Experimental oral transmission of chronic wasting disease to reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus).
ABSTRACT: Chronic wasting disease (CWD), a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy of cervids, remains prevalent in North American elk, white-tailed deer and mule deer. A natural case of CWD in reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) has not been reported despite potential habitat overlap with CWD-infected deer or elk herds. This study investigates the experimental transmission of CWD from elk or white-tailed deer to reindeer by the oral route of inoculation. Ante-mortem testing of the three reindeer exposed to CWD from white-tailed deer identified the accumulation of pathological PrP (PrP(CWD)) in the recto-anal mucosa associated lymphoid tissue (RAMALT) of two reindeer at 13.4 months post-inoculation. Terminal CWD occurred in the two RAMALT-positive reindeer at 18.5 and 20 months post-inoculation while one other reindeer in the white-tailed deer CWD inoculum group and none of the 3 reindeer exposed to elk CWD developed disease. Tissue distribution analysis of PrP(CWD) in CWD-affected reindeer revealed widespread deposition in central and peripheral nervous systems, lymphoreticular tissues, the gastrointestinal tract, neuroendocrine tissues and cardiac muscle. Analysis of prion protein gene (PRNP) sequences in the 6 reindeer identified polymorphisms at residues 2 (V/M), 129 (G/S), 138 (S/N) and 169 (V/M). These findings demonstrate that (i) a sub-population of reindeer are susceptible to CWD by oral inoculation implicating the potential for transmission to other Rangifer species, and (ii) certain reindeer PRNP polymorphisms may be protective against CWD infection.
Project description:Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal prion disease in deer and elk. Unique among the prion diseases, it is transmitted among captive and free-ranging animals. To facilitate studies of the biology of CWD prions, we generated five lines of transgenic (Tg) mice expressing prion protein (PrP) from Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni), denoted Tg(ElkPrP), and two lines of Tg mice expressing PrP common to white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), denoted Tg(DePrP). None of the Tg(ElkPrP) or Tg(DePrP) mice exhibited spontaneous neurologic dysfunction at more than 600 days of age. Brain samples from CWD-positive elk, white-tailed deer, and mule deer produced disease in Tg(ElkPrP) mice between 180 and 200 days after inoculation and in Tg(DePrP) mice between 300 and 400 days. One of eight cervid brain inocula transmitted disease to Tg(MoPrP)4053 mice overexpressing wild-type mouse PrP-A in approximately 540 days. Neuropathologic analysis revealed abundant PrP amyloid plaques in the brains of ill mice. Brain homogenates from symptomatic Tg(ElkPrP) mice produced disease in 120 to 190 days in Tg(ElkPrP) mice. In contrast to the Tg(ElkPrP) and Tg(DePrP) mice, Tg mice overexpressing human, bovine, or ovine PrP did not develop prion disease after inoculation with CWD prions from among nine different isolates after >500 days. These findings suggest that CWD prions from elk, mule deer, and white-tailed deer can be readily transmitted among these three cervid species.
Project description:Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that affects cervids in North America and now Europe. No effective measures are available to control CWD. We hypothesized that active vaccination with homologous and aggregation-prone recombinant prion protein (PrP) could overcome self-tolerance and induce autoantibody production against the cellular isoform of PrP (PrPC), which would be protective against CWD infection from peripheral routes. Five groups of transgenic mice expressing elk PrP (TgElk) were vaccinated with either the adjuvant CpG alone or one of four recombinant PrP immunogens: deer dimer (Ddi); deer monomer (Dmo); mouse dimer (Mdi); and mouse monomer (Mmo). Mice were then challenged intraperitoneally with elk CWD prions. All vaccinated mice developed ELISA-detectable antibody titers against PrP. Importantly, all four vaccinated groups survived longer than the control group, with the Mmo-immunized group exhibiting 60% prolongation of mean survival time compared with the control group (183 versus 114 days post-inoculation). We tested for prion infection in brain and spleen of all clinically sick mice. Notably, the attack rate was 100% as revealed by positive CWD signals in all tested tissues when assessed with Western blotting, real-time quaking-induced conversion, and immunohistochemistry. Our pilot study in reindeer indicated appreciable humoral immune responses to Mdi and Ddi immunogens, and the post-immune sera from the Ddi-vaccinated reindeer mitigated CWD propagation in a cell culture model (CWD-RK13). Taken together, our study provides very promising vaccine candidates against CWD, but further studies in cervids are required to investigate vaccine efficacy in the natural CWD hosts.
Project description:Gammaherpesvirus infections have been described in cervids worldwide, mainly the genera Macavirus or Rhadinovirus. However, little is known about the gammaherpesviruses species infecting cervids in Norway and Fennoscandia. Blood samples from semi-domesticated (n = 39) and wild (n = 35) Eurasian tundra reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus), moose (Alces alces, n = 51), and red deer (Cervus elaphus, n = 41) were tested using a panherpesvirus DNA polymerase (DPOL) PCR. DPOL-PCR-positive samples were subsequently tested for the presence of glycoprotein B (gB) gene. The viral DPOL gene was amplified in 28.2% (11/39) of the semi-domesticated reindeer and in 48.6% (17/35) of the wild reindeer. All moose and red deer tested negative. Additionally, gB gene was amplified in 4 of 11 semi-domesticated and 15 of 17 wild Eurasian reindeer DPOL-PCR-positive samples. All the obtained DPOL and gB sequences were highly similar among them, and corresponded to a novel gammaherpesvirus species, tentatively named Rangiferine gammaherpesvirus 1, that seemed to belong to a genus different from Macavirus and Rhadinovirus. This is the first report of a likely host-specific gammaherpesvirus in semi-domesticated reindeer, an economic and cultural important animal, and in wild tundra reindeer, the lastpopulation in Europe. Future studies are required to clarify the potential impact of this gammaherpesvirus on reindeer health.
Project description:Chronic wasting disease (CWD), an important emerging prion disease of cervids, is readily transmitted by intracerebral or oral inoculation from deer-to-deer and elk-to-elk, suggesting the latter is a natural route of exposure. Studies of host range susceptibility to oral infection, particularly of those species found in habitats where CWD currently exists are imperative. This report describes the experimental transmission of CWD to red deer following oral inoculation with infectious CWD material of elk origin. At 18 to 20 months post-inoculation, mild to moderate neurological signs and weight loss were observed and animals were euthanized and tested using 3 conventional immunological assays. The data indicate that red deer are susceptible to oral challenge and that tissues currently used for CWD diagnosis show strong abnormal prion (PrP(CWD)) accumulation. Widespread peripheral PrP(CWD) deposition involves lymphoreticular tissues, endocrine tissues, and cardiac muscle and suggests a potential source of prion infectivity, a means of horizontal transmission and carrier state.
Project description:Chronic wasting disease (CWD) affects a broad array of cervid species and continues to be detected in an expanding geographic range. Initially introduced into the Republic of Korea through the importation of CWD-infected elk (<i>Cervus canadensis</i>), additional cases of CWD were subsequently detected in farmed Korean elk and sika deer (<i>Cervus nippon</i>). Wild and farmed sika deer are found in many regions of Asia, North America, and Europe, although natural transmission to this species has not been detected outside of the Republic of Korea. In this study, the oral transmission of CWD to sika deer was investigated using material from CWD-affected elk. Pathological prion (PrP<sup>CWD</sup>) immunoreactivity was detected in oropharyngeal lymphoid tissues of one sika deer at 3.9 months post-inoculation (mpi) and was more widely distributed in a second sika deer examined at 10.9 mpi. The remaining four sika deer progressed to clinical disease between 21 and 24 mpi. Analysis of PrP<sup>CWD</sup> tissue distribution in clinical sika deer revealed widespread deposition in central and peripheral nervous systems, lymphoreticular tissues, and the gastrointestinal tract. Prion protein gene (<i>PRNP</i>) sequences of these sika deer were identical and consistent with those reported in natural sika deer populations. These findings demonstrate the efficient oral transmission of CWD from elk to sika deer.
Project description:In order to assess the susceptibility of bank voles to chronic wasting disease (CWD), we inoculated voles carrying isoleucine or methionine at codon 109 (Bv109I and Bv109M, respectively) with CWD isolates from elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer. Efficient transmission rate (100%) was observed with mean survival times ranging from 156 to 281 days post inoculation. Subsequent passages in Bv109I allowed us to isolate from all CWD sources the same vole-adapted CWD strain (Bv(109I)CWD), typified by unprecedented short incubation times of 25-28 days and survival times of ?35 days. Neuropathological and molecular characterisation of Bv(109I)CWD showed that the classical features of mammalian prion diseases were all recapitulated in less than one month after intracerebral inoculation. Bv(109I)CWD was characterised by a mild and discrete distribution of spongiosis and relatively low levels of protease-resistant PrP(Sc) (PrP(res)) in the same brain regions. Despite the low PrP(res) levels and the short time lapse available for its accumulation, end-point titration revealed that brains from terminally-ill voles contained up to 10(8,4) i.c. ID50 infectious units per gram. Bv(109I)CWD was efficiently replicated by protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA) and the infectivity faithfully generated in vitro, as demonstrated by the preservation of the peculiar Bv(109I)CWD strain features on re-isolation in Bv109I. Overall, we provide evidence that the same CWD strain was isolated in Bv109I from the three-cervid species. Bv(109I)CWD showed unique characteristics of "virulence", low PrP(res) accumulation and high infectivity, thus providing exceptional opportunities to improve basic knowledge of the relationship between PrP(Sc), neurodegeneration and infectivity.
Project description:Hepatitis E virus (HEV), a major cause of viral hepatitis worldwide, is considered an emerging foodborne zoonosis in Europe. Pigs (<i>Sus scrofa domestica</i>) and wild boars (<i>S. scrofa</i>) are recognized as important HEV reservoirs. Additionally, HEV infection and exposure have been described in cervids. In Norway, HEV has been identified in pigs and humans; however, little is known regarding its presence in wild ungulates in the country. We used a species-independent double-antigen sandwich ELISA to detect antibodies against HEV in the sera of 715 wild ungulates from Norway, including 164 moose (<i>Alces alces</i>), 186 wild Eurasian tundra reindeer (<i>Rangifer tarandus tarandus</i>), 177 red deer (<i>Cervus elaphus</i>), 86 European roe deer (<i>Capreolus capreolus</i>), and 102 muskoxen (<i>Ovibos moschatus</i>). The overall seroprevalence was 12.3% (88/715). Wild reindeer had the highest seropositivity (23.1%, 43/186), followed by moose (19.5%, 32/164), muskoxen (5.9%, 6/102), and red deer (4%, 7/177). All roe deer were negative. According to our results, HEV is circulating in wild ungulates in Norway. The high seroprevalence observed in wild reindeer and moose indicates that these species may be potential reservoirs of HEV. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of HEV exposure in reindeer from Europe and in muskoxen worldwide.
Project description:Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is an emerging transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (prion disease) of North American cervids, i.e., mule deer, white-tailed deer, and elk (wapiti). To facilitate in vitro studies of CWD, we have developed a transformed deer cell line that is persistently infected with CWD. Primary cultures derived from uninfected mule deer brain tissue were transformed by transfection with a plasmid containing the simian virus 40 genome. A transformed cell line (MDB) was exposed to microsomes prepared from the brainstem of a CWD-affected mule deer. CWD-associated, protease-resistant prion protein (PrP(CWD)) was used as an indicator of CWD infection. Although no PrP(CWD) was detected in any of these cultures after two passes, dilution cloning of cells yielded one PrP(CWD)-positive clone out of 51. This clone, designated MDB(CWD), has maintained stable PrP(CWD) production through 32 serial passes thus far. A second round of dilution cloning yielded 20 PrP(CWD)-positive subclones out of 30, one of which was designated MDB(CWD2). The MDB(CWD2) cell line was positive for fibronectin and negative for microtubule-associated protein 2 (a neuronal marker) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (an activated astrocyte marker), consistent with derivation from brain fibroblasts (e.g., meningeal fibroblasts). Two inhibitors of rodent scrapie protease-resistant PrP accumulation, pentosan polysulfate and a porphyrin compound, indium (III) meso-tetra(4-sulfonatophenyl)porphine chloride, potently blocked PrP(CWD) accumulation in MDB(CWD) cells. This demonstrates the utility of these cells in a rapid in vitro screening assay for PrP(CWD) inhibitors and suggests that these compounds have potential to be active against CWD in vivo.
Project description:Although the unifying hallmark of prion diseases is CNS neurodegeneration caused by conformational corruption of host prion protein (PrP) to its infective counterpart, contagious transmission of chronic wasting disease (CWD) results from shedding of prions produced at high titers in the periphery of diseased cervids. While deer and elk PrP primary structures are equivalent except at residue 226, which is glutamate in elk and glutamine in deer, the effect of this difference on CWD pathogenesis is largely unknown. Using a gene-targeting approach where the mouse PrP coding sequence was replaced with elk or deer PrP, we show that the resulting GtE226 and GtQ226 mice had distinct kinetics of disease onset, prion conformations, and distributions of prions in the brains of diseased mice following intracerebral CWD challenge. These findings indicate that amino acid differences at PrP residue 226 dictate the selection and propagation of divergent strains in deer and elk with CWD. Because prion strain properties largely dictate host-range potential, our findings suggest that prion strains from elk and deer pose distinct risks to sympatric species or humans exposed to CWD. GtE226 and GtQ226 mice were also highly susceptible to CWD prions following intraperitoneal and oral exposures, a characteristic that stood in stark contrast to previously produced transgenic models. Remarkably, disease transmission was effective when infected mice were cohoused with naïve cagemates. Our findings indicate that gene-targeted mice provide unprecedented opportunities to accurately investigate CWD peripheral pathogenesis, CWD strains, and mechanisms of horizontal CWD transmission.
Project description:Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) is a non-migratory subspecies of reindeer inhabiting the high-arctic archipelago of Svalbard. In contrast to other Rangifer tarandus subspecies, Svalbard reindeer graze exclusively on natural sources of food and have no chance of ingestion of any crops. We report the use of a non-invasive method for analysis of fecal microbiome by means of sequencing the 16S rDNA extracted from the fecal microbiota of R. tarandus platyrhynchus from a small, isolated population in Hornsund, South Spitsbergen National Park. Analyses of all samples showed that 99% of the total reads were represented by Bacteria. Taxonomy-based analysis showed that fecal bacterial communities consisted of 14 phyla. The most abundant phyla across the population were Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes, and those phyla jointly accounted for more than 95% of total bacterial sequences (ranging between 90.14 and 98.19%). Specifically, Firmicutes comprised 56.53% (42.98-63.64%) and Bacteroidetes comprised 39.17% (34.56-47.16%) of the total reads. The remaining 5% of the population reads comprised of Tenericutes, Cyanobacteria, TM7, Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria, Verrucomicrobia, Elusimicrobia, Planctomycetes, Fibrobacteres, Spirochaetes, Chloroflexi, and Deferribacteres. Differences in the fecal bacteria composition between particular reindeer were not statistically significant which may reflect the restricted location and similar diet of all members of the local population.