Project description:Aim:The endophyte Epichloë alsodes, with known insecticidal properties, is found in a majority of Poa alsodes populations across a latitudinal gradient from North Carolina to New York. A second endophyte, E. schardlii var. pennsylvanica, with known insect-deterring effects, is limited to a few populations in Pennsylvania. We explored whether such disparate differences in distributions could be explained by selection from biotic and abiotic environmental factors. Location:Along the Appalachian Mountains from North Carolina to New York, USA. Taxon:Fungi. Methods:Studied correlations of infection frequencies with abiotic and biotic environmental factors. Checked endophyte vertical transmission rates and effects on overwintering survival. With artificial inoculations for two host populations with two isolates per endophyte species, tested endophyte-host compatibility. Studied effects of isolates on host performances in greenhouse experiment with four water-nutrients treatments. Results:Correlation analysis revealed positive associations of E. alsodes frequency with July Max temperatures, July precipitation, and soil nitrogen and phosphorous and negative associations with insect damage and soil magnesium and potassium. Plants infected with E. alsodes had increased overwintering survival compared to plants infected with E. schardlii or uninfected (E-) plants. Artificial inoculations indicated that E. alsodes had better compatibility with a variety of host genotypes than did E. schardlii. The experiment with reciprocally inoculated plants grown under different treatments revealed a complexity of interactions among hosts, endophyte species, isolate within species, host plant origin, and environmental factors. Neither of the endophyte species increased plant biomass, but some of the isolates within each species had other effects on plant growth such as increased root:shoot ratio, number of tillers, and changes in plant height that might affect host fitness. Main conclusion:In the absence of clear and consistent effects of the endophytes on host growth, the differences in endophyte-mediated protection against herbivores may be the key factor determining distribution differences of the two endophyte species.
Project description:Footrot causes 70-90% of lameness in sheep in Great Britain. With approximately 5% of 18 million adult sheep lame at any one time, it costs the UK sheep industry £24-84 million per year. The Gram-negative anaerobe Dichelobacter nodosus is the causative agent, with disease severity influenced by bacterial load, virulence, and climate. The aim of the current study was to characterize strains of D. nodosus isolated by culture of swabs from healthy and diseased feet of 99 ewes kept as a closed flock over a 10-month period and investigate persistence and transmission of strains within feet, sheep, and the flock. Overall 268 isolates were characterized into strains by serogroup, proline-glycine repeat (pgr) status, and multi-locus variable number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA). The culture collection contained 87 unique MLVA profiles and two major MLVA complexes that persisted over time. A subset of 189 isolates tested for the virulence marker aprV2 were all positive. The two MLVA complexes (76 and 114) comprised 62 and 22 MLVA types and 237 and 28 isolates, respectively. Serogroups B, and I, and pgrB were associated with MLVA complex 76, whereas serogroups D and H were associated with MLVA complex 114. We conclude that within-flock D. nodosus evolution appeared to be driven by clonal diversification. There was no association (P?>?0.05) between serogroup, pgr, or MLVA type and disease state of feet. Strains of D. nodosus clustered within sheep and were transmitted between ewes over time. D. nodosus was isolated at more than one time point from 21 feet, including 5 feet where the same strain was isolated on two occasions at an interval of 1-33?weeks. Collectively, our results indicate that D. nodosus strains persisted in the flock, spread between sheep, and possibly persisted on feet over time.
Project description:The bacterium <i>Dichelobacter nodosus</i> (<i>D. nodosus</i>) is the causative agent of ovine footrot. The aim of this field study was to determine the prevalence of <i>D. nodosus</i> in German sheep flocks. The sheep owners participated voluntarily in the study. More than 9000 sheep from 207 flocks were screened for footrot scores using a Footrot Scoring System from 0 to 5 and sampling each sheep using one interdigital swab for all four feet of the sheep. The detection and discrimination between benign and virulent strains was done employing a real-time PCR. Our results showed a mean prevalence of 42.93% of <i>D. nodosus</i> in German sheep on an animal level. Underrunning of hoof horn on at least one foot (Scores 3-5) was detected in 567 sheep (6.13%). Sheep with four clinically healthy feet were found through visual inspection in 47.85% of all animals included in this study. In total, 1117 swabs from sheep with four clinically healthy feet tested positive for <i>D. nodosus</i>. In 90.35% of the positive swabs, virulent <i>D. nodosus</i> were detected. Benign <i>D. nodosus</i> were detected in 4.74% of the <i>D. nodosus</i>-positive swabs while 4.91% tested positive for both, benign and virulent <i>D. nodosus</i>. In 59 flocks <i>D. nodosus</i> were not detected and in 115 flocks only virulent <i>D. nodosus</i> were found while seven flocks tested positive for benign strains.
Project description:The major pathogen implicated in footrot, a highly contagious disease of sheep, is the strict anaerobe Dichelobacter nodosus (formerly Bacteroides nodosus). Sequence analysis of a 2,262-bp segment of the D. nodosus genome which is more prevalent in virulent isolates than in other isolates showed the presence of four open reading frames which appeared to have consensus transcriptional and translational start signals. These virulence-associated genes have been designated vapABCD. Two of the three copies of the vap region in the genome of the reference strain D. nodosus A198 were shown to carry all of the vap genes, whereas one copy contained only the vapD gene. The VapD protein was gel purified, shown to contain the predicted amino-terminal sequence, and used to raise rabbit antibodies. Western blots (immunoblots) showed that all of the D. nodosus strains tested that contained the vap region produced the VapD protein. The VapD protein had significant amino acid sequence identity with open reading frame 5 from the cryptic plasmid of Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and the vapBC operon had sequence similarity with the trbH region of the Escherichia coli F plasmid. It is proposed that these gene regions evolved from the integration of a conjugative plasmid from another bacterial species into the D. nodosus chromosome.
Project description:Dichelobacter nodosus (D. nodosus) is the essential causative agent of footrot in sheep. The current study investigated when D. nodosus was detectable on newborn lambs and possible routes of transmission. Specific qPCR was used to detect and quantify the load of D. nodosus in foot swabs of lambs at birth and 5-13 h post-partum, and their mothers 5-13 h post-partum; and in samples of bedding, pasture, soil and faeces. D. nodosus was not detected on the feet of newborn lambs swabbed at birth, but was detected 5-13 h after birth, once they had stood on bedding containing naturally occurring D. nodosus. Multiple genotypes identified by cloning and sequencing a marker gene, pgrA, and by multi locus variable number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) of community DNA from swabs on individual feet indicated a mixed population of D. nodosus was present on the feet of both ewes and lambs. There was high variation in pgrA tandem repeat number (between 3 and 21 repeats), and multiple MLVA types. The overall similarity index between the populations on ewes and lambs was 0.45, indicating moderate overlap. Mother offspring pairs shared some alleles but not all, suggesting lambs were infected from sources(s) other than just their mother's feet. We hypothesise that D. nodosus is transferred to the feet of lambs via bedding containing naturally occurring populations of D. nodosus, probably as a result of transfer from the feet of the group of housed ewes. The results support the hypothesis that the environment plays a key role in the transmission of D. nodosus between ewes and lambs.
Project description:Type IV fimbriae are expressed by several bacterial pathogens and are essential for virulence in Dichelobacter nodosus, which causes ovine footrot. We have identified a two-component signal transduction system (PilR/S) and an alternative sigma factor (sigma 54) that were shown by insertional inactivation to be required for the regulation of fimbrial biogenesis in D. nodosus. Western blots showed that in both pilR and rpoN mutants, fimbrial subunit production was significantly reduced by a process that was shown to occur at a PilR- and sigma 54-dependent promoter. The mutants lacked surface fimbriae, which were shown to be required for the adherence of D. nodosus cells to tissue culture monolayers. The reduction in fimbrial subunit production in these mutants also resulted in a concomitant loss of the ability to secrete extracellular proteases. A maltose binding protein-PilR fusion protein was purified and was shown to bind specifically to a region located 234 to 594 bp upstream of the fimA transcriptional start point. To determine additional targets of PilR and sigma 54, genome-wide transcriptional profiling was performed using a whole-genome oligonucleotide microarray. The results indicated that PilR and sigma 54 regulated genes other than fimA; these genes appear to encode surface-exposed proteins whose role in virulence is unknown. In conclusion, this study represents a significant advancement in our understanding of how the ability of D. nodosus to cause ovine footrot is regulated, as we have shown that the biogenesis of type IV fimbriae in D. nodosus is regulated by a sigma 54-dependent PilR/S system that also indirectly controls protease secretion.
Project description:Type IV fimbriae are essential virulence factors of Dichelobacter nodosus, the principal causative agent of ovine foot rot. The fimA fimbrial subunit gene is required for virulence, but fimA mutants exhibit several phenotypic changes and it is not certain if the effects on virulence result from the loss of type IV fimbria-mediated twitching motility, cell adherence, or reduced protease secretion. We showed that mutation of either the pilT or pilU gene eliminated the ability to carry out twitching motility. However, the pilT mutants displayed decreased adhesion to epithelial cells and reduced protease secretion, whereas the pilU mutants had wild-type levels of extracellular protease secretion and adherence. These data provided evidence that PilT is required for the type IV fimbria-dependent protease secretion pathway in D. nodosus. It was postulated that sufficient fimbrial retraction must occur in the pilU mutants to allow protease secretion, but not twitching motility, to take place. Although no cell movement was detected in a pilU mutant of D. nodosus, aberrant motion was detected in an equivalent mutant of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These observations explain how in D. nodosus protease secretion can occur in a pilU mutant but not in a pilT mutant. In addition, virulence studies with sheep showed that both the pilT and pilU mutants were avirulent, providing evidence that mutation of the type IV fimbrial system affects virulence by eliminating twitching motility, not by altering cell adherence or protease secretion.
Project description:UNLABELLED:Footrot is a contagious, debilitating disease of sheep, causing major economic losses in most sheep-producing countries. The causative agent is the Gram-negative anaerobe Dichelobacter nodosus. Depending on the virulence of the infective bacterial strain, clinical signs vary from a mild interdigital dermatitis (benign footrot) to severe underrunning of the horn of the hoof (virulent footrot). The aim of this study was to investigate the genetic relationship between D. nodosus strains of different phenotypic virulences and between isolates from different geographic regions. Genome sequencing was performed on 103 D. nodosus isolates from eight different countries. Comparison of these genome sequences revealed that they were highly conserved, with >95% sequence identity. However, single nucleotide polymorphism analysis of the 31,627 nucleotides that were found to differ in one or more of the 103 sequenced isolates divided them into two distinct clades. Remarkably, this division correlated with known virulent and benign phenotypes, as well as with the single amino acid difference between the AprV2 and AprB2 proteases, which are produced by virulent and benign strains, respectively. This division was irrespective of the geographic origin of the isolates. However, within one of these clades, isolates from different geographic regions generally belonged to separate clusters. In summary, we have shown that D. nodosus has a bimodal population structure that is globally conserved and provide evidence that virulent and benign isolates represent two distinct forms of D. nodosus strains. These data have the potential to improve the diagnosis and targeted control of this economically significant disease. IMPORTANCE:The Gram-negative anaerobic bacterium Dichelobacter nodosus is the causative agent of ovine footrot, a disease of major importance to the worldwide sheep industry. The known D. nodosus virulence factors are its type IV fimbriae and extracellular serine proteases. D. nodosus strains are designated virulent or benign based on the type of disease caused under optimal climatic conditions. These isolates have similar fimbriae but distinct extracellular proteases. To determine the relationship between virulent and benign isolates and the relationship of isolates from different geographical regions, a genomic study that involved the sequencing and subsequent analysis of 103 D. nodosus isolates was undertaken. The results showed that D. nodosus isolates are highly conserved at the genomic level but that they can be divided into two distinct clades that correlate with their disease phenotypes and with a single amino acid substitution in one of the extracellular proteases.