Species association of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in non-human apes; evidence for recombination between gorilla and chimpanzee variants.
ABSTRACT: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections are widely distributed in humans, infecting approximately one third of the world's population. HBV variants have also been detected and genetically characterised from Old World apes; Gorilla gorilla (gorilla), Pan troglodytes (chimpanzee), Pongo pygmaeus (orang-utan), Nomascus nastusus and Hylobates pileatus (gibbons) and from the New World monkey, Lagothrix lagotricha (woolly monkey). To investigate species-specificity and potential for cross species transmission of HBV between sympatric species of apes (such as gorillas and chimpanzees in Central Africa) or between humans and chimpanzees or gorillas, variants of HBV infecting captive wild-born non-human primates were genetically characterised. 9 of 62 chimpanzees (11.3%) and two from 11 gorillas (18%) were HBV-infected (15% combined frequency), while other Old world monkey species were negative. Complete genome sequences were obtained from six of the infected chimpanzee and both gorillas; those from P. t .ellioti grouped with previously characterised variants from this subspecies. However, variants recovered from P. t. troglodytes HBV variants also grouped within this clade, indicative of transmission between sub-species, forming a paraphyletic clade. The two gorilla viruses were phylogenetically distinct from chimpanzee and human variants although one showed evidence for a recombination event with a P.t.e.-derived HBV variant in the partial X and core gene region. Both of these observations provide evidence for circulation of HBV between different species and sub-species of non-human primates, a conclusion that differs from the hypothesis if of strict host specificity of HBV genotypes.
Project description:Understanding the mechanisms governing the coexistence of organisms is an important question in ecology, and providing potential solutions contributes to conservation science. In this study, we evaluated the contribution of several mechanisms to the coexistence of two sympatric frugivores, using western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and central chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) in a tropical rainforest of southeast Cameroon as a model system. We collected great ape fecal samples to determine and classify fruit species consumed; we conducted great ape nest surveys to evaluate seasonal patterns of habitat use; and we collected botanical data to investigate the distribution of plant species across habitat types in relation to their "consumption traits" (which indicate whether plants are preferred or fallback for either gorilla, chimpanzee, or both). We found that patterns of habitat use varied seasonally for both gorillas and chimpanzees and that gorilla and chimpanzee preferred and fallback fruits differed. Also, the distribution of plant consumption traits was influenced by habitat type and matched accordingly with the patterns of habitat use by gorillas and chimpanzees. We show that neither habitat selection nor fruit preference alone can explain the coexistence of gorillas and chimpanzees, but that considering together the distribution of plant consumption traits of fruiting woody plants across habitats as well as the pattern of fruit availability may contribute to explaining coexistence. This supports the assumptions of niche theory with dominant and subordinate species in heterogeneous landscapes, whereby a species may prefer nesting in habitats where it is less subject to competitive exclusion and where food availability is higher. To our knowledge, our study is the first to investigate the contribution of plant consumption traits, seasonality, and habitat heterogeneity to enabling the coexistence of two sympatric frugivores. OPEN RESEARCH BADGES:This article has earned an Open Data Badge for making publicly available the digitally-shareable data necessary to reproduce the reported results. The data is available at https://datadryad.org/resource/doi:10.5061/dryad.ms65f29.
Project description:Plasmodium falciparum is the most prevalent and lethal of the malaria parasites infecting humans, yet the origin and evolutionary history of this important pathogen remain controversial. Here we develop a single-genome amplification strategy to identify and characterize Plasmodium spp. DNA sequences in faecal samples from wild-living apes. Among nearly 3,000 specimens collected from field sites throughout central Africa, we found Plasmodium infection in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and western gorillas (Gorilla gorilla), but not in eastern gorillas (Gorilla beringei) or bonobos (Pan paniscus). Ape plasmodial infections were highly prevalent, widely distributed and almost always made up of mixed parasite species. Analysis of more than 1,100 mitochondrial, apicoplast and nuclear gene sequences from chimpanzees and gorillas revealed that 99% grouped within one of six host-specific lineages representing distinct Plasmodium species within the subgenus Laverania. One of these from western gorillas comprised parasites that were nearly identical to P. falciparum. In phylogenetic analyses of full-length mitochondrial sequences, human P. falciparum formed a monophyletic lineage within the gorilla parasite radiation. These findings indicate that P. falciparum is of gorilla origin and not of chimpanzee, bonobo or ancient human origin.
Project description:Mitochondrial DNA sequences encoding the cytochrome oxidase subunit II gene have been determined for five primate species, siamang (Hylobates syndactylus), lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla), pygmy chimpanzee (Pan paniscus), crab-eating macaque (Macaca fascicularis), and green monkey (Cercopithecus aethiops), and compared with published sequences of other primate and nonprimate species. Comparisons of cytochrome oxidase subunit II gene sequences provide clear-cut evidence from the mitochondrial genome for the separation of the African ape trichotomy into two evolutionary lineages, one leading to gorillas and the other to humans and chimpanzees. Several different tree-building methods support this same phylogenetic tree topology. The comparisons also yield trees in which a substantial length separates the divergence point of gorillas from that of humans and chimpanzees, suggesting that the lineage most immediately ancestral to humans and chimpanzees may have been in existence for a relatively long time.
Project description:Since the 1970's, the diversity of Plasmodium parasites in African great apes has been neglected. Surprisingly, P. reichenowi, a chimpanzee parasite, is the only such parasite to have been molecularly characterized. This parasite is closely phylogenetically related to P. falciparum, the principal cause of the greatest malaria burden in humans. Studies of malaria parasites from anthropoid primates may provide relevant phylogenetic information, improving our understanding of the origin and evolutionary history of human malaria species. In this study, we screened 130 DNA samples from chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and gorillas (Gorilla gorilla) from Cameroon for Plasmodium infection, using cytochrome b molecular tools. Two chimpanzees from the subspecies Pan t. troglodytes presented single infections with Plasmodium strains molecularly related to the human malaria parasite P. ovale. These chimpanzee parasites and 13 human strains of P. ovale originated from a various sites in Africa and Asia were characterized using cytochrome b and cytochrome c oxidase 1 mitochondrial partial genes and nuclear ldh partial gene. Consistent with previous findings, two genetically distinct types of P. ovale, classical and variant, were observed in the human population from a variety of geographical locations. One chimpanzee Plasmodium strain was genetically identical, on all three markers tested, to variant P. ovale type. The other chimpanzee Plasmodium strain was different from P. ovale strains isolated from humans. This study provides the first evidence of possibility of natural cross-species exchange of P. ovale between humans and chimpanzees of the subspecies Pan t. troglodytes.
Project description:Play behaviour reinforces social affiliation in several primate species, including humans. Via a comparative approach, we tested the hypothesis that play dynamics in a group of lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) are different from those in a group of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) as a reflection of their difference in social affiliation and agonistic support. We selected one group of lowland gorillas and one of chimpanzees, hosted at the ZooParc de Beauval (France), managed in a similar way and living in similar enclosures. The same observers video-collected and analysed data on play behaviour in both groups, by applying identical methodological procedures. Data showed that adult play was less frequent in the group of gorillas compare to chimpanzees. Polyadic play, which involves more than two players and is characterised by the most uncertain outcome, was also less frequent in gorillas than chimpanzees. Play sessions were more unbalanced (more unidirectional patterns by one of the player towards the other) in chimpanzees than in gorillas but in the latter play escalated more frequently into serious aggression. Play asymmetry in the gorilla group increased as the number of players increased, which explains why gorillas limited their polyadic playful interactions. In conclusion, our findings on the study groups of apes can be a valuable starting point to expand the study of social play in the great apes to evaluate if inter-individual affiliative relationships really account for the differences in play distribution and dynamics.
Project description:Retroviral infections of the germline have the potential to episodically alter gene function and genome structure during the course of evolution. Horizontal transmissions between species have been proposed, but little evidence exists for such events in the human/great ape lineage of evolution. Based on analysis of finished BAC chimpanzee genome sequence, we characterize a retroviral element (Pan troglodytes endogenous retrovirus 1 [PTERV1]) that has become integrated in the germline of African great ape and Old World monkey species but is absent from humans and Asian ape genomes. We unambiguously map 287 retroviral integration sites and determine that approximately 95.8% of the insertions occur at non-orthologous regions between closely related species. Phylogenetic analysis of the endogenous retrovirus reveals that the gorilla and chimpanzee elements share a monophyletic origin with a subset of the Old World monkey retroviral elements, but that the average sequence divergence exceeds neutral expectation for a strictly nuclear inherited DNA molecule. Within the chimpanzee, there is a significant integration bias against genes, with only 14 of these insertions mapping within intronic regions. Six out of ten of these genes, for which there are expression data, show significant differences in transcript expression between human and chimpanzee. Our data are consistent with a retroviral infection that bombarded the genomes of chimpanzees and gorillas independently and concurrently, 3-4 million years ago. We speculate on the potential impact of such recent events on the evolution of humans and great apes.
Project description:Western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) are infected with a simian immunodeficiency virus (SIVgor) that is closely related to chimpanzee and human immunodeficiency viruses (SIVcpz and HIV-1, respectively) in west central Africa. Although existing data suggest a chimpanzee origin for SIVgor, a paucity of available sequences has precluded definitive conclusions. Here, we report the molecular characterization of one partial (BQ664) and three full-length (CP684, CP2135, and CP2139) SIVgor genomes amplified from fecal RNAs of wild-living gorillas at two field sites in Cameroon. Phylogenetic analyses showed that all SIVgor strains clustered together, forming a monophyletic lineage throughout their genomes. Interestingly, the closest relatives of SIVgor were not SIVcpzPtt strains from west central African chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) but human viruses belonging to HIV-1 group O. In trees derived from most genomic regions, SIVgor and HIV-1 group O formed a sister clade to the SIVcpzPtt lineage. However, in a tree derived from 5' pol sequences ( approximately 900 bp), SIVgor and HIV-1 group O fell within the SIVcpzPtt radiation. The latter was due to two SIVcpzPtt strains that contained mosaic pol sequences, pointing to the existence of a divergent SIVcpzPtt lineage that gave rise to SIVgor and HIV-1 group O. Gorillas appear to have acquired this lineage at least 100 to 200 years ago. To examine the biological properties of SIVgor, we synthesized a full-length provirus from fecal consensus sequences. Transfection of the resulting clone (CP2139.287) into 293T cells yielded infectious virus that replicated efficiently in both human and chimpanzee CD4(+) T cells and used CCR5 as the coreceptor for viral entry. Together, these results provide strong evidence that P. t. troglodytes apes were the source of SIVgor. These same apes may also have spawned the group O epidemic; however, the possibility that gorillas served as an intermediary host cannot be excluded.
Project description:Infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) was detected by serological testing for HBV surface antigen and by PCR assay for HBV DNA in serum samples from two common chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes subsp. verus) born in West Africa. The complete genome sequences obtained by nucleotide sequencing of overlapping DNA fragments amplified by PCR were compared with HBV variants recovered from other primates and with human genotypes A to F. Both chimpanzee sequences were 3, 182 nucleotides in length, and the surface gene sequence predicted the existence of a, d, and w serological determinants. Neither sequence contained stop codons in the precore region. On phylogenetic analysis, the HBV variants infecting the chimpanzees clustered together with a third chimpanzee HBV isolate independently obtained from an infected captive animal (A. J. Zuckerman, A. Thornton, C. R. Howard, K. N. Tsiquaye, D. M. Jones, and M. R. Brambell, Lancet ii:652-654, 1978), with an overall sequence similarity of >94%. This provides strong evidence for a chimpanzee-specific genotype of HBV which circulates in nature. These findings add to the recent evidence for infection in the wild of other Old and New World primates (gibbon, orangutan, and woolly monkey) with species-specific variants of HBV. There is no evidence for close phylogenetic clustering of variants found so far in primates with any of the established HBV genotypes from humans. With the new evidence for the widespread distribution of HBV in primates, hypotheses for the origins of human infection are reviewed.
Project description:What do functionally important DNA sites, those scrutinized and shaped by natural selection, tell us about the place of humans in evolution? Here we compare approximately 90 kb of coding DNA nucleotide sequence from 97 human genes to their sequenced chimpanzee counterparts and to available sequenced gorilla, orangutan, and Old World monkey counterparts, and, on a more limited basis, to mouse. The nonsynonymous changes (functionally important), like synonymous changes (functionally much less important), show chimpanzees and humans to be most closely related, sharing 99.4% identity at nonsynonymous sites and 98.4% at synonymous sites. On a time scale, the coding DNA divergencies separate the human-chimpanzee clade from the gorilla clade at between 6 and 7 million years ago and place the most recent common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees at between 5 and 6 million years ago. The evolutionary rate of coding DNA in the catarrhine clade (Old World monkey and ape, including human) is much slower than in the lineage to mouse. Among the genes examined, 30 show evidence of positive selection during descent of catarrhines. Nonsynonymous substitutions by themselves, in this subset of positively selected genes, group humans and chimpanzees closest to each other and have chimpanzees diverge about as much from the common human-chimpanzee ancestor as humans do. This functional DNA evidence supports two previously offered taxonomic proposals: family Hominidae should include all extant apes; and genus Homo should include three extant species and two subgenera, Homo (Homo) sapiens (humankind), Homo (Pan) troglodytes (common chimpanzee), and Homo (Pan) paniscus (bonobo chimpanzee).
Project description:Factors influencing the hominoid life histories are poorly understood, and little is known about how ecological conditions modulate the pace of their development. Yet our limited understanding of these interactions underpins life history interpretations in extinct hominins. Here we determined the synchronisation of dental mineralization/eruption with brain size in a 20th century museum collection of sympatric Gorilla gorilla and Pan troglodytes from Central Cameroon. Using ?13C and ?15N of individuals' hair, we assessed whether and how differences in diet and habitat use may have impacted on ape development. The results show that, overall, gorilla hair ?13C and ?15N values are more variable than those of chimpanzees, and that gorillas are consistently lower in ?13C and ?15N compared to chimpanzees. Within a restricted, isotopically-constrained area, gorilla brain development appears delayed relative to dental mineralization/eruption [or dental development is accelerated relative to brains]: only about 87.8% of adult brain size is attained by the time first permanent molars come into occlusion, whereas it is 92.3% in chimpanzees. Even when M1s are already in full functional occlusion, gorilla brains lag behind those of chimpanzee (91% versus 96.4%), relative to tooth development. Both bootstrap analyses and stable isotope results confirm that these results are unlikely due to sampling error. Rather, ?15N values imply that gorillas are not fully weaned (physiologically mature) until well after M1 are in full functional occlusion. In chimpanzees the transition from infant to adult feeding appears (a) more gradual and (b) earlier relative to somatic development. Taken together, the findings are consistent with life history theory that predicts delayed development when non-density dependent mortality is low, i.e. in closed habitats, and with the "risk aversion" hypothesis for frugivorous species as a means to avert starvation. Furthermore, the results highlight the complexity and plasticity of hominoid/hominin development.