Fecal specimens collected from 121 laboratory mice, 30 striped field mice (Apodemus agrarius), 70 yellow-necked mice (Apodemus flavicollis), and 3 bank voles (Myodes glareolus) were tested in sample pools for the presence of murine noroviruses (MNV). Ten of 41 laboratory mice and 2 of 3 striped field mice pooled samples were positive for MNV. All laboratory mouse MNVs were closely related to previously described MNVs. The complete ORF2 (VP1) of both striped field mouse MNVs identified in this study was 1623 nt (541 aa) long and differed at 12% nt (8% aa) positions from each other, at 22–24% nt (15–18% aa) positions from the laboratory mouse MNVs and at 20–22% nt (13–14% aa) positions from the recently described wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) MNVs. This study provides further evidence for the circulation of novel, genetically diverse MNVs in wild mice.
mouse; calicivirus; murine norovirus
Porcine circovirus associated disease (PCVAD) is currently one of the most economically important diseases in the global swine industry. Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) is the primary causative agent, however co-infection with other swine pathogens such as porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) is often required to induce the full spectrum of clinical PCVAD. While the specific mechanisms of viral co-infection that lead to clinical disease are not fully understood, immune modulation by the co-infecting viruses likely plays a critical role. We evaluated the ability of dendritic cells (DC) infected with PRRSV, PCV2 or both to induce regulatory T cells (Tregs) in vitro. DCs infected with PCV2 significantly increased CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ Tregs (p<0.05) and DCs co-infected with PRRSV and PCV2 induced significantly higher numbers of Tregs than with PCV2 alone (p<0.05). Cytokine analysis indicated that the induction of Tregs by co-infected DCs may be dependent on TGF-β and not IL-10. Our data support the immunomodulatory role of PCV2/PRRSV co-infection in the pathogenesis of PCVAD, specifically via Treg mediated immunosuppression.
porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV); porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2); dendritic cells; porcine circovirus associated disease (PCVAD); regulatory T cell; co-infection
Bordetella avium continues to be an economic issue in the turkey industry as the causative agent of bordetellosis, which often leads to serious secondary infections. This study presents a broad characterization of the antibiotic resistance patterns in this diverse collection of B. avium strains collected over the past thirty years. In addition, the plasmid basis for the antibiotic resistance was characterized. The antibiotic resistance pattern allowed the development of a novel enrichment culture method that was subsequently employed to gather new isolates from diseased turkeys and a healthy sawhet owl. While a healthy turkey flock was shown to seroconvert by four weeks-of-age, attempts to culture B. avium from healthy turkey poults were unsuccessful. Western blot of B. avium strains using pooled serum from diseased and healthy commercial turkey flocks revealed both antigenic similarities and differences between strains. In sum, the work documents the continued exposure of commercial turkey flocks to B. avium and the need for development of an effective, inexpensive vaccine to control spread of the disease.
Bordetellosis incidence; serology; antibiotic resistance; Bordetella avium; poultry
Rhabdoviruses infect a variety of hosts, including non-avian reptiles. Consensus PCR techniques were used to obtain partial RNA-dependent RNA polymerase gene sequence from five rhabdoviruses of South American lizards; Marco, Chaco, Timbo, Sena Madureira, and a rhabdovirus from a caiman lizard (Dracaena guianensis). The caiman lizard rhabdovirus formed inclusions in erythrocytes, which may be a route for infecting hematophagous insects. This is the first information on behavior of a rhabdovirus in squamates. We also obtained sequence from two rhabdoviruses of Australian lizards, confirming previous Charleville virus sequence and finding that, unlike a previous sequence report but in agreement with serologic reports, Almpiwar virus is clearly distinct from Charleville virus. Bayesian and maximum likelihood phylogenetic analysis revealed that most known rhabdoviruses of squamates cluster in the Almpiwar subgroup. The exception is Marco virus, which is found in the Hart Park group.
Rhabdoviridae; phylogeny; Dracaena guianensis; Marco virus; Chaco virus; Timbo virus; Sena Madureira virus
The coagulase negative staphylococci (CNS) are the most prevalent mastitis pathogen group yet their virulence characteristics have not been well described. We investigated the presence of 19 classical and newly described staphylococcal superantigen (SAg) genes in CNS isolates from bovine intramammary infections (IMI). A total of 263 CNS representing 11 different Staphylococcus spp. were examined, and 31.2% (n = 82) of CNS isolates had one or more SAg genes; there were 21 different SAg gene combinations. The most prevalent combination of SAg genes (seb, seln, and selq; n = 45) was found in S. chromogenes, S. xylosus, S. haemolyticus, S. sciuri subsp. carnaticus, S. simulans and S. succinus. The genes for SAgs appear to be widely distributed amongst CNS isolated from bovine IMI.
coagulase-negative staphylococci; staphylococcal superantigens; multiplex PCR
Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) are the most frequently isolated pathogens from cows with intramammary infection (IMI). Although API STAPH ID 20, a commercially available identification system, and PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) of the gap gene (gap PCR-RFLP) have been successfully applied for the identification of CNS isolates from human specimens, their accuracy in the identification of veterinary isolates has not been fully established. In this study, we identified 263 CNS isolates from bovine IMI at species level by partial 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis as the definitive test. Species identification obtained using partial 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis was compared to results from the API STAPH ID 20 and gap PCR-RFLP analysis. Eleven different CNS species were identified by partial 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis. Only 76.0 % (200 / 263) of the species identification results obtained by API STAPH ID 20 matched those obtained by partial 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis, whereas 97.0 % (255 / 263) of the species identification results obtained by the gap PCR-RFLP analysis matched those obtained by partial 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis. The gap PCR-RFLP analysis could be a useful and reliable alternative method for the species identification of CNS isolates from bovine IMI and appears to be a more accurate method of species identification than the API STAPH ID 20 system.
coagulase-negative staphylococci; PCR-RFLP; gap gene
Clostridium perfringens type C is an important cause of enteritis and/or enterocolitis in several animal species, including pigs, sheep, goats, horses and humans. The disease is a classic enterotoxemia and the enteric lesions and associated systemic effects are thought to be caused primarily by beta toxin (CPB), one of two typing toxins produced by C. perfringens type C. This has been demonstrated recently by fulfilling molecular Koch’s postulates in rabbits and mice. We present here an experimental study to fulfill these postulates in goats, a natural host of C. perfringens type C disease. Nine healthy male or female Anglo Nubian goat kids were inoculated with the virulent C. perfringens type C wild-type strain CN3685, an isogenic CPB null mutant or a strain where the cpb null mutation had been reversed. Three goats inoculated with the wild-type strain presented abdominal pain, hemorrhagic diarrhea, necrotizing enterocolitis, pulmonary edema, hydropericardium and death within 24 h of inoculation. Two goats inoculated with the CPB null mutant and two goats inoculated with sterile culture media (negative controls) remained clinically healthy during 24 h after inoculation and no gross or histological abnormalities were observed in the tissues of any of them. Reversal of the null mutation to partially restore CPB production also increased virulence; 2 goats inoculated with this reversed mutant presented clinical and pathological changes similar to those observed in goats inoculated with the wild-type strain, except that spontaneous death was not observed. These results indicate that CPB is required for C. perfringens type C to induce disease in goats, supporting a key role for this toxin in natural C. perfringens type C disease pathogenesis.
Beta toxin; Clostridium perfringens type C; enterotoxemia; goats
Infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), an avian coronavirus, is a cause of great economic loss in the poultry industry. The virus mainly infects respiratory epithelium, but can be also detected in other organs. The functional receptor for the virus has not been found and field strains of IBV do not infect conventional cell lines. Recently, it has been shown that the C-type lectins DC-SIGN/L-SIGN can promote entry of several coronaviruses. Here we examine whether DC-SIGN/L-SIGN are entry determinants for IBV. We show that by introducing human DC-SIGN/L-SIGN into non-permissive cells, infection by the IBV is dramatically increased. DC-SIGN mediated infection was inhibited by mannan and anti-lectin antibodies, and was independent of sialic acid levels on the cell. Enhancement of IBV infection also occurred for different serotypes of IBV. Our findings demonstrated that even in the absence of avian-specific receptor, DC-SIGN-like lectins are capable of mediating efficient IBV infection.
Coronavirus; infectious bronchitis virus; receptor; infectivity; lectin; DC-SIGN
Prion diseases are diagnosed by the detection of their proteinase K-resistant prion protein fragment (PrPSc). Various biochemical protocols use different detergents for the tissue preparation. We found that the resistance of PrPSc against proteinase K may vary strongly with the detergent used. In our study, we investigated the influence of the most commonly used detergents on eight different TSE agents derived from different species and distinct prion disease forms. For a high throughput we used a membrane adsorbtion assay to detect small amounts of prion aggregates, as well as Western blotting. Tissue lysates were prepared using DOC, SLS, SDS or Triton X-100 in different concentrations and these were digested with various amounts of proteinase K. Detergents are able to enhance or diminish the detectability of PrPSc after proteinase K digestion. Depending on the kind of detergent, its concentration - but also on the host species that developed the TSE and the disease form or prion type - the detectability of PrPSc can be very different. The results obtained here may be helpful during the development or improvement of a PrPSc detection method and they point towards a detergent effect that can be additionally used for decontamination purposes. A plausible explanation for the detergent effects described in this article could be an interaction with the lipids associated with PrPSc that may stabilize the aggregates.
prion protein; scrapie; BSE; chronic wasting disease; proteinase resistance; detergent
IPEC-J2 cells are porcine intestinal columnar epithelial cells that were isolated from neonatal piglet mid-jejunum. This cell line forms polarized monolayers with high transepithelial electrical resistance when cultured on 0.4 μm pore-size filters. The cell line is unique in that it is derived from small intestinal tissue (compared to the common human colon-derived lines HT-29, T84, and Caco-2) and is not transformed (compared to the porcine small intestinal line, IPI-2I). Porcine intestinal epithelial cells more closely mimic human physiology than analogous rodent cell lines (e.g. IEC-6 or IEC-18), which is important in studies of zoonotic infections; in addition, they provide specificity to study porcine-derived infections. IPEC-J2 cells are increasingly being used in microbiological studies to examine the interactions of various animal and human pathogens, including Salmonella enterica and pathogenic Escherichia coli, with intestinal epithelial cells. The IPEC-J2 cell line has also been employed in some probiotic studies, in which the cells have been used as an initial screening tool for adhesiveness and anti-inflammatory properties of the potential probiotic microorganisms. The validity of these studies is not clear as follow-up studies to assess the efficacy of the probiotics in vivo have not been published to date. The aims of this review are to provide a comprehensive overview of the microbiological studies that have been conducted with IPEC-J2 cells and a reference guide of key cellular and immune markers that have been identified in this cell line that may prove to be useful in future studies.
IPEC-J2; porcine intestinal epithelial cell; cell line; Salmonella enterica; Escherichia coli
Although swine origin A/H1N1/2009 influenza virus (hereafter “pH1N1”) has been detected in swine in 20 countries, there has been no published surveillance of the virus in African livestock. The objective of this study was to assess the circulation of influenza A viruses, including pH1N1 in swine in Cameroon, Central Africa. We collected 108 nasal swabs and 98 sera samples from domestic pigs randomly sampled at 11 herds in villages and farms in Cameroon. pH1N1 was isolated from two swine sampled in northern Cameroon in January 2010. Sera from 28% of these herds were positive for influenza A by competitive ELISA and 92.6% of these swine showed cross reactivity with pandemic A/H1N1/2009 influenza virus isolated from humans. These results provide the first evidence of this virus in the animal population in Africa. In light of the significant role of swine in the ecology of influenza viruses, our results call for greater monitoring and study in Central Africa.
swine influenza virus; pandemic A/H1N1/2009 influenza virus; Cameroon; Central Africa; agriculture; zoonotic diseases
African swine fever virus (ASFV) is the only member of the Asfarviridae, a large DNA virus family which replicates predominantly in the cytoplasm. Most isolates cause a fatal haemorrhagic disease in domestic pigs, although some low virulence isolates cause little or no mortality. The modulation of chemokine responses following infection of porcine macrophages with low and high virulence isolates was studied to indicate how this may be involved in the induction of pathogenesis and of effective immune responses. Infection with both low and high virulence isolates resulted in down-regulation of mRNA levels for chemokines CCL2, CCL3L, CXCL2 and chemokine receptors CCR1, CCR5, CXCR3, CXCR4 and up-regulation in expression of mRNAs for CCL4, CXCL10 and chemokine receptor CCR7. Levels of CCL4, CXCL8, CXCL10 mRNAs were higher in macrophages infected with low virulence isolate OURT88/3 compared to high virulence isolate Benin 97/1. Levels of CXCL8 and CCL2 protein were significantly reduced in supernatants from macrophages infected with Benin 97/1 isolate compared to OURT88/3 and mock-infected macrophages. There was also a decreased chemotactic response of donor cells exposed to supernatants from Benin 97/1 infected macrophages compared to those from OURT88/3 and mock-infected macrophages. The data show that infection of macrophages with the low virulence strain OURT88/3 induces higher expression of key inflammatory chemokines compared to infection with high virulence strain Benin 97/1. This may be important for the induction of effective protective immunity that has been observed in pigs immunised with the OURT88/3 isolate.
African swine fever; Chemokines; Immune evasion; Transcription
Anaplasma phagocytophilum is an intracellular tick-borne rickettsial pathogen, which causes granulocytic anaplasmosis in various species of livestock and companion animals and also in humans. Previously A. phagocytophilum has been isolated and propagated in cell lines derived from the tick Ixodes scapularis and in the human promyelocytic cell line HL60. In this study we used the Ixodes ricinus-derived cell line IRE/CTVM20 to isolate and propagate two new canine strains of A. phagocytophilum.
Blood samples were collected by veterinarians from two dogs, one from Germany and the other from Austria. Suspicion of clinical canine granulocytic anaplasmosis was raised by the treating veterinarians and after confirmation of A. phagocytophilum infection by real-time PCR, buffy coat cells were isolated and co-cultivated with IRE/CTVM20 cells maintained at 28 °C in L15/L15B medium.
In the tick cells, rickettsial inclusions were first recognised after 86 days of incubation. Electron microscopic examination of tick cells infected with one of the isolates revealed cytoplasmic vacuoles containing pleomorphic organisms with individual bacteria enveloped by a bilayer membrane. Sequencing of 16S rRNA genes confirmed the isolation of A. phagocytophilum and showed the highest identity to the A. phagocytophilum human HZ strain. The two A. phagocytophilum isolates were passaged several times in IRE/CTVM20 cells and transferred to the I. scapularis cell line ISE6. This confirms for the first time the successful establishment and continuous cultivation of this pathogen in I. ricinus cells as well as infectivity of these canine strains for I. scapularis cells.
Tick cell lines; Anaplasma phagocytophilum; IRE/CTVM20; Dog; Electron microscopy
A recent publication described finding GB virus C (GBV-C) RNA in four of twenty two dromedary camel sera, and sequence analysis found that these viruses were phylogenetically clustered within human GBV-C isolates. Since all other GB viruses to date form monophyletic groups according to their host species, the close relationship between the sequences generated from camel sera and human GBV-C isolates seemed implausible, leading us to conduct an independent analysis of the sequences. Our investigation found three lines of evidence arguing against GBV-C infection in dromedary camels. First, strong evidence of artifactual sequence generation was identified for some of the sequences. Secondly, the sequence diversity within individual camel sera was ten- to one-hundred fifty two-fold greater than that described for GBV-C within a human host. Finally, GBV-C sequences generated from each camel shared near complete identity with human isolates previously described by the same laboratory. Taken together, these data strongly suggest laboratory contamination. We suggest that additional validation experiments are needed before it is possible to conclude that camels are permissive for GBV-C infection.
GB virus; Flavirirus; Dromedary Camel
It has been suggested that polymorphic membrane proteins (Pmps) belonging to the Type V autotransporter protein family play an important role in the pathogenesis of Chlamydia abortus (C. abortus; formerly Chlamydophila abortus) infection. In a previous study we demonstrated the expression of all the pmps at the transcriptional level. The purpose of this study was to measure the number of Pmp positive inclusions throughout the C. abortus developmental cycle to investigate heterogeneity in expression patterns. McCoy cells were infected with C. abortus and analysed for Pmp expression over a 72 h period by fluorescent immunocytochemistry. Pmp18D could be detected at all analysed time points, and could only be accurately quantified from 36 hpi while Pmp10G positive inclusions could be visualised from 36 hpi. Expression of Pmps 13G, 16G and 17G could only be visualised later in the cycle and within less than half of visualised inclusions. These results indicate that while expression of specific Pmps is constitutive (Pmp18D), the pattern of expression of other Pmps is more variable. This suggests that different members of the Pmp family may play different roles within the developmental cycle of the organism, with some (Pmps10G and 18D) having roles throughout the cycle, while the heterogeneity of expression of others may aid in antigenic variation.
Chlamydia abortus; Polymorphic membrane protein; Antigenic variation
Clostridium perfringens type C causes necrotizing enteritis in humans and several other animal species. Type C isolates must produce at least beta toxin (CPB) and alpha toxin (CPA) and most strains produce several other toxins including perfringolysin O (PFO) and TpeL. However, current evidence indicates that CPB is the main virulence factor for type C infections. Most of this evidence is based upon the loss of virulence shown by isogenic type C CPB knock out mutants on cells, and also in rabbit intestinal loops and in mouse models. This virulence is regained when these mutants are complemented with the wild-type cpb gene. Many type C isolates respond to close contact with enterocyte-like Caco-2 cells by producing all toxins, except TpeL, much more rapidly than occurs during in vitro growth. This in vivo effect involves rapid transcriptional upregulation of the cpb, cpb2, pfoA and plc toxin genes. Rapid Caco-2 cell-induced upregulation of CPB and PFO production involves the VirS/VirR two-component system, since upregulated in vivo transcription of the pfoA and cpb genes was blocked by inactivating the virR gene and was reversible by complementation to restore VirR expression.
Clostridium perfringens; beta toxin; enterotoxemia; pathogenesis; type C
The early curative uses of antimicrobial drugs such as fluoroquinolones before the onset of symptoms in veterinary medicine may be regarded as irrational antibiotic consumption. However, it should be stressed that in early curative antimicrobial treatment as in metaphylaxis, the bacterial burden at the infection site is often very low, and so the rapid eradication of the bacterial population could result.
We investigated the impact of early versus later curative administrations of 1 or 40 mg/kg of marbofloxacin on the survival of mice, the eradication of the targeted pathogen and the selection of resistant bacteria in a mouse lung infection with Pasteurella multocida.
In this model, for a given marbofloxacin dose, the clinical and bacteriological outcomes were better, and the selection of resistance less frequent, for the early rather than for the late treatment. Moreover, the early administration of 1 mg/kg led to better clinical and similar bacteriological (eradication and selection of resistance) outcomes than the late administration of 40 mg/kg marbofloxacin. Our results suggest that the optimal doses for the animals’ cure could be lower when administered early during the time course of the infection than when administered after the disease outbreak. As the main argument against early treatments such as metaphylaxis is the possible enhancement of resistance at the gut level, further studies should assess if lower doses of antibiotic administered to all the animals of a herd could have less impact on the commensal digestive flora than higher doses only administered to animals showing clinical symptoms.
Animals; Anti-Bacterial Agents; administration & dosage; pharmacokinetics; therapeutic use; Drug Resistance, Bacterial; Female; Fluoroquinolones; administration & dosage; pharmacokinetics; therapeutic use; Lung; microbiology; Mice; Microbial Sensitivity Tests; Pasteurella Infections; drug therapy; Pasteurella multocida; drug effects; growth & development; Respiratory Tract Infections; drug therapy; Time Factors; Treatment Outcome; antimicrobial resistance; metaphylaxis; early treatment; fluoroquinolone; marbofloxacin; Pasteurella multocida
Peyer's patches constitute both an inductive immune site and an enteropathogen invasion route. Peyer's patch mucosae from porcine jejunum were mounted in Ussing chambers, and either Salmonella choleraesuis vaccine strain SC-54 or non-pathogenic rodent and porcine E. coli strains contacted the Peyer's patch mucosa for 90 min. Internalized bacteria were quantified by a gentamicin resistance assay. Monodansylcadaverine (300 µM, luminal addition), an inhibitor of clathrin-mediated endocytosis, significantly inhibited internalization of both E. coli strains relative to tissues untreated with the inhibitor; internalization of SC-54 was unaffected. The actin-disrupting agent cytochalasin D (10 µM, luminal addition), inhibited internalization of pig-adapted E. coli but not that of rodent-adapted E. coli or SC-54. Internalization of SC-54 and non-pathogenic E. coli in Peyer's patches appears to occur through different cellular routes.
Salmonella choleraesuis; Escherichia coli; mucosal immunity; enteropathogen; endocytosis; clathrin
The mammalian gastric and oral mucosa may be colonized by mixed Helicobacter and Campylobacter species, respectively, in individual animals. To better characterize the presence and distribution of Helicobacter and Campylobacter among marine mammals, we used PCR and 16S rDNA sequence analysis to examine gastric and oral samples from ten dolphins (Tursiops gephyreus), one killer whale (Orcinus orca), one false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens), and three wild La Plata river dolphins (Pontoporia blainvillei). Helicobacter spp. DNA was widely distributed in gastric and oral samples from both captive and wild cetaceans. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated two Helicobacter sequence clusters, one closely related to H. cetorum, a species isolated from dolphins and whales in North America. The second related cluster was to sequences obtained from dolphins in Australia and to gastric non-Helicobacter pylori helicobacters, and may represent a novel taxonomic group. Dental plaque sequences from four dolphins formed a third cluster within the Campylobacter genus that likely represents a novel species isolated from marine mammals. Identification of identical Helicobacter spp. DNA sequences from dental plaque, saliva and gastric fluids from the same hosts, suggests that the oral cavity may be involved in transmission. These results demonstrate that Helicobacter and Campylobacter species are commonly distributed in marine mammals, and identify taxonomic clusters that may represent novel species.
Helicobacter; Campylobacter; marine mammals; cetaceans; gastritis
Salmonella Cerro prevalence in US dairy cattle has increased significantly during the past decade. Comparison of 237 Salmonella isolates collected from various human and animal sources between 1986 and 2009 using pulsed- field gel electrophoresis, antimicrobial resistance typing, and spvA screening, showed very limited genetic diversity, indicating clonality of this serotype. Improved subtyping methods are clearly needed to analyze the potential emergence of this serotype. Our results thus emphasize the critical importance of population-based pathogen surveillance for the detection and characterization of potentially emerging pathogens, and caution to critically evaluate the adequacy of diagnostic tests for a given study population and diagnostic application.
Salmonella Cerro; molecular epidemiology; PFGE; emerging clone
A genetically distinct strain of avian hepatitis E virus (avian HEV-VA strain) was isolated from a healthy chicken in Virginia, and thus it is important to characterize and compare its pathogenicity with the prototype strain (avian HEV-prototype) isolated from a diseased chicken. Here we first constructed an infectious clone of the avian HEV-VA strain. Capped RNA transcripts from the avian HEV-VA clone were replication-competent after transfection of LMH chicken liver cells. Chickens inoculated intrahepatically with RNA transcripts of avian HEV-VA clone developed active infection as evidenced by fecal virus shedding, viremia, and seroconversion. To characterize the pathogenicity, RNA transcripts of both avian HEV-VA and avian HEV-prototype clones were intrahepatically inoculated into the livers of chickens. Avian HEV RNA was detected in feces, serum and bile samples from 10/10 avian HEV-VA-inoculated and 9/9 avian HEV-prototype-inoculated chickens although seroconversion occurred only some chickens during the experimental period. The histopathological lesion scores were lower for avian HEV-VA group than avian HEV-prototype group in the liver at 3 and 5 weeks post-inoculation (wpi) and in the spleen at 3 wpi, although the differences were not statistically significant. The liver/body weight ratio, indicative of liver enlargement, of both avian HEV-VA and avian HEV-prototype groups were significantly higher than that of the control group at 5 wpi. Overall, the avian HEV-VA strain still induces histological liver lesions even though it was isolated from a healthy chicken. The results also showed that intrahepatic inoculation of chickens with RNA transcripts of avian HEV infectious clone may serve as an alternative for live virus in animal pathogenicity studies.
Systemic infections with Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesviruses (EEHV) cause a rapid onset acute hemorrhagic disease with an 85% mortality rate. More than 60 cases have been confirmed worldwide occurring predominantly in juvenile Asian elephants. Originally, three virus types EEHV1A, EEHV1B and EEHV2 were identified, all members of the Proboscivirus genus within the Betaherpesvirinae. However, four elephant gammaherpesviruses (EGHV) have also been found by DNA PCR approaches in eye and genital secretions of asymptomatic animals, and two more versions of the Probosciviruses, EEHV3 and EEHV4, were recently detected in acute hemorrhagic disease cases. To ask whether even more species of elephant herpesviruses may exist, we have developed several new diagnostic DNA PCR assays using multiple round primers in the DNA POL region. These have been used routinely for nearly three years to screen samples submitted to the Elephant Herpesvirus Laboratory for diagnosis of possible cases of EEHV disease in blood and necropsy tissue, as well as in biopsies of other suspicious lesions or growths. Several more cases of EEHV1-associated hemorrhagic disease were confirmed, but in addition, we describe here eleven examples of other known and novel herpesviruses detected and evaluated with these reagents. They include the prototypes of four new elephant herpesviruses, two more within the Proboscivirus group EEHV5 and EEHV6, plus two more gammaherpesviruses EGHV3B and EGHV5. We also report initial semi-quantitative PCR assays demonstrating very high viral loads in the blood of the EEHV3 and EEHV4-associated hemorrhagic disease cases.
Probosciviruses; Gamma Herpesviruses; Hemorrhagic Disease; Mixed Infections; Viral Load
Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a significant pathogen of domestic and non-domestic felids worldwide. In domestic cats, FIV is classified into five distinct subtypes (A–E) with subtypes A and B distributed most widely. However, little is known about the degree of intrasubtype viral diversity and this may prove critical in determining whether monovalent vaccines are likely to protect against FIV strains within a single subtype. Here, we characterise novel env sequences from 47 FIV strains recovered from infected cats in the United Kingdom and its environs. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that all bar one sequence belonged to subtype A, the predominant subtype in Western Europe. A single sequence was identified as a likely subtype A/C recombinant, intriguing given that subtype C does not appear to exist in either the UK or North Western Europe and suggestive of a recombination event predating its introduction into the UK. Subtype A strains from the UK were not significantly differentiated from representative subtype A isolates found elsewhere suggesting multiple introductions of FIV into the country. Divergence among isolates was comparable to that observed for subtype A isolates worldwide, indicating that FIV in the UK covers the full spectrum of subtype A diversity seen globally. This study demonstrates that while subtype A is predominant in the UK, novel introductions may result in the emergence of novel subtypes or intersubtype recombinants, potentially circumventing vaccine strategies. However, the dominance of subtype A suggests that the development of a regional or subtype-specific protective vaccine for the UK could be achievable.
Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV); Vaccine; Phylogeny
Sequences encoding the major and minor capsid proteins (VP1 and VP2) from two marine vesivirus isolates (Steller sea lion viruses V810 and V1415) were engineered for expression of virus-like particles (VLPs) in the baculovirus system. The resulting VLPs were morphologically similar to native vesivirus virions. Purified VLPs were probed in immunoblots with pooled antisera specific for nine San Miguel sea lion virus (SMSV) types, and a predominant protein of approximately 60 kDa was detected. An enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for the detection of antibodies was developed in which the VLPs served as antigen. The VLPs were adsorbed to the wells of a microplate, and the specificity of the ELISA was established with hyperimmune sera raised against 24 serotypes of the genus Vesivirus. The ELISA was used to screen for the presence of vesivirus specific antibodies in the sera of free-ranging Steller sea lions. The ELISA results demonstrated that Steller sea lions that inhabit the Pacific Ocean waters of southeast Alaska are widely exposed to antigenically-related marine vesiviruses, while no previous exposure could be demonstrated using VLP antigens in 17 Steller sea lions from the Aleutian Islands. The broad reactivity of these VLPs and their non-infectious nature will facilitate global sero-epidemiological studies aimed at determining the incidence and prevalence of marine vesiviruses in mammals that inhabit the Pacific and Atlantic oceans as well as susceptible terrestrial animals.
Caliciviridae; Vesivirus; Virus-like particles; ELISA; Antibodies; Marine mammals
In order to confirm a microscopic diagnosis of ‘eperythrozoonosis’ made over 40 years ago in a captive owl monkey (Aotus trivirgatus), DNA was extracted from archived fixed and stained blood smears and subjected to generic haemotropic mycoplasma (haemoplasma) quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) and a human glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase qPCR as an amplification control. The qPCRs confirmed the extraction of host DNA from the samples and the presence of a haemoplasma species. Partial 16S rRNA and ribonuclease P ribosomal gene fragments were amplified by PCR, cloned and sequenced. Sequence data and phylogeny showed the owl monkey haemoplasma to lie in the haemominutum clade of haemoplasmas, most closely related to ‘Candidatus Mycoplasma kahaneii’. This study confirms the use of generic haemoplasma qPCRs to successfully amplify haemoplasma DNA from fixed, stained and archived blood smears from the early 1970s and provides molecular confirmation of the existence of a novel haemoplasma species in an owl monkey, for which the name ‘Candidatus Mycoplasma aoti’ sp. nov. is proposed.
Haemoplasma; Quantitative polymerase chain reaction; Primate; Aotus trivirgatus; RNase P RNA gene; Phylogeny