Large-scale prion protein genotyping in Canadian caribou populations and potential impact on chronic wasting disease susceptibility.
ABSTRACT: Polymorphisms within the prion protein gene (Prnp) are an intrinsic factor that can modulate chronic wasting disease (CWD) pathogenesis in cervids. Although wild European reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) were infected with CWD, as yet there have been no reports of the disease in North American caribou (R. tarandus spp.). Previous Prnp genotyping studies on approximately 200 caribou revealed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at codons 2 (V/M), 129 (G/S), 138 (S/N), 146 (N/n) and 169 (V/M). The impact of these polymorphisms on CWD transmission is mostly unknown, except for codon 138. Reindeer carrying at least one allele encoding for asparagine (138NN or 138SN) are less susceptible to clinical CWD upon infection by natural routes, with the majority of prions limited to extraneural tissues. We sequenced the Prnp coding region of two caribou subspecies (n = 986) from British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, to identify SNPs and their frequencies. Genotype frequencies at codon 138 differed significantly between barren-ground (R. t. groenlandicus) and woodland (R. t. caribou) caribou when we excluded the Chinchaga herd (p < .05). We also found new variants at codons 153 (Y/F) and 242 (P/L). Our findings show that the 138N allele is rare among caribou in areas with higher risk of contact with CWD-infected species. As both subspecies are classified as Threatened and play significant roles in North American Indigenous culture, history, food security and the economy, determining frequencies of Prnp genotypes associated with susceptibility to CWD is important for future wildlife management measures.
Project description: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:BACKGROUND: The reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) industry in Alaska began with animals imported from Siberia (Russia) in the 1890's. Cervid herpes virus 2 (CvHV2) is endemic in reindeer in Scandinavia. We sought to determine if the same virus, or similar herpesviruses, were circulating in Alaskan reindeer and caribou (Rangifer tarandus granti). Serum samples from 292 reindeer were collected during annual reindeer handlings (1988-2005) near Nome, Alaska. In 2005, swab samples were collected from 40 calves from this herd, near Nome, Alaska. In 2007, ocular and nasal swab samples were collected from 30 apparently healthy reindeer calves near Wales, Alaska. Samples of plasma and white blood cells were collected from three Alaskan caribou herds, Mulchatna (n = 24), Teshekpuk (n = 34) and the Western Arctic (n = 87) in 2009. RESULTS: Of 292 reindeer samples tested by ELISA for antibodies against alphaherpesvirus (bovine herpesvirus 1 as antigen), seroprevalence was 47% (136/292) and adult reindeer had higher seroprevalence than yearlings. The overall seroprevalence for caribou was 60% (87/145), with no significant differences among caribou herds. A virus neutralization test of 20 samples from both reindeer and caribou showed that ELISA positive samples always neutralized CvHV2 to a greater extent than BoHV1 or elk herpesvirus (ElkHV), indicating that CvHv2 is the most likely virus circulating. PCR of nasal and ocular swabs sampled from 30 reindeer calves in Wales, Alaska (2007) yielded four CvHV2 positive samples. PCR amplicons of the expected size (294 bp) were obtained from 2 of the 36 buffy coats samples from caribou, and the amplicon sequences were consistent with CvHV2. CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that Alaskan reindeer and Caribou are infected with an alphaherpesvirus. Based on sequence similarity, CvHV-2 is the most likely virus. Further studies should be conducted to determine the impact of this infection on the health of these animals.
Project description:Susceptibility to prion diseases is largely determined by the sequence of the prion protein gene (PRNP), which encodes the prion protein (PrP). The recent emergence of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Europe has highlighted the need to investigate PRNP gene diversity in European deer species, to better predict their susceptibility to CWD. Here we report a large genetic survey of six British deer species, including red (Cervus elaphus), sika (Cervus nippon), roe (Capreolus capreolus), fallow (Dama dama), muntjac (Muntiacus reevesii), and Chinese water deer (Hydropotes inermis), which establishes PRNP haplotype and genotype frequencies. Two smaller data sets from red deer in Norway and the Czech Republic are also included for comparison. Overall red deer show the most PRNP variation, with non-synonymous/coding polymorphisms at codons 98, 168, 226 and 247, which vary markedly in frequency between different regions. Polymorphisms P168S and I247L were only found in Scottish and Czech populations, respectively. T98A was found in all populations except Norway and the south of England. Significant regional differences in genotype frequencies were observed within both British and European red deer populations. Other deer species showed less variation, particularly roe and fallow deer, in which identical PRNP gene sequences were found in all individuals analysed. Based on comparison with PRNP sequences of North American cervids affected by CWD and limited experimental challenge data, these results suggest that a high proportion of wild deer in Great Britain may be susceptible to CWD.
Project description:The emergence of CWD in Europe in 2016 and the first natural infection in wild reindeer warranted disease management. This led to the testing of 2424 hunted or culled reindeer during 2016-2018, from the infected subpopulation in the Nordfjella mountain range in Southern Norway. To identify any association between PRNP variation and CWD susceptibility, we characterized the open reading frame of the PRNP gene in 19 CWD positive reindeer and in 101 age category- and sex-matched CWD negative controls. Seven variant positions were identified: 6 single nucleotide variants (SNVs) and a 24 base pair (bp) deletion located between nucleotide position 238 and 272, encoding four instead of five octapeptide repeats. With a single exception, all variant positions but one were predicted to be non-synonymous. The synonymous SNV and the deletion are novel in reindeer. Various combinations of the non-synonymous variant positions resulted in the identification of five PRNP alleles (A-E) that structured into 14 genotypes. We identified an increased CWD risk in reindeer carrying two copies of the most common allele, A, coding for serine in position 225 (Ser225) and in those carrying allele A together with the 24 bp deletion.
Project description:Reindeer species (Rangifer tarandus, Linnaeus, 1758) includes wild and semi-domesticated ruminants belonging to Capreaolinae subfamily of Cervidae family reared in Eurasia (reindeer subspecies) and North America (caribou subspecies). Herding of reindeer has a great historical, socio-economic and ecological importance, especially to indigenous ethnic minorities. Infectious disease threats may therefore impact not solely the animal population driving it to further extinction and irreversible alterations to the wild environments of northern hemisphere, but also add to cultural changes observed as negative impact of globalization. Introduction of new technologies to control of reindeer migration between dwindling pasture areas and intensification of reindeer husbandry may facilitate the intra- and interspecies transmission of pathogens. The role of the reindeer as a potential BVDV reservoir has been studied, however, the number of publications is rather limited. The observed seroprevalences of the virus varied significantly between different geographical regions with different epidemiological situation. Most frequently limited number of animals studied and the differences in the sensitivities and specificities of the diagnostic test used could have also influenced on the differences between the studies. No pestivirus has been ever detected in free-ranging reindeer, however, a putative pestivirus strain named V60-Krefeld has been isolated from reindeer kept at a German Zoo in the 1990's. The virus was characterized as border disease virus type 2 (BDV-2) closely related to German ovine strains. The cross-neutralization studies of the semi-domesticated reindeer sera from Sweden suggested infection with a strain related to BDV-1 or BDV-2. The available data indicates that reindeer might be infected by a endemic species-specific BDV-like strain. However, the interspecies transmission of BVDV from domestic animals should not be excluded, since the susceptibility of reindeer to BVDV-1 has been confirmed under experimental conditions.
Project description:It is well known that scrapie is a fatal, neurodegenerative disease in sheep and goat, which belongs to the group of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion diseases. It has been confirmed that the polymorphisms of prion protein gene (PRNP) at codons 136, 154, and 171 have strong relationship with scrapie in sheep. In the present study, nine polymorphisms of PRNP at codons 136, 154, and 171 and other six loci (at codons 101, 112, 127, 137, 138, and 152) were detected in 180 Chinese Hu sheep. All the alleles at codons 136, 154, and 171 have been identified and resulted in three new genotypes. The frequencies of predominant alleles were 85% (A136), 99.40% (R154), and 37.78% (Q171), respectively. The predominant haplotype ARQ has a relatively high frequency of 57.77%. The frequencies of dominant genotypes of ARR/ARQ and ARQ/ARQ were 30 and 26.67%, respectively. Three new found genotypes named ARQ/TRK, ARQ/TRR, and TRR/TRQ had the same lower frequencies (0.56%). The relationship of PRNP genotype with scrapie risk and litter size showed that the predominant genotypes are corresponded to the risk score of R(1) (1.67%), R(2) (32.22%), and R(3) (42.22%). Just at the first parity, the individuals with ARH/ARH genotype had significantly larger litter size than the mean value and those with ARQ/ARQ and ARR/ARQ genotypes. In short, this study provided preliminary information about alleles and genotypes of PRNP in Chinese Hu sheep. It could be concluded that Hu sheep has a low susceptibility to natural scrapie, and the predominant PRNP genotype at least has no significant effect on litter size.
Project description:The first European cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in free-ranging reindeer and wild elk were confirmed in Norway in 2016 highlighting the urgent need to understand transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) in the context of European deer species and the many individual populations throughout the European continent. The genetics of the prion protein gene (PRNP) are crucial in determining the relative susceptibility to TSEs. To establish PRNP gene sequence diversity for free-ranging ruminants in the Northeast of Spain, the open reading frame was sequenced in over 350 samples from five species: Iberian red deer (Cervus elaphus hispanicus), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), fallow deer (Dama dama), Iberian wild goat (Capra pyrenaica hispanica) and Pyrenean chamois (Rupicapra p. pyrenaica). Three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were found in red deer: a silent mutation at codon 136, and amino acid changes T98A and Q226E. Pyrenean chamois revealed a silent SNP at codon 38 and an allele with a single octapeptide-repeat deletion. No polymorphisms were found in roe deer, fallow deer and Iberian wild goat. This apparently low variability of the PRNP coding region sequences of four major species in Spain resembles previous findings for wild mammals, but implies that larger surveys will be necessary to find novel, low frequency PRNP gene alleles that may be utilized in CWD risk control.
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.
Project description:Rangifer tarandus, known as caribou or reindeer, is a widespread circumpolar species which presents significant variability in their morphology, ecology, and genetics. A genome was sequenced from a male boreal caribou (R. t. caribou) from Manitoba, Canada. Both paired end and Chicago libraries were constructed and sequenced on Illumina platforms. The final assembly consists of approximately 2.205 Gb, and has a scaffold N50 of 11.765 Mb. BUSCO (Benchmarking Universal Single-Copy Orthologs) reconstructed 3820 (93.1%) complete mammalian genes, and genome annotation identified the locations of 33,177 protein-coding genes. An alignment to the bovine genome was carried out, indicating sequence coverage on all bovine chromosomes. A high-quality reference genome will be invaluable for evolutionary research and for conservation efforts for the species. Further information about the genome, including a FASTA file of the assembly and the annotation files, is available on our caribou genome website. Raw sequence data is available at the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), under the BioProject accession number PRJNA549927.
Project description:Reindeer herding probably developed during the Late Iron Age onwards and is still an important part of the subsistence and culture of many peoples in northern Eurasia. However, despite the importance of this husbandry in the history of these Arctic people, the period and place of the origin as well as the spread of domestic reindeer is still highly debated. Besides the existence of different breeding methods in these territories, identifying domesticated individuals in the archaeological record is complicated because reindeers are considered to still be in the early phases of the domestication process. Indeed, the traditional morphological markers used in zooarchaeology to decipher the domestication syndrome are hardly perceptible in these early stages. In this work, we propose solutions for identifying domestic reindeer bones using 3D geometric morphometrics on isolated elements from the long bones of the forelimb (i.e. humerus, radio-ulna and metacarpal). These bones are important to understand both the feeding behaviour and the mobility of reindeer, and the potential effect of load-carrying or draught in the case of domestic reindeer. We analysed 123 modern specimens from Fennoscandia, including the two interbreeding subspecies currently present in these territories: mountain reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) and forest reindeer (R.t. fennicus); and where the sex and the lifestyle were known (i.e. free-ranging, racing or draught and captive individuals). A good level of discrimination between the size and shape variables of the bones of the forelimb was found among both subspecies and sexes. Moreover, individuals bred in captivity had smaller bone elements and a thinner and more slender morphology than free-ranging individuals. This demonstrates that the long bones of the forelimb can provide information on changes in feeding and locomotor behaviour prompted by the domestication process, like control and/or reduction of mobility and food of individual reindeer by humans. This also demonstrates that analysis in 3D geometric morphometrics is useful in detecting reindeer incipient domestication markers. Our results can be used by archaeologists to trace the early stages of domestication from fossil reindeer remains, and aid in reconstructing the socio-economic changes of past Arctic populations over time.