Phylogeography and genetic ancestry of tigers (Panthera tigris).
Eight traditional subspecies of tiger (Panthera tigris),of which three recently became extinct, are commonly recognized on the basis of geographic isolation and morphological characteristics. To investigate the species' evolutionary history and to establish objective methods for subspecies recognition, voucher specimens of blood, skin, hair, and/or skin biopsies from 134 tigers with verified geographic origins or heritage across the whole distribution range were examined for three molecular markers: (1) 4.0 kb of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence; (2) allele variation in the nuclear major histocompatibility complex class II DRB gene; and (3) composite nuclear microsatellite genotypes based on 30 loci. Relatively low genetic variation with mtDNA,DRB,and microsatellite loci was found, but significant population subdivision was nonetheless apparent among five living subspecies. In addition, a distinct partition of the Indochinese subspecies P. t. corbetti in to northern Indochinese and Malayan Peninsula populations was discovered. Population genetic structure would suggest recognition of six taxonomic units or subspecies: (1) Amur tiger P. t. altaica; (2) northern Indochinese tiger P. t. corbetti; (3) South China tiger P. t. amoyensis; (4) Malayan tiger P. t. jacksoni, named for the tiger conservationist Peter Jackson; (5) Sumatran tiger P. t. sumatrae; and (6) Bengal tiger P. t. tigris. The proposed South China tiger lineage is tentative due to limited sampling. The age of the most recent common ancestor for tiger mtDNA was estimated to be 72,000-108,000 y, relatively younger than some other Panthera species. A combination of population expansions, reduced gene flow, and genetic drift following the last genetic diminution, and the recent anthropogenic range contraction, have led to the distinct genetic partitions. These results provide an explicit basis for subspecies recognition and will lead to the improved management and conservation of these recently isolated but distinct geographic populations of tigers. (+info)
Avian influenza H5N1 in tigers and leopards.
Influenza virus is not known to affect wild felids. We demonstrate that avian influenza A (H5N1) virus caused severe pneumonia in tigers and leopards that fed on infected poultry carcasses. This finding extends the host range of influenza virus and has implications for influenza virus epidemiology and wildlife conservation. (+info)
Persistent metanephric ducts in a geriatric white tiger.
An 18-year-old male intact white Tiger (Panthera tigris) was euthanized after a clinical diagnosis of severe renal failure. Postmortem macroscopic examination of the kidneys revealed unilateral hydronephrosis with renal calculi and bilateral cortical and medullary fibrosis and papillary coagulation necrosis. Interestingly, multiple large persistent metanephric ducts were found at the corticomedullary junctions accompanied by marked interstitial fibrosis, tubular atrophy, and lymphoplasmacytic interstitial nephritis. To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of persistent metanephric ducts in cats. (+info)
Probable tiger-to-tiger transmission of avian influenza H5N1.
During the second outbreak of avian influenza H5N1 in Thailand, probable horizontal transmission among tigers was demonstrated in the tiger zoo. Sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of those viruses showed no differences from the first isolate obtained in January 2004. This finding has implications for influenza virus epidemiology and pathogenicity in mammals. (+info)
Genetic characterization of H5N1 influenza A viruses isolated from zoo tigers in Thailand.
The H5N1 avian influenza virus outbreak among zoo tigers in mid-October 2004, with 45 animals dead, indicated that the avian influenza virus could cause lethal infection in a large mammalian species apart from humans. In this outbreak investigation, six H5N1 isolates were identified and two isolates (A/Tiger/Thailand/CU-T3/04 and A/Tiger/Thailand/CU-T7/04) were selected for whole genome analysis. Phylogenetic analysis of the 8 gene segments showed that the viruses clustered within the lineage of H5N1 avian isolates from Thailand and Vietnam. The hemagglutinin (HA) gene of the viruses displayed polybasic amino acids at the cleavage site, identical to those of the 2004 H5N1 isolates, which by definition are highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). In addition, sequence analyses revealed that the viruses isolated from tigers harbored few genetic changes compared with the viruses having infected chicken, humans, tigers and a leopard isolated from the early 2004 H5N1 outbreaks. Sequence analyses also showed that the tiger H5N1 isolated in October 2004 was more closely related to the chicken H5N1 isolated in July than that from January. Interestingly, all the 6 tiger H5N1 isolates contained a lysine substitution at position 627 of the PB2 protein similar to the human, but distinct from the original avian isolates. (+info)
Disseminated mycobacteriosis due to Mycobacterium avium in captive Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris).
A 2-year-old captive female Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris) died after prolonged anorexia in the Gwangju Uchi Park Zoo, Gwangju, Republic of Korea. Necropsy revealed multiple nodules of varying sizes in the lung, liver, kidney, and spleen. Histopathologic examination revealed a typical granuloma composed of caseous necrotic areas surrounded by lymphocytes with a few giant cells and foamy macrophages. Periodic acid-Schiff stain and Gomori methenamine silver stain did not reveal any fungal bodies. The Ziehl-Neelsen acid-fast stain revealed few acid-fast organisms in the lung, liver, kidney, and spleen. A polymerase chain reaction assay of the lung, liver, kidney, and spleen yielded a positive result for Mycobacterium avium subsp. avium. This is an unusual case of disseminated infection of a wild mammal with avian mycobacteriosis, and is believed to be most likely associated with the feeding of tigers with culled chickens infected with M. avium. (+info)
Who ate whom? Adaptive Helicobacter genomic changes that accompanied a host jump from early humans to large felines.
Helicobacter pylori infection of humans is so old that its population genetic structure reflects that of ancient human migrations. A closely related species, Helicobacter acinonychis, is specific for large felines, including cheetahs, lions, and tigers, whereas hosts more closely related to humans harbor more distantly related Helicobacter species. This observation suggests a jump between host species. But who ate whom and when did it happen? In order to resolve this question, we determined the genomic sequence of H. acinonychis strain Sheeba and compared it to genomes from H. pylori. The conserved core genes between the genomes are so similar that the host jump probably occurred within the last 200,000 (range 50,000-400,000) years. However, the Sheeba genome also possesses unique features that indicate the direction of the host jump, namely from early humans to cats. Sheeba possesses an unusually large number of highly fragmented genes, many encoding outer membrane proteins, which may have been destroyed in order to bypass deleterious responses from the feline host immune system. In addition, the few Sheeba-specific genes that were found include a cluster of genes encoding sialylation of the bacterial cell surface carbohydrates, which were imported by horizontal genetic exchange and might also help to evade host immune defenses. These results provide a genomic basis for elucidating molecular events that allow bacteria to adapt to novel animal hosts. (+info)
Cloning, characterization and tissue specific expression of Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) IGF-I.
Insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) plays an important role in regulating gonad function, which is essential for normal reproduction in animals, especially in sexual receptivity and reproductive behavior. In this study, a cDNA encoding Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) IGF-I was isolated from liver total RNA using RT-PCR. The IGF-I cDNA of Amur tiger (ATIGF-I) was highly homologous to that of other animals, 84.8% to rat, 93.7% to human and horse. Alignment analysis showed that the cysteine residues and many amino acid residues of putative mature ATIGF-I are highly conserved in mammalian species, confirming the high sequence homology observed in other species. DNA encoding the mature ATIGF-I peptide was ligated with pET-DsbA expression vector and highly expressed in Escherichia coli BL21 with IPTG induction. The recombinant proteins expressed existed mostly in the soluble protein fraction, and were purified with metal affinity resins. Western blotting confirmed that the recombinant proteins reacted with antibodies against IGF-I. The results obtained here should be useful for large-scale production of biological active ATIGF-I protein, as well as for further research on growth, development, and reproduction in the Amur tiger. Tissue specific expression of ATIGF-I mRNA in the Amur tiger was examined by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), The major ATIGF-I mRNA expression tissue was the liver, while medium signals were found in the uterus, ovary, and pituitary, and minor signals were detected in various tissues including the heart, spleen, pancreas, and kidney. The results indicate that IGF-I might play an important role in the reproductive system and in cub development in the Amur tiger. (+info)