Project description:Rodent betaherpesviruses vary considerably in genomic content, and these variations can result in a distinct pathogenicity. Therefore, the identification of unknown betaherpesviruses in house mice (Mus musculus), the most important rodent host species in basic research, is of importance. During a search for novel herpesviruses in house mice using herpesvirus consensus PCR and attempts to isolate viruses in tissue culture, we identified a previously unknown betaherpesvirus. The primary PCR search in mouse organs revealed the presence of known strains of murine cytomegalovirus (Murid herpesvirus 1) and of Mus musculus rhadinovirus 1 only. However, the novel virus was detected after incubation of organ pieces in fibroblast tissue culture and subsequent PCR analysis of the supernatants. Long-distance PCR amplification including the DNA polymerase and glycoprotein B genes revealed a 3.4 kb sequence that was similar to sequences of rodent cytomegaloviruses. Pairwise sequence comparisons and phylogenetic analyses showed that this newly identified murine virus is most similar to the English isolate of rat cytomegalovirus, thereby raising the possibility that two distinct CMV lineages have evolved in both Mus musculus and Rattus norvegicus.
Project description:House mice (Mus musculus) emit ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs), which are surprisingly complex and have features of bird song, but their functions are not well understood. Previous studies have reported mixed evidence on whether there are sex differences in USV emission, though vocalization rate or other features may depend upon whether potential receivers are of the same or opposite sex. We recorded the USVs of wild-derived adult house mice (F1 of wild-caught Mus musculus musculus), and we compared the vocalizations of males and females in response to a stimulus mouse of the same- or opposite-sex. To detect and quantify vocalizations, we used an algorithm that automatically detects USVs (Automatic Mouse Ultrasound Detector or A-MUD). We found high individual variation in USV emission rates (4 to 2083 elements/10 min trial) and a skewed distribution, with most mice (60%) emitting few (?50) elements. We found no differences in the rates of calling between the sexes overall, but mice of both sexes emitted vocalizations at a higher rate and higher frequencies during opposite- compared to same-sex interactions. We also observed a trend toward higher amplitudes by males when presented with a male compared to a female stimulus. Our results suggest that mice modulate the rate and frequency of vocalizations depending upon the sex of potential receivers.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Due to their high level of genotypic and phenotypic variability, Mus spretus strains were introduced in laboratories to investigate the genetic determinism of complex phenotypes including quantitative trait loci. Mus spretus diverged from Mus musculus around 2.5 million years ago and exhibits on average a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in every 100 base pairs when compared with any of the classical laboratory strains. A genoproteomic approach was used to assess polymorphism of the major milk proteins between SEG/Pas and C57BL/6J, two inbred strains of mice representative of Mus spretus and Mus musculus species, respectively. RESULTS: The milk protein concentration was dramatically reduced in the SEG/Pas strain by comparison with the C57BL/6J strain (34 ± 9 g/L vs. 125 ± 12 g/L, respectively). Nine major proteins were identified in both milks using RP-HPLC, bi-dimensional electrophoresis and MALDI-Tof mass spectrometry. Two caseins (? and ?s1) and the whey acidic protein (WAP), showed distinct chromatographic and electrophoresis behaviours. These differences were partly explained by the occurrence of amino acid substitutions and splicing variants revealed by cDNA sequencing. A total of 34 SNPs were identified in the coding and 3'untranslated regions of the SEG/Pas Csn1s1 (11), Csn2 (7) and Wap (8) genes. In addition, a 3 nucleotide deletion leading to the loss of a serine residue at position 93 was found in the SEG/Pas Wap gene. CONCLUSION: SNP frequencies found in three milk protein-encoding genes between Mus spretus and Mus musculus is twice the values previously reported at the whole genome level. However, the protein structure and post-translational modifications seem not to be affected by SNPs characterized in our study. Splicing mechanisms (cryptic splice site usage, exon skipping, error-prone junction sequence), already identified in casein genes from other species, likely explain the existence of multiple ?s1-casein isoforms both in SEG/Pas and C57BL/6J strains. Finally, we propose a possible mechanism by which the hallmark tandem duplication of a 18-nt exon (14 copies) may have occurred in the mouse genome.
Project description:Rodent herpesviruses such as murine cytomegalovirus (host, Mus musculus), rat cytomegalovirus (host, Rattus norvegicus), and murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (hosts, Apodemus species) are important tools for the experimental study of human herpesvirus diseases. However, alphaherpesviruses, roseoloviruses, and lymphocryptoviruses, as well as rhadinoviruses, that naturally infect Mus musculus (house mouse) and other Old World mice are unknown. To identify hitherto-unknown rodent-associated herpesviruses, we captured M. musculus, R. norvegicus, and 14 other rodent species in several locations in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Thailand. Samples of trigeminal ganglia, dorsal root ganglia, brains, spleens, and other organs, as well as blood, were analyzed with a degenerate panherpesvirus PCR targeting the DNA polymerase (DPOL) gene. Herpesvirus-positive samples were subjected to a second degenerate PCR targeting the glycoprotein B (gB) gene. The sequences located between the partial DPOL and gB sequences were amplified by long-distance PCR and sequenced, resulting in a contiguous sequence of approximately 3.5 kbp. By DPOL PCR, we detected 17 novel betaherpesviruses and 21 novel gammaherpesviruses but no alphaherpesvirus. Of these 38 novel herpesviruses, 14 were successfully analyzed by the complete bigenic approach. Most importantly, the first gammaherpesvirus of Mus musculus was discovered (Mus musculus rhadinovirus 1 [MmusRHV1]). This virus is a member of a novel group of rodent gammaherpesviruses, which is clearly distinct from murine herpesvirus 68-like rodent gammaherpesviruses. Multigenic phylogenetic analysis, using an 8-kbp locus, revealed that MmusRHV1 diverged from the other gammaherpesviruses soon after the evolutionary separation of Epstein-Barr virus-like lymphocryptoviruses from human herpesvirus 8-like rhadinoviruses and alcelaphine herpesvirus 1-like macaviruses.
Project description:The mammalian vomeronasal organ (VNO) expresses two G-protein coupled receptor gene families that mediate pheromone responses, the V1R and V2R receptor genes. In rodents, there are ~150 V1R genes comprising 12 subfamilies organized in gene clusters at multiple chromosomal locations. Previously, we showed that several of these subfamilies had been extensively modulated by gene duplications, deletions, and gene conversions around the time of the evolutionary split of the mouse and rat lineages, consistent with the hypothesis that V1R repertoires might be involved in reinforcing speciation events. Here, we generated genome sequence for one large cluster containing two V1R subfamilies in Mus spretus, a closely related and sympatric species to Mus musculus, and investigated evolutionary change in these repertoires along the two mouse lineages.We describe a comparison of spretus and musculus with respect to genome organization and synteny, as well as V1R gene content and phylogeny, with reference to previous observations made between mouse and rat. Unlike the mouse-rat comparisons, synteny seems to be largely conserved between the two mouse species. Disruption of local synteny is generally associated with differences in repeat content, although these differences appear to arise more from deletion than new integrations. Even though unambiguous V1R orthology is evident, we observe dynamic modulation of the functional repertoires, with two of seven V1Rb and one of eleven V1Ra genes lost in spretus, two V1Ra genes becoming pseudogenes in musculus, two additional orthologous pairs apparently subject to strong adaptive selection, and another divergent orthologous pair that apparently was subjected to gene conversion.Therefore, eight of the 18 (~44%) presumptive V1Ra/V1Rb genes in the musculus-spretus ancestor appear to have undergone functional modulation since these two species diverged. As compared to the rat-mouse split, where modulation is evident by independent expansions of these two V1R subfamilies, divergence between musculus and spretus has arisen more by mutations within coding sequences. These results support the hypothesis that adaptive changes in functional V1R repertoires contribute to the delineation of very closely related species.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Mus spretus diverged from Mus musculus over one million years ago. These mice are genetically and phenotypically divergent. Despite the value of utilizing M. musculus and M. spretus for quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping, relatively little genomic information on M. spretus exists, and most of the available sequence and polymorphic data is for one strain of M. spretus, Spret/Ei. In previous work, we mapped fifteen loci for skin cancer susceptibility using four different M. spretus by M. musculus F1 backcrosses. One locus, skin tumor susceptibility 5 (Skts5) on chromosome 12, shows strong linkage in one cross. RESULTS: To identify potential candidate genes for Skts5, we sequenced 65 named and unnamed genes and coding elements mapping to the peak linkage area in outbred spretus, Spret/EiJ, FVB/NJ, and NIH/Ola. We identified polymorphisms in 62 of 65 genes including 122 amino acid substitutions. To look for polymorphisms consistent with the linkage data, we sequenced exons with amino acid polymorphisms in two additional M. spretus strains and one additional M. musculus strain generating 40.1 kb of sequence data. Eight candidate variants were identified that fit with the linkage data. To determine the degree of variation across M. spretus, we conducted phylogenetic analyses. The relatedness of the M. spretus strains at this locus is consistent with the proximity of region of ascertainment of the ancestral mice. CONCLUSION: Our analyses suggest that, if Skts5 on chromosome 12 is representative of other regions in the genome, then published genomic data for Spret/EiJ are likely to be of high utility for genomic studies in other M. spretus strains.
Project description:Copy number variation is an important dimension of genetic diversity and has implications in development and disease. As an important model organism, the mouse is a prime candidate for copy number variant (CNV) characterization, but this has yet to be completed for a large sample size. Here we report CNV analysis of publicly available, high-density microarray data files for 351 mouse tail samples, including 290 mice that had not been characterized for CNVs previously.We found 9634 putative autosomal CNVs across the samples affecting 6.87% of the mouse reference genome. We find significant differences in the degree of CNV uniqueness (single sample occurrence) and the nature of CNV-gene overlap between wild-caught mice and classical laboratory strains. CNV-gene overlap was associated with lipid metabolism, pheromone response and olfaction compared to immunity, carbohydrate metabolism and amino-acid metabolism for wild-caught mice and classical laboratory strains, respectively. Using two subspecies of wild-caught Mus musculus, we identified putative CNVs unique to those subspecies and show this diversity is better captured by wild-derived laboratory strains than by the classical laboratory strains. A total of 9 genic copy number variable regions (CNVRs) were selected for experimental confirmation by droplet digital PCR (ddPCR).The analysis we present is a comprehensive, genome-wide analysis of CNVs in Mus musculus, which increases the number of known variants in the species and will accelerate the identification of novel variants in future studies.
Project description:Mate choice is a critical behavioral decision process with profound impact on evolution. However, the mechanistic basis of mate choice is poorly understood. In this study we focused on assortative mate choice, which is known to contribute to the reproductive isolation of the two European subspecies of house mouse, Mus musculus musculus and Mus musculus domesticus. To understand the decision process, we developed both full mating and limited-contact paradigms and tested musculus females' preference for musculus versus domesticus males, mimicking the natural musculus/domesticus contact zone. As hypothesized, when allowed to mate we found that sexually receptive musculus females exhibited a robust preference to mate with musculus males. In contrast, when non-receptive, females did not exhibit a preference and rather alternated between males in response to male mount attempts. Moreover in a no-choice condition, females mated readily with males from both subspecies. Finally, when no physical contact was allowed, and therefore male's behavior could not influence female's behavior, female's preference for its own subspecies was maintained independently of the estrous state. Together, our results suggest that the assortative preference is relative and based on a comparison of the options available rather than on an absolute preference. The results of the limited-contact experiments highlight the interplay between female's internal state and the nature of the interaction with prospective mates in the full mating conditions. With these experiments we believe we established an assortative mate preference assay that is appropriate for the investigation of its underlying substrates.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The three main subspecies of house mice, Mus musculus castaneus, Mus musculus domesticus, and Mus musculus musculus, are estimated to have diverged ~?350-500KYA. Resolution of the details of their evolutionary history is complicated by their relatively recent divergence, ongoing gene flow among the subspecies, and complex demographic histories. Previous studies have been limited to some extent by the number of loci surveyed and/or by the scope of the method used. Here, we apply a method (IMa3) that provides an estimate of a population phylogeny while allowing for complex histories of gene exchange. RESULTS:Results strongly support a topology with M. m. domesticus as sister to M. m. castaneus and M. m. musculus. In addition, we find evidence of gene flow between all pairs of subspecies, but that gene flow is most restricted from M. m. musculus into M. m. domesticus. Estimates of other key parameters are dependent on assumptions regarding generation time and mutation rate in house mice. Nevertheless, our results support previous findings that the effective population size, Ne, of M. m. castaneus is larger than that of the other two subspecies, that the three subspecies began diverging ~?130 - 420KYA, and that the time between divergence events was short. CONCLUSIONS:Joint demographic and phylogenetic analyses of genomic data provide a clearer picture of the history of divergence in house mice.
Project description:Two house mouse subspecies occur in Europe, eastern and northern Mus musculus musculus (Mmm) and western and southern Mus musculus domesticus (Mmd). A secondary hybrid zone occurs where their ranges meet, running from Scandinavia to the Black Sea. In this paper, we tested a hypothesis that the apicomplexan protozoan species Cryptosporidium tyzzeri has coevolved with the house mouse. More specifically, we assessed to what extent the evolution of this parasite mirrors divergence of the two subspecies. In order to test this hypothesis, we analysed sequence variation at five genes (ssrRNA, Cryptosporidium oocyst wall protein (COWP), thrombospondin-related adhesive protein of Cryptosporidium 1 (TRAP-C1), actin and gp60) in C. tyzzeri isolates from Mmd and Mmm sampled along a transect across the hybrid zone from the Czech Republic to Germany. Mmd samples were supplemented with mice from New Zealand. We found two distinct isolates of C. tyzzeri, each occurring exclusively in one of the mouse subspecies (C. tyzzeri-Mmm and C. tyzzeri-Mmd). In addition to genetic differentiation, oocysts of the C. tyzzeri-Mmd subtype (mean: 4.24×3.69?m) were significantly smaller than oocysts of C. tyzzeri-Mmm (mean: 4.49×3.90 ?m). Mmm and Mmd were susceptible to experimental infection with both C. tyzzeri subtypes; however, the subtypes were not infective for the rodent species Meriones unguiculatus, Mastomys coucha, Apodemus flavicollis or Cavia porcellus. Overall, our results support the hypothesis that C. tyzzeri is coevolving with Mmm and Mmd.