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Coinfection with koala retrovirus subtypes A and B and its impact on captive koalas in Japanese zoos

  • Md Abul Hashem
  • Mohammad Enamul Hoque Kayesh
  • Osamu Yamato
  • Fumie Maetani
  • Taiki Eiei
  • Kyoya Mochizuki
  • Hiroko Sakurai
  • Ayaka Ito
  • Hiroki Kannno
  • Tatsuya Kasahara
  • Yusuke Amano
  • Kyoko Tsukiyama-KoharaEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

Koala retrovirus (KoRV) is unique among endogenous retroviruses because its endogenization is still active. Two major KoRV subtypes, KoRV-A and B, have been described, and KoRV-B is associated with disease and poses a health threat to koalas. Here, we investigated the co-prevalence of KoRV-A and KoRV-B, detected by type-specific PCR and sequencing, and their impact on the health of koalas in three Japanese zoos. We also investigated KoRV proviral loads and found varying amounts of genomic DNA (gDNA) in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). We found that 100% of the koalas examined were infected with KoRV-A and 60% (12/20) were coinfected with KoRV-B. The KoRV-A sequence was highly conserved, whereas the KoRV-B sequence varied among individuals. Interestingly, we observed possible vertical transmission of KoRV-B in one offspring in which the KoRV-B sequence was similar to that of the father but not the mother. Moreover, we characterized the KoRV growth patterns in concanavalin-A-stimulated PBMCs isolated from KoRV-B-coinfected or KoRV-B-uninfected koalas. We quantified the KoRV provirus in gDNA and the KoRV RNA copy numbers in cells and culture supernatants by real-time PCR at days 4, 7, and 14 post-seeding. As the study population is housed in captivity, a longitudinal study of these koalas may provide an opportunity to study the transmission mode of KoRV-B. In addition, we characterized KoRV isolates by infecting tupaia cells. The results suggested that tupaia may be used as an infection model for KoRV. Thus, this study may enhance our understanding of KoRV-B coinfection and transmission in the captive koalas.

Notes

Funding

This work was supported by grants from the Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture, Japan.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing financial interests.

Ethical approval

This study was done in accordance with institutional committee protocols.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Md Abul Hashem
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Mohammad Enamul Hoque Kayesh
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
    • 5
  • Osamu Yamato
    • 6
  • Fumie Maetani
    • 7
  • Taiki Eiei
    • 7
  • Kyoya Mochizuki
    • 7
  • Hiroko Sakurai
    • 7
  • Ayaka Ito
    • 7
  • Hiroki Kannno
    • 8
  • Tatsuya Kasahara
    • 8
  • Yusuke Amano
    • 9
  • Kyoko Tsukiyama-Kohara
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratory of Animal Hygiene, Joint Faculty of Veterinary MedicineKagoshima UniversityKagoshimaJapan
  2. 2.Transboundary Animal Diseases Centre, Department of Animal Hygiene, Joint Faculty of Veterinary MedicineKagoshima UniversityKagoshimaJapan
  3. 3.Department of HealthChittagong City CorporationChittagongBangladesh
  4. 4.Department of Pathological and Preventive Veterinary Science, The United Graduate School of Veterinary ScienceYamaguchi UniversityYamaguchiJapan
  5. 5.Department of Microbiology and Public HealthPatuakhali Science and Technology UniversityBarishalBangladesh
  6. 6.Department of Clinical Pathology, Joint Faculty of Veterinary MedicineKagoshima UniversityKagoshimaJapan
  7. 7.Hirakawa Zoological ParkKagoshimaJapan
  8. 8.Kobe Oji ZooKobeJapan
  9. 9.Saitama Children’s ZooSaitamaJapan

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