Veterinary Biosciences - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 73
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.
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.
Epidermal cell death in frogs with chytridiomycosis
(PEERJ INC, 2017-02-01)
BACKGROUND: Amphibians are declining at an alarming rate, and one of the major causes of decline is the infectious disease chytridiomycosis. Parasitic fungal sporangia occur within epidermal cells causing epidermal disruption, but these changes have not been well characterised. Apoptosis (planned cell death) can be a damaging response to the host but may alternatively be a mechanism of pathogen removal for some intracellular infections. METHODS: In this study we experimentally infected two endangered amphibian species Pseudophryne corroboree and Litoria verreauxii alpina with the causal agent of chytridiomycosis. We quantified cell death in the epidermis through two assays: terminal transferase-mediated dUTP nick end-labelling (TUNEL) and caspase 3/7. RESULTS: Cell death was positively associated with infection load and morbidity of clinically infected animals. In infected amphibians, TUNEL positive cells were concentrated in epidermal layers, correlating to the localisation of infection within the skin. Caspase activity was stable and low in early infection, where pathogen loads were light but increasing. In animals that recovered from infection, caspase activity gradually returned to normal as the infection cleared. Whereas, in amphibians that did not recover, caspase activity increased dramatically when infection loads peaked. DISCUSSION: Increased cell death may be a pathology of the fungal parasite, likely contributing to loss of skin homeostatic functions, but it is also possible that apoptosis suppression may be used initially by the pathogen to help establish infection. Further research should explore the specific mechanisms of cell death and more specifically apoptosis regulation during fungal infection.
Field and Laboratory Studies of the Susceptibility of the Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea) to Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis Infection
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2012-06-07)
Amphibians worldwide are experiencing devastating declines, some of which are due to the amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, Bd). Populations in the southeastern United States, however, have not been noticeably affected by the pathogen. The green treefrog (Hyla cinerea) is abundant and widespread in the southeastern United States, but has not been documented to harbor Bd infection. This study examined the susceptibility of H. cinerea to two strains of Bd in the lab and the prevalence of infection in wild populations of this species in southeastern Louisiana. Although we were able to infect H. cinerea with Bd in the lab, we did not observe any clinical signs of chytridiomycosis. Furthermore, infection by Bd does not appear to negatively affect body condition or growth rate of post-metamorphic individuals. We found no evidence of infection in surveys of wild H. cinerea. Our results suggest that H. cinerea is not susceptible to chytridiomycosis post-metamorphosis and probably is not an important carrier of the fungal pathogen Bd in the southeastern United States, although susceptibility at the larval stage remains unknown.
Fungal infection has sublethal effects in a lowland subtropical amphibian population
BACKGROUND: The amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has been implicated as a primary cause of decline in many species around the globe. However, there are some species and populations that are known to become infected in the wild, yet declines have not been observed. Here we conducted a yearlong capture-mark-recapture study and a 2-year long disease monitoring study of northern cricket frogs, Acris crepitans, in the lowland subtropical forests of Louisiana. RESULTS: We found little evidence for an impact of Bd infection on survival; however, Bd infection did appear to cause sublethal effects, including increased capture probability in the field. CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests that even in apparently stable populations, where Bd does not appear to cause mortality, there may be sublethal effects of infection that can impact a host population's dynamics and structure. Understanding and documenting such sublethal effects of infection on wild, seemingly stable populations is important, particularly for predicting future population declines.
Amphibians with infectious disease increase their reproductive effort: evidence for the terminal investment hypothesis
(ROYAL SOC, 2016-06-01)
Mounting an immune response to fight disease is costly for an organism and can reduce investment in another life-history trait, such as reproduction. The terminal investment hypothesis predicts that an organism will increase reproductive effort when threatened by disease. The reproductive fitness of amphibians infected with the deadly fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is largely unknown. In this study, we explored gametogenesis in two endangered and susceptible frog species, Pseudophryne corroboree and Litoria verreauxii alpina. Gametogenesis, both oogenesis and spermatogenesis, increased when animals were experimentally infected with Bd In P. corroboree, infected males have thicker germinal epithelium, and a larger proportion of spermatocytes. In L. v. alpina, infected males had more spermatic cell bundles in total, and a larger proportion of spermatozoa bundles. In female L. v. alpina, ovaries and oviducts were larger in infected animals, and there were more cells present within the ovaries. Terminal investment has consequences for the evolution of disease resistance in declining species. If infected animals are increasing reproductive efforts and producing more offspring before succumbing to disease, it is possible that population-level selection for disease resistance will be minimized.
Dynamics of Chytridiomycosis during the Breeding Season in an Australian Alpine Amphibian
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2015-12-02)
Understanding disease dynamics during the breeding season of declining amphibian species will improve our understanding of how remnant populations persist with endemic infection, and will assist the development of management techniques to protect disease-threatened species from extinction. We monitored the endangered Litoria verreauxii alpina (alpine treefrog) during the breeding season through capture-mark-recapture (CMR) studies in which we investigated the dynamics of chytridiomycosis in relation to population size in two populations. We found that infection prevalence and intensity increased throughout the breeding season in both populations, but infection prevalence and intensity was higher (3.49 and 2.02 times higher prevalence and intensity, respectively) at the site that had a 90-fold higher population density. This suggests that Bd transmission is density-dependent. Weekly survival probability was related to disease state, with heavily infected animals having the lowest survival. There was low recovery from infection, especially when animals were heavily infected with Bd. Sympatric amphibian species are likely to be reservoir hosts for the disease and can play an important role in the disease ecology of Bd. Although we found 0% prevalence in crayfish (Cherax destructor), we found that a sympatric amphibian (Crinia signifera) maintained 100% infection prevalence at a high intensity throughout the season. Our results demonstrate the importance of including infection intensity into CMR disease analysis in order to fully understand the implications of disease on the amphibian community. We recommend a combined management approach to promote lower population densities and ensure consistent progeny survival. The most effective management strategy to safeguard the persistence of this susceptible species might be to increase habitat area while maintaining a similar sized suitable breeding zone and to increase water flow and area to reduce drought.
Coxiella burnetii utilizes both glutamate and glucose during infection with glucose uptake mediated by multiple transporters
(PORTLAND PRESS LTD, 2019-10-15)
Coxiella burnetii is a Gram-negative bacterium which causes Q fever, a complex and life-threatening infection with both acute and chronic presentations. C. burnetii invades a variety of host cell types and replicates within a unique vacuole derived from the host cell lysosome. In order to understand how C. burnetii survives within this intracellular niche, we have investigated the carbon metabolism of both intracellular and axenically cultivated bacteria. Both bacterial populations were shown to assimilate exogenous [13C]glucose or [13C]glutamate, with concomitant labeling of intermediates in glycolysis and gluconeogenesis, and in the TCA cycle. Significantly, the two populations displayed metabolic pathway profiles reflective of the nutrient availabilities within their propagated environments. Disruption of the C. burnetii glucose transporter, CBU0265, by transposon mutagenesis led to a significant decrease in [13C]glucose utilization but did not abolish glucose usage, suggesting that C. burnetii express additional hexose transporters which may be able to compensate for the loss of CBU0265. This was supported by intracellular infection of human cells and in vivo studies in the insect model showing loss of CBU0265 had no impact on intracellular replication or virulence. Using this mutagenesis and [13C]glucose labeling approach, we identified a second glucose transporter, CBU0347, the disruption of which also showed significant decreases in 13C-label incorporation but did not impact intracellular replication or virulence. Together, these analyses indicate that C. burnetii may use multiple carbon sources in vivo and exhibits greater metabolic flexibility than expected.
Describing the antimicrobial usage patterns of companion animal veterinary practices; free text analysis of more than 4.4 million consultation records.
Antimicrobial Resistance is a global crisis that veterinarians contribute to through their use of antimicrobials in animals. Antimicrobial stewardship has been shown to be an effective means to reduce antimicrobial resistance in hospital environments. Effective monitoring of antimicrobial usage patterns is an essential part of antimicrobial stewardship and is critical in reducing the development of antimicrobial resistance. The aim of this study is to describe how frequently antimicrobials were used in veterinary consultations and identify the most frequently used antimicrobials. Using VetCompass Australia, Natural Language Processing techniques, and the Australian Strategic Technical Advisory Group's (ASTAG) Rating system to classify the importance of antimicrobials, descriptive analysis was performed on the antimicrobials prescribed in consultations from 137 companion animal veterinary clinics in Australia between 2013 and 2017 (inclusive). Of the 4,400,519 consultations downloaded there were 595,089 consultations where antimicrobials were prescribed to dogs or cats. Antimicrobials were dispensed in 145 of every 1000 canine consultations; and 38 per 1000 consultations involved high importance rated antimicrobials. Similarly with cats, 108 per 1000 consultations had antimicrobials dispensed, and in 47 per 1000 consultations an antimicrobial of high importance rating was administered. The most common antimicrobials given to cats and dogs were cefovecin and amoxycillin clavulanate, respectively. The most common topical antimicrobial and high-rated topical antimicrobial given to dogs and cats was polymyxin B. This study provides a descriptive analysis of the antimicrobial usage patterns in Australia using methods that can be automated to inform antimicrobial use surveillance programs and promote antimicrobial stewardship.
Models that predict risk of Hendra virus transmission from flying foxes to horses
The report describes how we have improved our understanding of the transmission of Hendra virus from flying foxes to horses. This information improves our ability to better manage the risk of transmission and spillover even with good vaccination rates of horses against Hendra virus. In areas where vaccination is poor then our findings are even more likely to prove lifesaving.
Survival, gene and metabolite responses of Litoria verreauxii alpina frogs to fungal disease chytridiomycosis
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2018-03-06)
The fungal skin disease chytridiomycosis has caused the devastating decline and extinction of hundreds of amphibian species globally, yet the potential for evolving resistance, and the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms remain poorly understood. We exposed 406 naïve, captive-raised alpine tree frogs (Litoria verreauxii alpina) from multiple populations (one evolutionarily naïve to chytridiomycosis) to the aetiological agent Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in two concurrent and controlled infection experiments. We investigated (A) survival outcomes and clinical pathogen burdens between populations and clutches, and (B) individual host tissue responses to chytridiomycosis. Here we present multiple interrelated datasets associated with these exposure experiments, including animal signalment, survival and pathogen burden of 355 animals from Experiment A, and the following datasets related to 61 animals from Experiment B: animal signalment and pathogen burden; raw RNA-Seq reads from skin, liver and spleen tissues; de novo assembled transcriptomes for each tissue type; raw gene expression data; annotation data for each gene; and raw metabolite expression data from skin and liver tissues. These data provide an extensive baseline for future analyses.