Emerging infectious diseases and amphibian population declines.
We review recent research on the pathology, ecology, and biogeography of two emerging infectious wildlife diseases, chytridiomycosis and ranaviral disease, in the context of host-parasite population biology. We examine the role of these diseases in the global decline of amphibian populations and propose hypotheses for the origins and impact of these panzootics. Finally, we discuss emerging infectious diseases as a global threat to wildlife populations. (+info)
Chlamydia pneumoniae infection in a breeding colony of African clawed frogs (Xenopus tropicalis).
More than 90% of a breeding colony of clawed frogs (Xenopus tropicalis) imported to the United States from western Africa died in an epizootic of chlamydiosis. Chlamydial inclusions were observed by light and electron microscopy in the liver of an infected frog. Chlamydia pneumoniae was isolated in cell cultures from four frogs. A cutaneous infection by a chytridiomycete fungus observed in two frogs could have been a cofactor in the die-off.ous Diseases (+info)
PCR primers that amplify fungal rRNA genes from environmental samples.
Two PCR primer pairs were designed to amplify rRNA genes (rDNA) from all four major phyla of fungi: Ascomycota, Basidiomycota, Chytridomycota, and Zygomycota. PCRs performed with these primers showed that both pairs amplify DNA from organisms representing the major taxonomic groups of fungi but not from nonfungal sources. To test the ability of the primers to amplify fungal rDNA from environment samples, clone libraries from two avocado grove soils were constructed and analyzed. These soils possess different abilities to inhibit avocado root rot caused by Phythophthora cinnamomi. Analysis of the two rDNA clone libraries revealed differences in the two fungal communities. It also revealed a markedly different depiction of the soil fungal community than that generated by a culture-based analysis, confirming the value of rDNA-based approaches for identifying organisms that may not readily grow on agar media. Additional evidence of the usefulness of the primers was obtained by identifying fungi associated with avocado leaves. In both the soil and leaf analyses, no nonfungal rDNA sequences were identified, illustrating the selectivity of these PCR primers. This work demonstrates the ability of two newly developed PCR primer sets to amplify fungal rDNA from soil and plant tissue, thereby providing unique tools to examine this vast and mostly undescribed community of organisms. (+info)
Double-hairpin elements in the mitochondrial DNA of allomyces: evidence for mobility.
The mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of the chytridiomycete fungus Allomyces macrogynus contains 81 G+C-rich sequence elements that are 26-79 bases long and can be folded into a unique secondary structure consisting of two stem-loops. At the primary sequence level, the conservation of these double-hairpin elements (DHEs) is variable, ranging from marginal to complete identity. Forty of these DHEs are inserted in intergenic regions, 35 in introns, and 6 in variable regions of rRNA genes. Ten DHEs are inserted into other DHE elements (twins); two even form triplets. A comparison of DHE sequences shows that loop regions contain more sequence variation than helical regions and that the latter often contain compensatory base changes. This suggests a functional importance of the DHE secondary structure. We further identified nine DHEs in a 4-kb region of Allomyces arbusculus, a close relative of A. macrogynus. Eight of these DHEs are highly similar in sequence (90%-100%) to those in A. macrogynus, but only five are inserted at the same positions as in A. macrogynus. Interestingly, DHEs are also found in the mtDNAs of other chytridiomycetes, as well as certain zygomycete and ascomycete fungi. The overall distribution pattern of DHEs in fungal mtDNAs suggests that they are mobile elements. (+info)
Production of polyclonal antibodies to Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and their use in an immunoperoxidase test for chytridiomycosis in amphibians.
Polyclonal antibodies were produced for diagnosing chytridiomycosis in amphibians. Two sheep and 4 rabbits were inoculated with homogenized whole culture of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Freund's complete adjuvant or triple adjuvant. Antisera from all animals reacted strongly with all stages of B. dendrobatidis and stained the walls, cytoplasm, rhizoids and zoospores in an indirect immunoperoxidase test. Significant cross-reactivity occurred only with some fungi in the Chytridiomycota, and there are no members of this phylum besides B. dendrobatidis that infect frogs. The immunoperoxidase stain is a useful screening test when combined with recognition of the morphology and infection site of B. dendrobatidis. (+info)
Uptake of the glucose analogue 2-deoxyglucose by germinating mitospores of Allomyces macrogynus.
Mitospores or cysts of Allomyces macrogynus do not take up the glucose analogue 2-deoxyglucose. Uptake of 2-deoxyglucose by germlings begins at 25 min into germination, the start of the rhizoid stage, and increases in rate by approximately 50-fold until 100 min into germination. The rate remains constant from 100 to 200 min, at which time germination is completed and hyphal formation begins. The presence of glucose in the germination medium blocks the uptake of 2-deoxyglucose. Of the other sugars tested, only galactose had any effect on 2-deoxyglucose uptake. Actinomycin D treatment during germination in a glucose-containing medium prevented the appearance of the uptake system, but actinomycin D was not effective after the transfer to a glucose-free medium. Cycloheximide treatment prevented the appearance of the uptake system if it was added at the time of the transfer to the glucose-free medium; it inhibited uptake only partially if the germlings were starved of glucose before its addition. It appears, therefore, that both ribonucleic acid synthesis during germination and protein synthesis after the removal of glucose are required for the uptake of 2-deoxyglucose. (+info)
Spatial and cellular localization of calcium-dependent protease (CDP II) in Allomyces arbuscula.
Immunogold labeling of calcium-dependent neutral protease II (CDPII) with specific antibodies in near median longitudinal ultrathin sections of Allomyces arbuscula showed that the enzyme is predominantly localized in the growing hyphal and rhizoidal apices. The tips in both cell type had more enzyme than the distal regions and showed a gradient distribution. Labeling of the ultrathin sections and western blot analysis of purified subcellular fractions showed that CDPII is mainly cytosolic. Catalytic activity of the enzyme measured with synthetic substrate (Bz-Arg-pNA) showed that 90% of its activity is present in the soluble fraction, although a small amount is associated with the nuclei (0.2%), plasma membranes (0.7%) and microsomes (3.9%). This association is discussed in the context of the functional role of the enzyme and its possible localized activation. Western blot analysis of the crude extract and indirect immunofluorescence of the fixed permeabilized hypahe after treatment with CDPII showed that the alpha-tubulin is a specific target of the enzyme. (+info)
Evolution of monoblepharidalean fungi based on complete mitochondrial genome sequences.
We have determined the complete mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences of three chytridiomycete fungi, Monoblepharella15, Harpochytrium94 and Harpochytrium105. Our phylogenetic analysis based on concatenated mitochondrial protein sequences confirms the placement of Mono blepharella15 together with Harpochytrium spp. and Hyaloraphidium curvatum within the taxonomic order Monoblepharidales, with overwhelming support. These four mtDNA sequences encode the standard fungal mitochondrial gene complement and, like certain other chytridiomycete fungi, encode a reduced complement of 7-9 tRNAs, some of which require 5'-tRNA editing to be functional. Highly conserved sequence elements were identified upstream of almost all protein-coding genes in the mtDNAs of Monoblepharella15 and both Harpochytrium species. Finally, a guanosine residue is conserved upstream of the predicted ATG or GTG start codons of almost every protein-coding gene in these genomes. The appearance of this G residue correlates with the presence of a non-canonical cytosine residue at position 37 in the anticodon loop of the mitochondrial initiator tRNAs. Based on the unorthodox features in these four genomes, we propose that a 4 bp interaction between the CAUC anticodon of these tRNAs and GAUG/GGUG codons is involved in translation initiation in monoblepharidalean mitochondria. Intriguingly, a similar interaction may also be involved in mitochondrial translation initiation in the sea anemone Metridium senile. (+info)