Veterinary Biosciences - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 83
Analysis of the complete genomic sequences of two virus subpopulations of the Australian infectious bronchitis virus vaccine VicS
(TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2015-05-04)
Although sequencing of the 3' end of the genome of Australian infectious bronchitis viruses (IBVs) has shown that their structural genes are distinct from those of IBVs found in other countries, their replicase genes have not been analysed. To examine this, the complete genomic sequences of the two subpopulations of the VicS vaccine, VicS-v and VicS-del, were determined. Compared with VicS-v, the more attenuated VicS-del strain had two non-synonymous changes in the non-structural protein 6 (nsp6), a transmembrane (TM) domain that may participate in autocatalytic release of the 3-chymotrypsin-like protease, a polymorphic difference at the end of the S2 gene, which coincided with the body transcription-regulating sequence (B-TRS) of mRNA 3 and a truncated open reading frame for a peptide encoded by gene 4 (4b). These genetic differences could be responsible for the differences between these variants in pathogenicity in vivo, and replication in vitro. Phylogenetic analysis of the whole genome showed that VicS-v and VicS-del did not cluster with strains from other countries, supporting the hypothesis that Australian IBV strains have been evolving independently for some time, and analyses of individual polymerase peptide and S glycoprotein genes suggested a distant common ancestor with no recent recombination. This study suggests the potential role of the TM domain in nsp6, the integrity of the S2 protein and the B-TRS 3, and the putative accessory protein 4b, as well as the 3' untranslated region, in the virulence and replication of IBV and has provided a better understanding of relationships between the Australian vaccine strain of IBV and those used elsewhere.
Variation in the microbiome of the urogenital tract of Chlamydia-free female koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) with and without 'wet bottom'
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2018-03-26)
Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) are iconic Australian marsupials currently threatened by several processes, including infectious diseases and ecological disruption. Infection with Chlamydia pecorum, is considered a key driver of population decline. The clinical sign of 'wet bottom', a staining of the rump associated with urinary incontinence, is often caused by chlamydial urinary tract infections. However, wet bottom has been recorded in koalas free of C. pecorum, suggesting other causative agents in those individuals. We used 16S rRNA diversity profiling to investigate the microbiome of the urogenital tract of ten female koalas in order to identify potential causative agents of wet bottom, other than C. pecorum. Five urogenital samples were processed from koalas presenting with wet bottom and five were clinically normal. All koalas were negative for C. pecorum infection. We detected thirteen phyla across the ten samples, with Firmicutes occurring at the highest relative abundance (77.6%). The order Lactobacillales, within the Firmicutes, comprised 70.3% of the reads from all samples. After normalising reads using DESeq2 and testing for significant differences (P < 0.05), there were 25 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) more commonly found in one group over the other. The families Aerococcaceae and Tissierellaceae both had four significantly differentially abundant OTUs. These four Tissierellaceae OTUs were all significantly more abundant in koalas with wet bottom. This study provides the foundation for future investigations of causes of koala wet bottom, other than C. pecorum infection. This is of clinical relevance as wet bottom is often assumed to be caused by C. pecorum and treated accordingly. Our research highlights that other organisms may be causing wet bottom, and these potential aetiological agents need to be further investigated to fully address the problems this species faces.
Full Genome Analysis of Australian Infectious Bronchitis Viruses Suggests Frequent Recombination Events between Vaccine Strains and Multiple Phylogenetically Distant Avian Coronaviruses of Unknown Origin
Australian strains of infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) have been evolving independently for many years, with control achieved by vaccination with local attenuated strains. Previous studies have documented the emergence of recombinants over the last 20 years, with the most recent one, Ck/Aus/N1/08, detected in 2008. These recombinants did not appear to be controlled by the vaccines currently in use. In this study we sequenced the complete genomes of three emergent Australian strains of IBV (IBV/Ck/Aus/N1/88, IBV/Ck/Aus/N1/03 and IBV/Ck/Aus/N1/08) and a previously incompletely characterised vaccine strain, IBV/Ck/Aus/Armidale, and compared them to the genome of the vaccine strain VicS. We detected multiple recombination events throughout the genome between wild type viruses and the vaccine strains in all three emergent isolates. Moreover, we found that strain N1/88 was not entirely exogenous, as was previously hypothesised. Rather, it originated from a recombination event involving the VicS vaccine strain. The S glycoprotein genes of N1/88 and N1/03 were known to be genetically distinct from previously characterised circulating strains and from each other, and the original donors of these genes remains unknown. The S1 glycoprotein gene of N1/88, a subgroup 2 strain, shares a high nucleotide identity with the sequence of the S1 gene of the recent isolate N1/08. As the subgroup 2 strains have not been isolated for at least 20 years, it appears likely that an unknown avian coronavirus that was the donor of the S1 glycoprotein sequence of N1/88 in the 1980s is still recombining with IBV strains in the field.
Detection of Coxiella burnetii and equine herpesvirus 1, but not Leptospira spp. or Toxoplasma gondii, in cases of equine abortion in Australia - a 25 year retrospective study
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2020-05-26)
Equine abortion is a cause of severe economic loss to the equine industry. Equine herpesvirus 1 is considered a primary cause of infectious abortion in horses, however other infectious agents can also cause abortion. Abortions due to zoonotic pathogens have implications for both human and animal health. We determined the prevalence of Coxiella burnetii, Leptospira spp. and Toxoplasma gondii in 600 aborted equine foetal tissues that were submitted to our diagnostic laboratories at the University of Melbourne from 1994 to 2019. Using qPCR we found that the prevalence of C. burnetii was 4%. The highest annual incidence of C. burnetii was observed between 1997-2003 and 2016-2018. The prevalence of C. burnetii in Victoria and New South Wales was 3% and 6% respectively. All the samples tested negative for Leptospira spp. and Toxoplasma gondii DNA. Equine herpesvirus 1 DNA was detected at a prevalence of 3%. This study has provided evidence for the presence of C. burnetii in equine aborted foetal tissues in Australia, but the role of C. burnetii as potential cause of abortion in Australia requires further investigation. C. burnetii is a zoonotic disease agent that causes the disease 'Q fever' in humans. We recommend that appropriate protective measures should be considered when handling material associated with equine abortions to reduce the risk of becoming infected with C. burnetii.
Immunoselected STRO-3(+) mesenchymal precursor cells reduce inflammation and improve clinical outcomes in a large animal model of monoarthritis
BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to investigate the therapeutic efficacy of intravenously administered immunoselected STRO-3 + mesenchymal precursor cells (MPCs) on clinical scores, joint pathology and cytokine production in an ovine model of monoarthritis. METHODS: Monoarthritis was established in 16 adult merino sheep by administration of bovine type II collagen into the left hock joint following initial sensitization to this antigen. After 24 h, sheep were administered either 150 million allogeneic ovine MPCs (n = 8) or saline (n = 8) intravenously (IV). Lameness, joint swelling and pain were monitored and blood samples for leukocytes and cytokine levels were collected at intervals following arthritis induction. Animals were necropsied 14 days after arthritis induction and gross and histopathological evaluations were undertaken on tissues from the arthritic (left) and contralateral (right) joints. RESULTS: MPC-treated sheep demonstrated significantly reduced clinical signs of lameness, joint pain and swelling compared with saline controls. They also showed decreased cartilage erosions, synovial stromal cell activation and angiogenesis. This was accompanied by decreased infiltration of the synovial tissues by CD4+ lymphocytes and CD14+ monocytes/macrophages. Over the 3 days following joint arthropathy induction, the numbers of neutrophils circulating in the blood and plasma concentrations of activin A were significantly reduced in animals administered MPCs. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study have demonstrated the capacity of IV-administered MPCs to mitigate the clinical signs and some of the inflammatory mediators responsible for joint tissue destruction in a large animal model of monoarthritis.
A Host-Specific Blocking Primer Combined with Optimal DNA Extraction Improves the Detection Capability of a Metabarcoding Protocol for Canine Vector-Borne Bacteria
Bacterial canine vector-borne diseases are responsible for some of the most life-threatening conditions of dogs in the tropics and are typically poorly researched with some presenting a zoonotic risk to cohabiting people. Next-generation sequencing based methodologies have been demonstrated to accurately characterise a diverse range of vector-borne bacteria in dogs, whilst also proving to be more sensitive than conventional PCR techniques. We report two improvements to a previously developed metabarcoding tool that increased the sensitivity and diversity of vector-borne bacteria detected from canine blood. Firstly, we developed and tested a canine-specific blocking primer that prevents cross-reactivity of bacterial primer amplification on abundant canine mitochondrial sequences. Use of our blocking primer increased the number of canine vector-borne infections detected (five more Ehrlichia canis and three more Anaplasma platys infections) and increased the diversity of bacterial sequences found. Secondly, the DNA extraction kit employed can have a significant effect on the bacterial community characterised. Therefore, we compared four different DNA extraction kits finding the Qiagen DNeasy Blood and Tissue Kit to be superior for detection of blood-borne bacteria, identifying nine more A. platys, two more E. canis, one more Mycoplasma haemocanis infection and more putative bacterial pathogens than the lowest performing kit.
A novel metabarcoding diagnostic tool to explore protozoan haemoparasite diversity in mammals: a proof-of-concept study using canines from the tropics
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2019-09-02)
Haemoparasites are responsible for some of the most prevalent and debilitating canine illnesses across the globe, whilst also posing a significant zoonotic risk to humankind. Nowhere are the effects of such parasites more pronounced than in developing countries in the tropics where the abundance and diversity of ectoparasites that transmit these pathogens reaches its zenith. Here we describe the use of a novel next-generation sequencing (NGS) metabarcoding based approach to screen for a range of blood-borne apicomplexan and kinetoplastid parasites from populations of temple dogs in Bangkok, Thailand. Our methodology elucidated high rates of Hepatozoon canis and Babesia vogeli infection, whilst also being able to characterise co-infections. In addition, our approach was confirmed to be more sensitive than conventional endpoint PCR diagnostic methods. Two kinetoplastid infections were also detected, including one by Trypanosoma evansi, a pathogen that is rarely screened for in dogs and another by Parabodo caudatus, a poorly documented organism that has been previously reported inhabiting the urinary tract of a dog with haematuria. Such results demonstrate the power of NGS methodologies to unearth rare and unusual pathogens, especially in regions of the world where limited information on canine vector-borne haemoparasites exist.
Dynamics of myoblast transplantation reveal a discrete minority of precursors with stem cell-like properties as the myogenic source
(ROCKEFELLER UNIV PRESS, 1999-03-22)
Myoblasts, the precursors of skeletal muscle fibers, can be induced to withdraw from the cell cycle and differentiate in vitro. Recent studies have also identified undifferentiated subpopulations that can self-renew and generate myogenic cells (Baroffio, A., M. Hamann, L. Bernheim, M.-L. Bochaton-Pillat, G. Gabbiani, and C.R. Bader. 1996. Differentiation. 60:47-57; Yoshida, N., S. Yoshida, K. Koishi, K. Masuda, and Y. Nabeshima. 1998. J. Cell Sci. 111:769-779). Cultured myoblasts can also differentiate and contribute to repair and new muscle formation in vivo, a capacity exploited in attempts to develop myoblast transplantation (MT) for genetic modification of adult muscle. Our studies of the dynamics of MT demonstrate that cultures of myoblasts contain distinct subpopulations defined by their behavior in vitro and divergent responses to grafting. By comparing a genomic and a semiconserved marker, we have followed the fate of myoblasts transplanted into muscles of dystrophic mice, finding that the majority of the grafted cells quickly die and only a minority are responsible for new muscle formation. This minority is behaviorally distinct, slowly dividing in tissue culture, but rapidly proliferative after grafting, suggesting a subpopulation with stem cell-like characteristics.
Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism for the Identification of Spirorchiid Ova in Tissues from the Green Sea Turtle, Chelonia mydas
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2016-08-31)
Blood flukes are among the most common disease causing pathogens infecting vertebrates, including humans and some of the world's most globally endangered fauna. Spirorchiid blood flukes are parasites of marine turtles, and are associated with pathology, strandings and mortalities worldwide. Their ova embolize in tissues and incite significant inflammatory responses, however attempts to draw correlations between species and lesions are frustrated by difficulties in identifying ova beyond the genus level. In this study, a newly developed terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) method was validated as a tool for differentiating between mixed spirorchiid ova in turtle tissue. Initially, a multiplex PCR was used to differentiate between the five genera of spirorchiid flukes. Following this, PCR was performed using genus/genera-specific fluorescently tagged primer pairs and PCR products digested analysis using restriction endonucleases. Using capillary electrophoresis, this T-RFLP method could differentiate between twelve species and genotypes of spirorchiid flukes in turtles. It was applied to 151 tissue samples and successfully identified the spirorchiid species present. It was found to be more sensitive than visual diagnosis, detecting infections in 28 of 32 tissues that were negative on histology. Spirorchiids were present in 96.7% of tissues tested, with Neospirorchis genotype 2 being the most prevalent, present in 93% of samples. Mixed infections were common, being present in 60.7% of samples tested. The method described here is, to our knowledge, the first use of the T-RFLP technique on host tissues or in an animal ecology context, and describes a significant advancement in the clinical capacity to diagnose a common cause of illness in our environment. It is proven as a sensitive, specific and cost-efficient means of identifying spirorchiid flukes and ova in turtles, with the potential to contribute valuable information to epidemiological and pathological studies as well as future diagnostics for this poorly understood disease.
In Vitro Grown Pollen Tubes of Nicotiana alata Actively Synthesise a Fucosylated Xyloglucan
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-10-08)
Nicotiana alata pollen tubes are a widely used model for studies of polarized tip growth and cell wall synthesis in plants. To better understand these processes, RNA-Seq and de novo assembly methods were used to produce a transcriptome of N. alata pollen grains. Notable in the reconstructed transcriptome were sequences encoding proteins that are involved in the synthesis and remodelling of xyloglucan, a cell wall polysaccharide previously not thought to be deposited in Nicotiana pollen tube walls. Expression of several xyloglucan-related genes in actively growing pollen tubes was confirmed and xyloglucan epitopes were detected in the wall with carbohydrate-specific antibodies: the major xyloglucan oligosaccharides found in N. alata pollen grains and tubes were fucosylated, an unusual structure for the Solanaceae, the family to which Nicotiana belongs. Finally, carbohydrate linkages consistent with xyloglucan were identified chemically in the walls of N. alata pollen grains and pollen tubes grown in culture. The presence of a fucosylated xyloglucan in Nicotiana pollen tube walls was thus confirmed. The consequences of this discovery to models of pollen tube growth dynamics and more generally to polarised tip-growing cells in plants are discussed.
Dafachronic acid promotes larval development in Haemonchus contortus by modulating dauer signalling and lipid metabolism
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2019-07-01)
Here, we discovered an endogenous dafachronic acid (DA) in the socioeconomically important parasitic nematode Haemonchus contortus. We demonstrate that DA promotes larval exsheathment and development in this nematode via a relatively conserved nuclear hormone receptor (DAF-12). This stimulatory effect is dose- and time-dependent, and relates to a modulation of dauer-like signalling, and glycerolipid and glycerophospholipid metabolism, likely via a negative feedback loop. Specific chemical inhibition of DAF-9 (cytochrome P450) was shown to significantly reduce the amount of endogenous DA in H. contortus; compromise both larval exsheathment and development in vitro; and modulate lipid metabolism. Taken together, this evidence shows that DA plays a key functional role in the developmental transition from the free-living to the parasitic stage of H. contortus by modulating the dauer-like signalling pathway and lipid metabolism. Understanding the intricacies of the DA-DAF-12 system and associated networks in H. contortus and related parasitic nematodes could pave the way to new, nematode-specific treatments.
Genomic recombination between infectious laryngotracheitis vaccine strains occurs under a broad range of infection conditions in vitro and in ovo
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2020-03-02)
Gallid alphaherpesvirus 1 causes infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT) in farmed poultry worldwide. Intertypic recombination between vaccine strains of this virus has generated novel and virulent isolates in field conditions. In this study, in vitro and in ovo systems were co-infected and superinfected under different conditions with two genomically distinct and commonly used ILTV vaccines. The progeny virus populations were examined for the frequency and pattern of recombination events using multi-locus high-resolution melting curve analysis of polymerase chain reaction products. A varied level of recombination (0 to 58.9%) was detected, depending on the infection system (in ovo or in vitro), viral load, the composition of the inoculum mixture, and the timing and order of infection. Full genome analysis of selected recombinants with different in vitro phenotypes identified alterations in coding and non-coding regions. The ability of ILTV vaccines to maintain their capacity to recombine under such varied conditions highlights the significance of recombination in the evolution of this virus and demonstrates the capacity of ILTV vaccines to play a role in the emergence of recombinant viruses.