders cause various physiological effects, such as loss of bone mass, tumors and disruption of renal function (hypophosphatemia). The study of this developmental gene from an evolutionary perspective could provide valuable insights on the adaptive diversification of morphological phenotypes in vertebrates.
Here we studied the adaptive evolution of the MEPE gene in 26 Eutherian mammals and three birds. The comparative genomic analyses revealed a high degree of evolutionary conservation of some coding and non-coding regions of the MEPE gene across mammals indicating a possible regulatory or functional role likely related with mineralization and/or phosphate regulation. However, the majority of the coding region had a fast evolutionary rate, particularly within the largest exon (1467 bp). Rodentia and Scandentia had distinct substitution rates with an increased accumulation of both synonymous and non-synonymous mutations compared with other mammalian lineages. Characteristics of the gene (e.g. biochemical, evolutionary rate, and intronic conservation) differed greatly among lineages of the eight mammalian orders. We identified 20 sites with significant positive selection signatures (codon and protein level) outside the main regulatory motifs (dentonin and ASARM) suggestive of an adaptive role. Conversely, we find three sites under selection in the signal peptide and one in the ASARM motif that were supported by at least one selection model. The MEPE protein tends to accumulate amino acids promoting disorder and potential phosphorylation targets.
MEPE shows a high number of selection signatures, revealing the crucial role of positive selection in the evolution of this SIBLING member. The selection signatures were found mainly outside the functional motifs, reinforcing the idea that other regions outside the dentonin and the ASARM might be crucial for the function of the protein and future studies should be undertaken to understand its importance.
Estimates of survival for the young of a species are critical for population models. These models can often be improved by determining the effects of management actions and population abundance on this demographic parameter. We used multiple sources of data collected during 1982-2008 and a live recapture-dead recovery modeling framework to estimate and model survival of Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi) kittens (age 0 – 1 year). Overall, annual survival of Florida panther kittens was 0.323 ± 0.071 (SE), which was lower than estimates used in previous population models. In 1995, female pumas from Texas (P. c. stanleyana) were released into occupied panther range as part of an intentional introgression program to restore genetic variability. We found that kitten survival generally increased with degree of admixture: F1 admixed and backcrossed to Texas kittens survived better than canonical Florida panther and backcrossed to canonical kittens. Average heterozygosity positively influenced kitten and older panther survival, whereas index of panther abundance negatively influenced kitten survival. Our results provide strong evidence for the positive population-level impact of genetic introgression on Florida panthers. Our approach to integrate data from multiple sources was effective at improving robustness as well as precision of estimates of Florida panther kitten survival, and can be useful in estimating vital rates for other elusive species with sparse data.
Burnham model; carnivore; Florida panther; juvenile; model averaging; survival
Chromosome 3p21–22 harbors two clusters of chemokine receptor genes, several of which serve as major or minor coreceptors of HIV-1. Although the genetic association of CCR5 and CCR2 variants with HIV-1 pathogenesis is well known, the role of variation in other nearby chemokine receptor genes remain unresolved. We genotyped exonic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in chemokine receptor genes: CCR3, CCRL2, and CXCR6 (at 3p21) and CCR8 and CX3CR1 (at 3p22), the majority of which were non-synonymous. The individual SNPs were tested for their effects on disease progression and outcomes in five treatment-naïve HIV-1/AIDS natural history cohorts. In addition to the known CCR5 and CCR2 associations, significant associations were identified for CCR3, CCR8, and CCRL2 on progression to AIDS. A multivariate survival analysis pointed to a previously undetected association of a non-conservative amino acid change F167Y in CCRL2 with AIDS progression: 167F is associated with accelerated progression to AIDS (RH = 1.90, P = 0.002, corrected). Further analysis indicated that CCRL2-167F was specifically associated with more rapid development of pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) (RH = 2.84, 95% CI 1.28–6.31) among four major AIDS–defining conditions. Considering the newly defined role of CCRL2 in lung dendritic cell trafficking, this atypical chemokine receptor may affect PCP through immune regulation and inducing inflammation.
Human chemokine receptors are cell surface proteins that may be utilized by HIV-1 for entry into host cells. DNA variation in the HIV-1 major coreceptor CCR5 affects HIV-1 infection and progression. This study comprehensively assesses the role of genetic variation of multiple chemokine receptor genes clustered in the chromosome 3p21 and 3p22 on HIV-1 disease outcomes in HIV-1 natural history cohorts. The multivariate survival analyses identified functional variants that altered disease progression rate in CCRL2, CCR3, and CCR8. CCRL2-F167Y affects the rate to AIDS development through a specific protection against pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP), a common AIDS–defining condition. Our study identified this atypical chemokine receptor CCRL2 as a key factor involved in PCP, possibly through inducing inflammation in the lung.
Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) was not detected in Florida pumas (Puma concolor coryi) in almost 20 yr of surveillance; however, the finding of two FeLV antigen-positive pumas during the 2002–2003 capture season led to an investigation of FeLV in the population. Between January 1990 and April 2007, the proportion of pumas testing FeLV antibody positive increased, with antibody-positive pumas concentrated in the northern portion of puma range. Five of 131 (4%) pumas sampled between July 2000 and April 2007 were viremic, with all cases clustered in Okaloacoochee Slough (OKS). Clinical signs and clinical pathology at capture were absent or included lymphadenopathy, moderate-to-severe anemia, and lymphopenia. All viremic pumas died; causes of death were septicemia (n=2), intraspecific aggression (n=2), and anemia/dehydration (n=1). Outcome after FeLV exposure in pumas was similar to that in domestic cats, with evidence of regressive, latent, and persistent infections. Management of the epizootic included vaccination, and as of April 2007, 52 free-ranging pumas had received one or more inoculations. Vaccinations were concentrated in OKS and in a band between OKS and the remainder of the puma population. There have been no new cases since July 2004; however, the potential for reintroduction of the virus remains.
Feline leukemia virus; Florida panther; infectious disease; Puma concolor coryi; retrovirus; vaccination
The emergent strain of FeLV, a novel subgroup A, was probably transmitted to panthers by a domestic cat.
From 2002 through 2005, an outbreak of feline leukemia virus (FeLV) occurred in Florida panthers (Puma concolor coryi). Clinical signs included lymphadenopathy, anemia, septicemia, and weight loss; 5 panthers died. Not associated with FeLV outcome were the genetic heritage of the panthers (pure Florida vs. Texas/Florida crosses) and co-infection with feline immunodeficiency virus. Genetic analysis of panther FeLV, designated FeLV-Pco, determined that the outbreak likely came from 1 cross-species transmission from a domestic cat. The FeLV-Pco virus was closely related to the domestic cat exogenous FeLV-A subgroup in lacking recombinant segments derived from endogenous FeLV. FeLV-Pco sequences were most similar to the well-characterized FeLV-945 strain, which is highly virulent and strongly pathogenic in domestic cats because of unique long terminal repeat and envelope sequences. These unique features may also account for the severity of the outbreak after cross-species transmission to the panther.
Communicable diseases; emerging; leukemia virus; feline; molecular biology; immunodeficiency virus; research
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis is a common opportunistic infection among patients with AIDS and still causes visual morbidity despite the wide spread usage of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). The ubiquitous CMV pathogen contains a human interleukin-10 (IL-10) homolog in its genome and utilizes it to evade host immune reactions through an IL-10 receptor mediated immune-suppression pathway.
Effects of IL-10R1, IL-10 and previously described AIDS restriction gene variants are investigated on the development of CMV retinitis in the Longitudinal Study of the Ocular Complications of AIDS (LSOCA) cohort (n=1284).
In Europen Americans (n=750), a haplotype carrying an amino acid changing variation in the cytoplasmic domain (S420L) of IL-10R1 can be protective (OR = 0.14, CI: 0.02–0.94, P = 0.04) against, whereas another haplotype carrying an amino acid changing variation in the extracellular domain (I224V) of IL-10R1 can be more susceptible (OR = 6.21, CI: 1.22–31.54, P = 0.03) to CMV retinitis. In African Americans (n=534), potential effects of IL-10 variants are observed.
Host genetics may have a role in the occurrence of CMV retinitis in patients infected with HIV.
AIDS; CMV retinitis; HIV-1; host genetics; interleukin-10 receptor
Approximately 10 to 15% of patients with AIDS but without ocular opportunistic infections will have a presumed neuroretinal disorder (HIV-NRD), manifested by reduced contrast sensitivity and abnormal visual fields. The loss of contrast sensitivity often is sufficient to impair reading speed. To evaluate the effect of host genetics on HIV-NRD, we explored validated AIDS restriction gene variants CCR5Δ32, CCR2-64I, CCR5 P1, SDF-3`A, IL-10-5`A, RANTES -403A, RANTES -28G, RANTES-In1.1C, CX3CR1-249I, CX3CR1-280M, IFNG-179T, MDR1-3435T, and MCP-1364G, each of which has been implicated previously to influence HIV-1 infection, AIDS progression, therapy response, and antiviral drug metabolism, and an IL-10 receptor gene, IL-10R1, in the Longitudinal Study of the Ocular Complications of AIDS (LSOCA) cohort. In European Americans (cases=55, controls=290), IL-10-5`A variant and its promoter haplotype (HR=2.09, CI: 1.19–3.67, P = 0.01); in African Americans (cases=54, controls=180) RANTES-In1.1C and the associated haplotype (HR=2.72, CI: 1.48–5.00, P = 0.001), showed increased HIV-NRD susceptibility. While sample sizes are small and P values do not pass a strict Bonferroni correction, our results suggest that, in European Americans, an IL-10-related pathway, and, in African Americans, chemokine receptor ligand polymorphisms in RANTES are risk factors for HIV- NRD development. Clearly, further studies are warrented.
AIDS; HIV-1; host genetics; HIV-neuroretinal disorder
The domestic cat (Felis catus) shows remarkable sensitivity to
the adverse effects of phenolic drugs, including acetaminophen and aspirin, as
well as structurally-related toxicants found in the diet and environment. This
idiosyncrasy results from pseudogenization of the gene encoding
UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT) 1A6, the major species-conserved phenol
detoxification enzyme. Here, we established the phylogenetic timing of
disruptive UGT1A6 mutations and explored the hypothesis that
gene inactivation in cats was enabled by minimal exposure to plant-derived
toxicants. Fixation of the UGT1A6 pseudogene was estimated to
have occurred between 35 and 11 million years ago with all extant Felidae having
dysfunctional UGT1A6. Out of 22 additional taxa sampled,
representative of most Carnivora families, only brown hyena (Parahyaena
brunnea) and northern elephant seal (Mirounga
angustirostris) showed inactivating UGT1A6
mutations. A comprehensive literature review of the natural diet of the sampled
taxa indicated that all species with defective UGT1A6 were
hypercarnivores (>70% dietary animal matter). Furthermore those
species with UGT1A6 defects showed evidence for reduced amino
acid constraint (increased dN/dS ratios approaching the neutral
selection value of 1.0) as compared with species with intact
UGT1A6. In contrast, there was no evidence for reduced
amino acid constraint for these same species within UGT1A1, the
gene encoding the enzyme responsible for detoxification of endogenously
generated bilirubin. Our results provide the first evidence suggesting that diet
may have played a permissive role in the devolution of a mammalian drug
metabolizing enzyme. Further work is needed to establish whether these
preliminary findings can be generalized to all Carnivora.
Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), a feline lentivirus related to HIV, causes immune dysfunction in domestic and wild cats. The Pallas’ cat is the only species from Asia known to harbor a species-specific strain of FIV designated FIVOma in natural populations. Here, a 25% seroprevalence of FIV is reported from 28 wild Mongolian Pallas’ cats sampled from 2000-2008. Phylogenetic analysis of proviral RT-Pol from eight FIVOma isolates from Mongolia, Russia, China and Kazakhstan reveals a unique monophyletic lineage of the virus within the Pallas’ cat population, most closely related to the African cheetah and leopard FIV strains. Histopathological examination of lymph node and spleen from infected and uninfected Pallas’ cats suggests that FIVOma causes immune depletion in its’ native host.
FIV; Pallas’ cat; Evolution; Histopathology; Felidae
We attempted to refine the understanding of an association of Y-chromosomal haplogroup I (hg-I) with enhanced AIDS progression that had been previously reported. First, we compared the progression phenotype between hg-I and its phylogenetically closest haplogroup J (hg-J). Then, we took a candidate gene approach resequencing DDX3Y, a crucial autoimmunity gene, in hg-I and other common European Y- chromosome haplogroups looking for functional variants. We extended the genetic analyses to CD24L4 and compared and contrasted the roles of disease based selection, demographic history, and population structure shaping the contemporary genetic landscape of hg-I chromosomes. Our results confirmed and refined the AIDS progression signal to hg-I, though no gene variant was identified that can explain the disease association. Molecular evolutionary and genetic analyses of the examined loci suggested a unique evolutionary history in hg-I, probably shaped by complex interactions of selection, demographic history, and high geographical differentiation leading to the formation of distinct hg-I subhaplogroups that today are associated with HIV/AIDS onset. Clearly, further studies on Y chromosome candidate loci sequencing to discover functional variants and discern the roles of evolutionary factors are warranted.
AIDS progression; CD24L4; DDX3Y; population growth; population structure; selection; Y chromosome
As we enter an era when testing millions of SNPs in a single gene association study will become the standard, consideration of multiple comparisons is an essential part of determining statistical significance. Bonferroni adjustments can be made but are conservative due to the preponderance of linkage disequilibrium (LD) between genetic markers, and permutation testing is not always a viable option. Three major classes of corrections have been proposed to correct the dependent nature of genetic data in Bonferroni adjustments: permutation testing and related alternatives, principal components analysis (PCA), and analysis of blocks of LD across the genome. We consider seven implementations of these commonly used methods using data from 1514 European American participants genotyped for 700,078 SNPs in a GWAS for AIDS.
A Bonferroni correction using the number of LD blocks found by the three algorithms implemented by Haploview resulted in an insufficiently conservative threshold, corresponding to a genome-wide significance level of α = 0.15 - 0.20. We observed a moderate increase in power when using PRESTO, SLIDE, and simpleℳ when compared with traditional Bonferroni methods for population data genotyped on the Affymetrix 6.0 platform in European Americans (α = 0.05 thresholds between 1 × 10-7 and 7 × 10-8).
Correcting for the number of LD blocks resulted in an anti-conservative Bonferroni adjustment. SLIDE and simpleℳ are particularly useful when using a statistical test not handled in optimized permutation testing packages, and genome-wide corrected p-values using SLIDE, are much easier to interpret for consumers of GWAS studies.
The authors report on the genetic characterization of a deletion in the feline CRX gene in the Rdy cat, defining a new large-animal model for Leber congenital amaurosis, retinitis pigmentosa, and cone–rod dystrophy.
To elucidate the gene defect in a pedigree of cats segregating for autosomal dominant rod–cone dysplasia (Rdy), a retinopathy characterized extensively from a clinical perspective. Disease expression in Rdy cats is comparable to that in young patients with congenital blindness (Leber congenital amaurosis [LCA] or retinitis pigmentosa [RP]).
A pedigree segregating for Rdy was generated and phenotyped by clinical ophthalmic examination methods including ophthalmoscopy and full-field flash electroretinography. Short tandem repeat loci tightly linked to candidate genes for autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa in humans were genotyped in the pedigree.
Significant linkage was established to the candidate gene CRX (LOD = 5.56, θ = 0) on cat chromosome E2. A single base pair deletion was identified in exon 4 (n.546delC) in affected individuals but not in unaffected littermates. This mutation generates a frame shift in the transcript, introducing a premature stop codon truncating the putative CRX peptide, which would eliminate the critical transcriptional activation region. Clinical observations corroborate previously reported clinical reports about Rdy. Results show that the cone photoreceptor system was more severely affected than the rods in the early disease process.
A putative mutation causative of the Rdy phenotype has been described as a single base pair deletion in exon 4 of the CRX gene, thus identifying the first animal model for CRX-linked disease that closely resembles the human disease. As such, it will provide valuable insights into the mechanisms underlying these diseases and their variable presentation, as well as providing a suitable model for testing therapies for these diseases.
Cytosolic glutathione transferases (cGST) are a large group of ubiquitous enzymes involved in detoxification and are well known for their undesired side effects during chemotherapy. In this work we have performed thorough phylogenetic analyses to understand the various aspects of the evolution and functional diversification of cGSTs. Furthermore, we assessed plausible correlations between gene duplication and substrate specificity of gene paralogs in humans and selected species, notably in mammalian enzymes and their natural substrates.
We present a molecular phylogeny of cytosolic GSTs that shows that several classes of cGSTs are more ubiquitous and thus have an older ancestry than previously thought. Furthermore, we found that positive selection is implicated in the diversification of cGSTs. The number of duplicate genes per class is generally higher for groups of enzymes that metabolize products of oxidative damage.
1) Protection against oxidative stress seems to be the major driver of positive selection in mammalian cGSTs, explaining the overall expansion pattern of this subfamily;
2) Given the functional redundancy of GSTs that metabolize xenobiotic chemicals, we would expect the loss of gene duplicates, but by contrast we observed a gene expansion of this family, which likely has been favored by: i) the diversification of endogenous substrates; ii) differential tissue expression; and iii) increased specificity for a particular molecule;
3) The increased availability of sequence data from diversified taxa is likely to continue to improve our understanding of the early origin of the different cGST classes.
Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) causes AIDS in the domestic cat (Felis catus) but has not been explicitly associated with AIDS pathology in any of the eight free-ranging species of Felidae that are endemic with circulating FIV strains. African lion (Panthera leo) populations are infected with lion-specific FIV strains (FIVple), yet there remains uncertainty about the degree to which FIV infection impacts their health. Reported CD4+ T-lymphocyte depletion in FIVple infected lions and anecdotal reports of lion morbidity associated with FIV sero-prevalence emphasize the concern as to whether FIVple is innocuous or pathogenic. Here we monitored clinical, biochemical, histological and serological parameters among FIVple-positive (N=47) as compared to FIVple negative (N=17) lions anesthetized and sampled on multiple occasions between 1999 and 2006 in Botswana. Relative to uninfected lions, FIVple infected lions displayed a significant elevation in the prevalence of AIDS defining conditions: lymphandenopathy, gingivitis, tongue papillomas, dehydration, and poor coat condition, as well as displaying abnormal red blood cell parameters and elevated liver enzymes and serum proteins. Spleen and lymph node laparoscopic biopsies from free-ranging FIVple infected lions (N=8) revealed evidence of lymphoid depletion, the hallmark pathology documented in immunodefieciency virus infections of humans (HIV-1), macaques, and domestic cats. We conclude that over time FIVple infections in free-ranging lions can lead to adverse clinical, immunological, and pathological outcomes in some individuals that parallel sequelae caused by lentivirus infection in humans (HIV), Asian macaques (SIV) and domestic cats (FIVfca).
Two percentage of the cat genome is a repetitive, feline-specific satellite sequence (FA-SAT) of 483 bp and 65% guanine-cytosine content. Previous chromosomal localization of the satellite has demonstrated the satellite’s presence on several discrete regions of the telomeres of chromosomes, predominately on the D, E, and F chromosome groups. The recent assembly of the 1.9× whole-genome shotgun (WGS) sequence of cat illustrates the challenge of the assembly of these large numbers of relatively short, similar sequences. Clones with paired end reads that include FA-SAT sequence have a high level of assembly discrepancies compared with clones with other types of repetitive elements, such as short interspersed nuclear elements (SINEs) and long interspersed nuclear elements (LINEs). The influence of the presence of FA-SAT but not SINEs and LINEs on genome assembly may likely reflect the evolutionary emergence of FA-SAT, which has lead to an excess of FA-SAT copies with identical sequence, which is less an issue with older, more diverse SINE and LINE sequences. The FA-SATs are restricted to a few hundred discrete regions of the cat genome, and associated errors in the assembly seem to be restricted to these loci. The findings regarding the feline-specific sequence should be considered in the pending 8x assembly of the cat genome.
artifacts; FA-SAT; genome assembly; repetitive elements; satellite; whole-genome shotgun
The extent to which taste receptor specificity correlates with, or even predicts, diet choice is not known. We recently reported that the insensitivity to sweeteners shown by species of Felidae can be explained by their lacking of a functional Tas1r2 gene. To broaden our understanding of the relationship between the structure of the sweet receptors and preference for sugars and artificial sweeteners, we measured responses to 12 sweeteners in 6 species of Carnivora and sequenced the coding regions of Tas1r2 in these same or closely related species. The lion showed no preference for any of the 12 sweet compounds tested, and it possesses the pseudogenized Tas1r2. All other species preferred some of the natural sugars, and their Tas1r2 sequences, having complete open reading frames, predict functional sweet receptors. In addition to preferring natural sugars, the lesser panda also preferred 3 (neotame, sucralose, and aspartame) of the 6 artificial sweeteners. Heretofore, it had been reported that among vertebrates, only Old World simians could taste aspartame. The observation that the lesser panda highly preferred aspartame could be an example of evolutionary convergence in the identification of sweet stimuli.
carnivore; diet; sweeteners; sweet receptor; taste testing