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Laura J Schmertmann, Kathryn Stalder, Donald Hudson, Patricia Martin, Mariano Makara, Wieland Meyer, Richard Malik, Mark B Krockenberger
Disseminated cryptococcosis caused by Cryptococcus gattii (molecular type VGI) was diagnosed in an adult free-ranging female koala (Phascolarctos cinereus). Subclinical cryptococcosis was later diagnosed in this koala's joey. In the adult koala, a pathological fracture of the tibia was associated with the bone lysis of marked focal cryptococcal osteomyelitis. Limb-sparing orthopedic intervention, in the setting of disseminated cryptococcosis, was judged to have a poor prognosis, and the adult koala was euthanized...
February 24, 2018: Medical Mycology: Official Publication of the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology
Delaney Burnard, Amber Gillett, Adam Polkinghorne
A small number of koalas ( Phascolarctos cinereus) presented to wildlife hospitals in Queensland, Australia, with signs of arthritis in one or more joints. Molecular analysis identified Chlamydia pecorum in the tarsal tissue and synovial fluid of an affected joint of a koala, suggesting that in addition to livestock, C. pecorum has the potential to cause arthritis in the koala.
March 2, 2018: Journal of Wildlife Diseases
N Sarker, J Fabijan, R D Emes, F Hemmatzadeh, J Meers, J Moreton, H Owen, J M Seddon, G Simmons, N Speight, D Trott, L Woolford, R E Tarlinton
To better understand host and immune response to diseases, gene expression studies require identification of reference genes with stable expression for accurate normalisation. This study describes the identification and testing of reference genes with stable expression profiles in koala lymph node tissues across two genetically distinct koala populations. From the 25 most stable genes identified in transcriptome analysis, 11 genes were selected for verification using reverse transcription quantitative PCR, in addition to the commonly used ACTB and GAPDH genes...
February 20, 2018: Scientific Reports
Roland Frey, David Reby, Guido Fritsch, Benjamin D Charlton
Koalas are characterised by a highly unusual vocal anatomy, with a descended larynx and velar vocal folds, allowing them to produce calls at disproportionately low frequencies. Here we use advanced imaging techniques, histological data, classical macroscopic dissection and behavioural observations to provide the first detailed description and interpretation of male and female koala vocal anatomy. We show that both males and females have an elongated pharynx and soft palate, resulting in a permanently descended larynx...
February 19, 2018: Journal of Anatomy
Yuniar Devi Utami, Hirokazu Kuwahara, Takumi Murakami, Takahiro Morikawa, Kaito Sugaya, Kumiko Kihara, Masahiro Yuki, Nathan Lo, Pinsurang Deevong, Sasitorn Hasin, Warin Boonriam, Tetsushi Inoue, Akinori Yamada, Moriya Ohkuma, Yuichi Hongoh
Termite guts harbor diverse yet-uncultured bacteria, including a non-photosynthetic cyanobacterial group, the class "Melainabacteria". We herein reported the phylogenetic diversity of "Melainabacteria" in the guts of diverse termites and conducted a single-cell genome analysis of a melainabacterium obtained from the gut of the termite Termes propinquus. We performed amplicon sequencing of 16S rRNA genes from the guts of 60 termite and eight cockroach species, and detected melainabacterial sequences in 48 out of the 68 insect species, albeit with low abundances (0...
February 8, 2018: Microbes and Environments
Katrien De Cocker, Sebastien F M Chastin, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij, Ineke Imbo, Jeroen Stragier, Greet Cardon
There is a lack of research on how to communicate public health guidelines. Citizen science (CS) has been an effective way to involve the public in research. This study analyses the reach of a well-established CS experiment, launched during an annual national science event, to understand if it could be used as communication strategy for public health issues. A short playful online survey contained tailored health-related messages associated to an "animal totem" profile, based on the combination of sitting and physical activity levels (koala: high sitting, low activity; gorilla: high sitting, high activity; zebra: low sitting, low activity; bee: low sitting, high activity)...
February 7, 2018: Health Communication
Danielle Madden, Alessandra Whaite, Elizabeth Jones, Katherine Belov, Peter Timms, Adam Polkinghorne
Infectious diseases are contributing to the decline of the iconic Australian marsupial, the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus). Infections with the obligate intracellular bacteria, Chlamydia pecorum, cause debilitating ocular and urogenital-tract disease while the koala-retrovirus (KoRV) has been implicated in host immunosuppression and exacerbation of chlamydial pathogenesis. Although histological studies have provided insight into the basic architecture of koala immune tissues, our understanding of the koala immune response to infectious disease has been limited, until recently, by a lack of species-specific immune reagents...
January 27, 2018: Developmental and Comparative Immunology
Imke Grimm, Jessika Dumke, Jens Dreier, Cornelius Knabbe, Tanja Vollmer
Streptococcus gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus is a commensal bacterium of the human gastrointestinal tract, and a pathogen causing infective endocarditis and other biofilm-associated infections via exposed collagen. This study focuses on the characterization of the biofilm formation and collagen adhesion of S. gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus under different conditions. In this study, it has been observed that the isolate UCN 34 is resistant to 20 mg/ml lysozyme in BHI medium, whereas the strain BAA-2069 builds more biofilm in the presence of lysozyme compared to in a control of BHI without lysozyme...
2018: PloS One
Santiago Sandoval-Motta, Maximino Aldana, Alejandro Frank
The importance of microorganisms in human biology is undeniable. The amount of research that supports that microbes have a fundamental role in animal and plant physiology is substantial and increasing every year. Even though we are only beginning to comprehend the broadness and complexity of microbial communities, evolutionary theories need to be recast in the light of such discoveries to fully understand and incorporate the role of microbes in our evolution. Fundamental evolutionary concepts such as diversity, heredity, selection, speciation, etc...
January 20, 2018: Archives of Medical Research
Md Mominul Islam, Martina Jelocnik, Wilhelmina M Huston, Peter Timms, Adam Polkinghorne
Chlamydia pecorum is an important intracellular bacteria that causes a range of diseases in animals, including the native Australian marsupial, the koala. In humans and animals, an IFN-γ-mediated immune response is important for the control of intracellular bacteria. The present study tested the hypotheses that C. pecorum can escape IFN-γ-mediated depletion of host cell tryptophan pools. In doing so, we demonstrated that, unlike Chlamydia trachomatis, C. pecorum is completely resistant to IFN-γ in human epithelial cells...
January 22, 2018: Infection and Immunity
Rebecca Larkin, Chiara Palmieri, Motoharu Oishi, Lyndal Hulse, Stephen D Johnston
Studies documenting the application of ultrasonography to depict normal and pathological changes in koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus), especially in the male, are scarce. Sixty-two wild koalas were used in this study to define ultrasonographic protocols and features for the assessment of the male koala reproductive tract. Testis, epididymis and spermatic cord were examined using a hockey stick transducer. The normal koala testis showed a homogeneous echogenicity and an obvious hyper-echoic band corresponding to the tunica albuginea...
December 27, 2017: Research in Veterinary Science
Mie Johanne Hansen, Mads F Bertelsen, Androo Kelly, Anders Miki Bojesen
Eighty-two Pasteurellaceae isolates from marsupials characterized by phylogenetic analysis of rpoB gene sequences formed five distinct groups. Twenty-one strains from long-nosed potoroos ( Potorous tridactylus apicalis), spotted-tailed quolls ( Dasyurus maculatus), and eastern quolls ( Dasyurus viverrinus) made up group 1, which classified with Frederiksenia canicola. Group 2, 15 strains from Tasmanian devils ( Sarcophilus harrisii), common wombats ( Vombatus ursinus), common ring-tailed possums ( Pseudocheirus peregrinus), and eastern quolls, grouped with Pasteurella multocida...
December 2017: Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine: Official Publication of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians
Sharon Nyari, Courtney A Waugh, Jianbao Dong, Bonnie L Quigley, Jonathan Hanger, Joanne Loader, Adam Polkinghorne, Peter Timms
Chlamydial disease continues to be one of the main factors threatening the long-term survival of the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus). Despite this, large epidemiological studies of chlamydial infection and disease in wild koala populations are lacking. A better understanding of the prevalence, transmission and pathogenesis is needed to improve control measures, such as the development of vaccines. We investigated the prevalence of Chlamydia pecorum infection and disease in 160 koalas in a peri-urban wild population in Queensland, Australia and found that 31% of koalas were Chlamydia PCR positive and 28% had clinically detectable chlamydial disease...
2017: PloS One
Bonnie Chaban, Vanissa A Ong, Jonathan Hanger, Peter Timms
The recent acquisition of a novel retrovirus (KoRV) by koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) has created new opportunities for retroviral research and new challenges for koala conservation. There are currently two major subtypes of KoRV; KoRV-A, which is believed to be endogenous only in koalas from the northern part of Australia, and KoRV-B, which appears to be exogenous. Understanding and management of these subtypes requires population-level studies of their prevalence and diversity, especially when co-infected in the same population, and investigations of their modes of transmission in the wild...
December 13, 2017: Journal of Virology
Alex D Greenwood, Yasuko Ishida, Sean P O'Brien, Alfred L Roca, Maribeth V Eiden
Viruses of the subfamily Orthoretrovirinae are defined by the ability to reverse transcribe an RNA genome into DNA that integrates into the host cell genome during the intracellular virus life cycle. Exogenous retroviruses (XRVs) are horizontally transmitted between host individuals, with disease outcome depending on interactions between the retrovirus and the host organism. When retroviruses infect germ line cells of the host, they may become endogenous retroviruses (ERVs), which are permanent elements in the host germ line that are subject to vertical transmission...
March 2018: Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews: MMBR
Tamieka A Fraser, Renfu Shao, Nicholas M Fountain-Jones, Michael Charleston, Alynn Martin, Pam Whiteley, Roz Holme, Scott Carver, Adam Polkinghorne
BACKGROUND: Debilitating skin infestations caused by the mite, Sarcoptes scabiei, have a profound impact on human and animal health globally. In Australia, this impact is evident across different segments of Australian society, with a growing recognition that it can contribute to rapid declines of native Australian marsupials. Cross-host transmission has been suggested to play a significant role in the epidemiology and origin of mite infestations in different species but a chronic lack of genetic resources has made further inferences difficult...
November 28, 2017: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Miriam E Shiffman, Rochelle M Soo, Paul G Dennis, Mark Morrison, Gene W Tyson, Philip Hugenholtz
The koala has evolved to become a specialist Eucalyptus herbivore since diverging from its closest relative, the wombat, a generalist herbivore. This niche adaptation involves, in part, changes in the gut microbiota. The goal of this study was to compare koala and wombat fecal microbiomes using metagenomics to identify potential differences attributable to dietary specialization. Several populations discriminated between the koala and wombat fecal communities, most notably S24-7 and Synergistaceae in the koala, and Christensenellaceae and RF39 in the wombat...
2017: PeerJ
Carla Moros-Nicolás, Pascale Chevret, María José Izquierdo-Rico, William V Holt, Daniela Esteban-Díaz, Manel López-Béjar, Eva Martínez-Nevado, Maria A Nilsson, José Ballesta, Manuel Avilés
The zona pellucida (ZP) is an extracellular matrix that surrounds mammalian oocytes. In eutherians it is formed from three or four proteins (ZP1, ZP2, ZP3, ZP4). In the few marsupials that have been studied, however, only three of these have been characterised (ZP2, ZP3, ZP4). Nevertheless, the composition in marsupials may be more complex, since a duplication of the ZP3 gene was recently described in one species. The aim of this work was to elucidate the ZP composition in marsupials and relate it to the evolution of the ZP gene family...
November 22, 2017: Reproduction, Fertility, and Development
Katrina M Morris, Haylee J Weaver, Denis O'Meally, Marion Desclozeaux, Amber Gillett, Adam Polkinghorne
Bandicoots are omnivorous marsupials of the order Peramelemorphia. Conservation concerns and their unique biological characteristics suggest peramelomorphs are worthy research subjects, but knowledge of their genetics and immunology has lagged behind that of other high-profile marsupials. Here, we characterise the transcriptome of the long-nose bandicoot (Perameles nasuta), the first high-throughput data set from any peramelomorph. We investigate the immune gene repertoire of the bandicoot, with a focus on key immune gene families, and compare to previously characterised marsupial and mammalian species...
November 20, 2017: Immunogenetics
Matthew Hobbs, Andrew King, Ryan Salinas, Zhiliang Chen, Kyriakos Tsangaras, Alex D Greenwood, Rebecca N Johnson, Katherine Belov, Marc R Wilkins, Peter Timms
The koala retrovirus (KoRV) is implicated in several diseases affecting the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus). KoRV provirus can be present in the genome of koalas as an endogenous retrovirus (present in all cells via germline integration) or as exogenous retrovirus responsible for somatic integrations of proviral KoRV (present in a limited number of cells). This ongoing invasion of the koala germline by KoRV provides a powerful opportunity to assess the viral strategies used by KoRV in an individual. Analysis of a high-quality genome sequence of a single koala revealed 133 KoRV integration sites...
November 20, 2017: Scientific Reports
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