Project description:Male house mice (Mus musculus) emit ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) during courtship, which attract females, and we aimed to test whether females use these vocalizations for species or subspecies recognition of potential mates. We recorded courtship USVs of males from different Mus species, Mus musculus subspecies, and populations (F1 offspring of wild-caught Mus musculus musculus, Mus musculus domesticus (and F1 hybrid crosses), and Mus spicilegus), and we conducted playback experiments to measure female preferences for male USVs. Male vocalizations contained at least seven distinct syllable types, whose frequency of occurrence varied among species, subspecies, and populations. Detailed analyses of multiple common syllable types indicated that Mus musculus and Mus spicilegus could be discriminated based on spectral and temporal characteristics of their vocalizations, and populations of Mus musculus were also distinctive regardless of the classification model used. Females were able to discriminate USVs from different species, and showed assortative preferences for conspecific males. We found no evidence that females discriminate USVs of males from a different subspecies or separate populations of the same species, even though our spectral analyses identified acoustic features that differ between species, subspecies, and populations of the same species. Our results provide the first comparison of USVs between Mus species or between Mus musculus subspecies, and the first evidence that male USVs potentially facilitate species recognition.
Project description:Molecular markers and morphological characters can help infer the colonization history of organisms. A combination of mitochondrial (mt) D-loop DNA sequences, nuclear DNA data, external measurements and skull characteristics shows that house mice (Mus musculus) in New Zealand and its outlying islands are descended from very diverse sources. The predominant genome is Mus musculus domesticus (from western Europe), but Mus musculus musculus (from central Europe) and Mus musculus castaneus (from southern Asia) are also represented genetically. These subspecies have hybridized to produce combinations of musculus and domesticus nuclear DNA coupled with domesticus mtDNA, and castaneus or musculus mtDNA with domesticus nuclear DNA. The majority of the mice with domesticus mtDNA that we sampled had D-loop sequences identical to two haplotypes common in Britain. This is consistent with long-term British-New Zealand cultural linkages. The origins of the castaneus mtDNA sequences widespread in New Zealand are less easy to identify.
Project description:The severe virulence of Toxoplasma gondii in classical laboratory inbred mouse strains contradicts the hypothesis that house mice (Mus musculus) are the most important intermediate hosts for its transmission and evolution because death of the mouse before parasite transmission equals death of the parasite. However, the classical laboratory inbred mouse strains (Mus musculus domesticus), commonly used to test Toxoplasma strain differences in virulence, do not capture the genetic diversity within Mus musculus. Thus, it is possible that Toxoplasma strains that are severely virulent in laboratory inbred mice are avirulent in some other mouse sub-species. Here, we present insight into the responses of individual mouse strains, representing strains of the genetically divergent Mus musculus musculus, Mus musculus castaneus and Mus musculus domesticus, to infection with individual clonal and atypical Toxoplasma strains. We observed that, unlike M. m. domesticus, M. m. musculus and M. m. castaneus are resistant to the clonal Toxoplasma strains. For M. m. musculus, we show that this is due to a locus on chromosome 11 that includes the genes that encode the interferon gamma (IFNG)-inducible immunity-related GTPases (Irgs) that can kill the parasite by localising and subsequently vesiculating the parasitophorous vacuole membrane. However, despite the localization of known effector Irgs to the Toxoplasma parasitophorous vacuole membrane, we observed that some atypical Toxoplasma strains are virulent in all the mouse strains tested. The virulence of these atypical strains in M. m. musculus could not be attributed to individual rhoptry protein 5 (ROP5) alleles, a secreted parasite pseudokinase that antagonises the canonical effector Irgs and is indispensable for parasite virulence in laboratory inbred mice (M. m. domesticus). We conclude that murine resistance to Toxoplasma is modulated by complex interactions between host and parasite genotypes and may be independent of known effector Irgs on murine chromosome 11.
Project description:Murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) is a betaherpesvirus of the house mouse, Mus musculus domesticus. It is a common infectious agent of wild mice and a highly studied pathogen of the laboratory mouse. Betaherpesviruses are specific to their hosts, and it is not known if other Mus taxa carry MCMV or if it is restricted to M. m. domesticus. We sampled mice over a 145-km transect of Bavaria-Bohemia crossing a hybrid zone between M. m. domesticus and Mus musculus musculus in order to investigate the occurrence of MCMV in two Mus subspecies and to test the limits of the specificity of the virus for its host. We hypothesized that if the two subspecies carry MCMV and if the virus is highly specific to its host, divergent MCMV lineages would have codiverged with their hosts and would have a geographical distribution constrained by the host genetic background. A total of 520 mice were tested by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and/or nested PCR targeting the M94 gene. Seropositive and PCR-positive individuals were found in both Mus subspecies. Seroprevalence was high, at 79.4%, but viral DNA was detected in only 41.7% of mice. Sequencing revealed 20 haplotypes clustering in 3 clades that match the host genetic structure in the hybrid zone, showing 1 and 2 MCMV lineages in M. m. domesticus and M. m. musculus, respectively. The estimated time to the most recent common ancestor (1.1 million years ago [Mya]) of the MCMVs matches that of their hosts. In conclusion, MCMV has coevolved with these hosts, suggesting that its diversity in nature may be underappreciated, since other members of the subgenus Mus likely carry different MCMVs.Murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) is a betaherpesvirus of the house mouse, Mus musculus domesticus, an important lab model for human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection. The majority of lab studies are based on only two strains of MCMVs isolated from M. m. domesticus, Smith and K181, the latter derived from repeated passage of Smith in mouse submaxillary glands. The presence of MCMV in other members of the Mus subgenus had not even been investigated. By screening mouse samples collected in the European house mouse hybrid zone between M. m. domesticus and M. m. musculus, we show that MCMV is not restricted to the M. m. domesticus subspecies and that MCMVs likely codiverged with their Mus hosts. Thus, the diversity of MCMV in nature may be seriously underappreciated, since other members of the subgenus Mus likely carry their own MCMV lineages.
Project description:A distinctive variable region 14-positive (V14+) alpha chain (V alpha 14+) of the T-cell antigen receptor is predominantly expressed in multiple mouse subspecies. The V alpha 14 family has two members, V alpha 14.1 and V alpha 14.2, which differ by only three amino acids at positions 50-52. Based on the EcoRI restriction fragment length polymorphism of the gene encoding V alpha 14, mice can be divided into three groups: type I with an 11.2-kilobase (kb) fragment, type II with a 2.0-kb fragment, and type III with the 2.0-kb and 11.2-kb fragments. Usage of V alpha 14-J alpha 281, where J alpha 281 is an alpha-chain joining segment, with a one-base N region dominates at the level of 0.02-1.5% of alpha chains in all laboratory strains, Mus musculus castaneus, and Mus musculus domesticus but not in Mus musculus molossinus, Mus musculus musculus, and Mus spicilegus samples. The preferential V alpha 14-J alpha 281 expression seems to be due to positive selection because the V-J junctional region is always glycine, despite the ability of the V alpha 14 gene to associate with J alpha other than J alpha 281. As V alpha 14-J alpha 281 expression is independent of known major histocompatibility complex antigens, including H-2, TLA, Qa, and HMT, the selecting ligand must be a monomorphic molecule of the mouse, expressed in a subspecies-specific manner. Additional observations, such as the expression of homogeneous V alpha 14-J alpha 281 in athymic mice, suggest that the positive selection of V alpha 14+ T cells occurs extrathymically.
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:The spiny mouse, Acomys cahirinus, is an adult mammal capable of remarkable feats of scar-free tissue regeneration after damage to several organs including the skin and the heart. Here we investigate the regenerative properties of the skeletal muscle of A. cahirinus tibialis anterior in comparison to the lab mouse, Mus musculus. The A. cahirinus TA showed a similar distribution of myosin heavy chain fibre types and a reduced proportion of oxidative fibres compared to M. musculus. There were differences in the matrix components of the TA with regard to collagen VI and the biomechanical properties. A. cahirinus TA regenerated faster with a more rapid induction of embryonic myosin and higher levels of dystrophin than in M. musculus fibres. There were lower levels of inflammation (NF-kB), fibrosis (TGF?-1, collagens) and higher levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokine Cxcl12. There was a difference in macrophage profile between the two species. After multiple rounds of muscle regeneration the M. musculus TA failed to regenerate muscle fibres and instead produced a large numbers of adipocytes whereas the A. cahirinus TA regenerated perfectly. This clearly improved regeneration performance can be explained by differing levels of growth factors such as adiponectin between the two species.
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:Genome sequences are essential tools for comparative and mutational analyses. Here we present the short read sequence of mouse chromosome 17 from the Mus musculus domesticus derived strain A/J, and the Mus musculus castaneus derived strain CAST/Ei. We describe approaches for the accurate identification of nucleotide and structural variation in the genomes of vertebrate experimental organisms, and show how these techniques can be applied to help prioritize candidate genes within quantitative trait loci.