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    ABSTRACT: Ljungan virus is a recently-identified member of the Picornaviridae that was isolated from bank voles in Sweden. It has been shown to cause type 1 diabetes-like symptoms and myocarditis in bank voles (Myodes glareolus) and it has been suggested that it has zoonotic potential. Here we showed for the first time that Ljungan virus was prevalent (20 - 27% positive by PCR) in four species of UK rodent (Myodes glareolus [bank vole], Apodemus sylvaticus [wood mice], Microtus agrestis [field vole] and Mus musculus [house mice]). Sequence analysis showed that Ljungan virus of genotypes 1 and 2 were found, although genotype 1 was more prevalent and more frequently associated with brain tissue. This study highlights the prevalence of Ljungan virus in the UK and the need for confirmation of its zoonotic potential.
    Archives of Virology 03/2014; 159(3):547-551.
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    ABSTRACT: Sheep infected with Anaplasma phagocytophilum, the causative agent of tick-borne fever (TBF), develop humoral immune responses 7-14 days after infection. Those individuals that survive acute TBF develop persistent infection, which may last for several months or even for life. The persistence of infection and recurrent bacteraemia is thought to be due to p44-mediated antigenic variation. The present study mapped linear B-cell epitopes within the hypervariable region (HVR) of the surface membrane protein P44 and investigated whether the development of antibodies against B cell epitopes within the HVR was preceded by the expression of p44 variants. Serum samples obtained from five sheep infected with the Old Sourhope strain of A. phagocytophilum (AP-OS) were used to detect antibody reactivity against 20-mer overlapping synthetic peptides spanning the HVR of two p44 variants which were expressed during primary bacteraemia and 3 variants expressed during secondary bacteraemia. The results showed that all five p44 variants of AP-OS have dominant B-cell epitopes residing mainly in the 3rd and 7th of the 10-11 peptides mapping each HVR. Antibody reactivity against peptides of the HVR of all the variants was characterised by a gradual rise, reaching peak levels in samples obtained 24 days post-inoculation (dpi) followed by a gradual decline. Anamnestic responses to whole cell antigens and to some of the dominant antigenic epitopes were detected in some of the animals, which were monitored for 52 weeks.
    Veterinary Microbiology 08/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Clade V nematodes comprise several parasitic species that include the cyathostomins, primary helminth pathogens of horses. Next generation transcriptome datasets are available for eight parasitic clade V nematodes, although no equine parasites are included in this group. Here, we report next generation transcriptome sequencing analysis for the common cyathostomin species, Cylicostephanus goldi. A cDNA library was generated from RNA extracted from 17 C. goldi male and female adult parasites. Following sequencing using a 454 GS FLX pyrosequencer, a total of 475,215 sequencing reads were generated, which were assembled into 26,910 contigs. Using Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) databases, 27% of the transcriptome was annotated. Further in-depth analysis was carried out by comparing the C. goldi dataset with the next generation transcriptomes and genomes of other clade V nematodes, with the Oesophagostomum dentatum transcriptome and the Haemonchus contortus genome showing the highest levels of sequence identity with the cyathostomin dataset (45%). The C. goldi transcriptome was mined for genes associated with anthelmintic mode of action and/or resistance. Sequences encoding proteins previously associated with the three major anthelmintic classes used in horses were identified, with the exception of the P-glycoprotein group. Targeted re-sequencing of the glutamate gated chloride channel α4 subunit (glc-3), one of the primary targets of the macrocyclic lactone anthelmintics, was performed for several cyathostomin species. We believe this study reports the first transcriptome dataset for an equine helminth parasite, providing the opportunity for in-depth analysis of these important parasites at the molecular level. Sequences encoding enzymes involved in key processes and genes associated with levamisole/pyrantel and macrocyclic lactone resistance, in particular the glutamate gated chloride channels, were identified. This novel data will inform cyathostomin biology and anthelmintic resistance studies in future.
    International journal for parasitology 08/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: The study investigates the ability of subtype A Avian metapneumovirus (AMPV) to accept foreign genes and be used as a vector for delivery of Infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) QX genes to chickens. Initially the GFP gene was added to AMPV at all gene junctions in conjunction with the development of cassetted full length DNA AMPV copies. After recombinant virus had been recovered by reverse genetics, GFP positions supporting gene expression while maintaining virus viability in vitro, were determined. Subsequently, either S1 or nucleocapsid (N) genes of IBV were positioned between AMPV M and F genes, while later a bivalent recombinant was prepared by inserting S1 and N at AMPV MF and GL junctions respectively. Immunofluorescent antibody staining showed that all recombinants expressed the inserted IBV genes in vitro and furthermore, all recombinant viruses were found to be highly stable during serial passage. Eyedrop inoculation of chickens with some AMPV-IBV recombinants at one-day-old induced protection against virulent IBV QX challenge 3 weeks later, as assessed by greater motility of tracheal cilia from chickens receiving the recombinants. Nonetheless evidence of AMPV/IBV seroconversion, or major recombinant tracheal replication, were largely absent.
    Vaccine 04/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Digital dermatitis is a painful foot disease compromising welfare in dairy cattle. The disease has a complex multibacterial aetiology, but little is known about its pathogenesis. In this study, gene expression in skin biopsies from five bovine digital dermatitis lesions and five healthy bovine feet was compared using RNA-Seq technology. Differential gene expression was determined after mapping transcripts to the Btau 4.0 genome. Pathway analysis identified gene networks involving differentially expressed transcripts. Bovine digital dermatitis lesions had increased expression of mRNA for α2-macroglobulin-like 1, a protein potentially involved in bacterial immune evasion and bacterial survival. There was increased expression of keratin 6A and interleukin 1β mRNA in bovine digital dermatitis lesions, but reduced expression of most other keratin and keratin-associated genes. There was little evidence of local immune reactions to the bacterial infection present in lesions.
    The Veterinary Journal 04/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Giardia duodenalis is a common intestinal parasite in humans and a wide range of livestock species. It is a genetically heterogeneous parasite that has been characterized in seven distinct genetic assemblages or cryptic species, and molecular markers can be used to differentiate both animal-specific and potentially zoonotic genotypes. Little is known about G. duodenalis and the range of assemblages occurring in domestic livestock species in the UK. Here, we present data on the occurrence and molecular diversity of G. duodenalis detected in the faeces or large intestinal contents of cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and camelids from farms in the north-west of England. Both healthy and clinically diseased animals were included in the survey. The presence of Giardia spp. and assemblages was determined by sequencing of the small-subunit ribosomal RNA gene. The potential association of infection with various clinical and epidemiological parameters was studied in cattle using both univariate and multivariate analyses. Giardia spp. were detected in 127 (34.3%) of the 370 animals tested. G. duodenalis assemblage E was found to be predominant in cattle and sheep, followed by assemblage A. Mixed infections with assemblages A and E were also detected. Interestingly, some cattle, sheep and pigs were found to be infected with more unexpected assemblages (C, D, F). Pre-weaned calves were more likely to test positive than adult animals, but no association between the occurrence of overt intestinal disease and G. duodenalis infection was detected. The common occurrence of assemblage A and the finding of unusual assemblages in atypical hosts suggest that in future, a multilocus analysis should be used to confirm the actual diversity of G. duodenalis in livestock and the presence of potentially zoonotic genotypes. These data also suggest that there is a need to re-evaluate the clinical significance of G. duodenalis infection in livestock.
    Transboundary and Emerging Diseases 03/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Colibacillosis is an economically important syndromic disease of poultry caused by extra-intestinal avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) but the pathotype remains poorly defined. Combinations of virulence-associated genes (VAGs) have aided APEC identification. The intestinal microbiota is a potential APEC reservoir. Broiler chickens are selectively bred for fast, uniform growth. Here we simultaneously investigate intestinal E. coli VAG carriage in apparently healthy birds and characterise systemic E. coli from diseased broiler chickens from the same flocks. Four flocks were sampled longitudinally from chick placement until slaughter. Phylogrouping, macro-restriction pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) were performed on an isolate subset from one flock to investigate the population structure of faecal and systemic E. coli. Early in production, VAG carriage among chick intestinal E. coli populations was diverse (average Simpson's D value = 0.73); 24.05% of intestinal E. coli (n = 160) from 1 day old chicks were carrying ≥5 VAGs. Generalised Linear models demonstrated VAG prevalence in potential APEC populations declined with age; 1% of E. coli carrying ≥5 VAGs at slaughter and demonstrated high strain diversity. A variety of VAG profiles and high strain diversity were observed among systemic E. coli. Thirty three new MLST sequence types were identified among 50 isolates and a new sequence type representing 22.2% (ST-2999) of the systemic population was found, differing from the pre-defined pathogenic ST-117 at a single locus. For the first time, this study takes a longitudinal approach to unravelling the APEC paradigm. Our findings, supported by other studies, highlight the difficulty in defining the APEC pathotype. Here we report a high genetic diversity among systemic E. coli between and within diseased broilers, harbouring diverse VAG profiles rather than single and/or highly related pathogenic clones suggesting host susceptibility in broilers plays an important role in APEC pathogenesis.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(6):e67749.
  • The Veterinary record. 11/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: Systems biology aims to integrate multiple biological data types such as genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics across different levels of structure and scale; it represents an emerging paradigm in the scientific process which challenges the reductionism that has dominated biomedical research for hundreds of years. Systems biology will nevertheless only be successful if the technologies on which it is based are able to deliver the required type and quality of data. In this review we discuss how well positioned is proteomics to deliver the data necessary to support meaningful systems modelling in parasite biology. We summarise the current state of identification proteomics in parasites, but argue that a new generation of quantitative proteomics data is now needed to underpin effective systems modelling. We discuss the challenges faced to acquire more complete knowledge of protein post-translational modifications, protein turnover and protein-protein interactions in parasites. Finally we highlight the central role of proteome-informatics in ensuring that proteomics data is readily accessible to the user-community and can be translated and integrated with other relevant data types.
    Parasitology 07/2012; 139(9):1103-18.
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    ABSTRACT: Using reverse genetics, an avian metapneumovirus (AMPV) was modified for use as a positive control for validating all stages of a popular established RT-nested PCR, used in the detection of the two major AMPV subtypes (A and B). Resultant amplicons were of increased size and clearly distinguishable from those arising from unmodified virus, thus allowing false positive bands, due to control virus contamination of test samples, to be identified readily. Absorption of the control virus onto filter paper and subsequent microwave irradiation removed all infectivity while its function as an efficient RT-nested-PCR template was unaffected. Identical amplicons were produced after storage for one year. The modified virus is likely to have application as an internal standard as well as in real time methods. Additions to AMPV of RNA from other RNA viruses, including hazardous examples such HIV and influenza, are likely to yield similar safe RT-PCR controls.
    Journal of virological methods 07/2012; 186(1-2):171-175.
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