Characterization of a Retrovirus of Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)
IAAAM 2009
James F.X. Wellehan Jr.1; Rebecca Rivera2; Stephanie Venn-Watson3; Sarah A. LaMere4; Linda L. Archer1; Eric D. Jensen5; Wendy Noke Durden6; Megan Stolen6; Judy St. Leger7; Hendrik Nollens1,2
1College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA; 2Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, San Diego, CA, USA; 3U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program Foundation, San Diego, CA, USA; 4The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA; 5U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program, Space and Naval Warfare System, Pacific, San Diego, CA, USA; 6Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, Orlando, FL, USA; 7SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA

Abstract

Retroviruses have a unique strategy that involves incorporation into the host genome as a routine part of the life cycle. As a result, most vertebrate genomes have incorporated a large number of retroviruses over the course of evolution, and approximately 8% of the human genome is retroviral in origin.2 This raises significant challenges when looking for novel retroviruses and establishing associations with disease. In the course of clinical investigation of a bottlenose dolphin with chronic lymphocytosis, a novel gammaretrovirus was identified using consensus PCR and sequencing.1 A quantitative PCR was developed. This virus was found at constant levels in dolphin DNA over time and was not identified from RNA, suggesting the virus was not actively being transcribed. This virus was also found in wild dolphins. Proviral DNA was further detected in representatives of each of eight delphinid species tested and in harbor porpoises, but not in Kogia spp. beluga whales, or fin whales. Further sequencing of a total of 4,874 base pairs of the virus was done for additional characterization, representing more than half of the expected genome. The presence of several degeneracies suggests that multiple copies are present with slight variations. The intact genome of this virus suggests a relatively recent insertion of the virus into the dolphin genome, and the presence/absence in different populations and species may be useful as a marker for population studies. While it is probable that there are retroviral disease etiologies in bottlenose dolphins, this case illustrates the challenges of retroviral diagnostics.

References

1.  Martin J., E. Herniou, J. Cook, R.W. O'Neill, and M. Tristem. 1999. Interclass transmission and phyletic host tracking in murine leukemia virus-related retroviruses. J Virol 73(3): 2442-2449.

2.  Mayer J., and E. Meese. 2005. Human endogenous retroviruses in the primate lineage and their influence on host genomes. Cytogenet Genome Res 110(1-4): 448-56.

 

Speaker Information
(click the speaker's name to view other papers and abstracts submitted by this speaker)

James F.X. Wellehan, Jr
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL, USA


MAIN : Infect & Parasit : Dolphin Retrovirus
Powered By VIN

Friendly Reminder to Our Colleagues: Use of VIN content is limited to personal reference by VIN members. No portion of any VIN content may be copied or distributed without the expressed written permission of VIN.

Clinicians are reminded that you are ultimately responsible for the care of your patients. Any content that concerns treatment of your cases should be deemed recommendations by colleagues for you to consider in your case management decisions. Dosages should be confirmed prior to dispensing medications unfamiliar to you. To better understand the origins and logic behind these policies, and to discuss them with your colleagues, click here.

Images posted by VIN community members and displayed via VIN should not be considered of diagnostic quality and the ultimate interpretation of the images lies with the attending clinician. Suggestions, discussions and interpretation related to posted images are only that -- suggestions and recommendations which may be based upon less than diagnostic quality information.

CONTACT US

777 W. Covell Blvd., Davis, CA 95616

vingram@vin.com

PHONE

  • Toll Free: 800-700-4636
  • From UK: 01-45-222-6154
  • From anywhere: (1)-530-756-4881
  • From Australia: 02-6145-2357
SAID=27