Publications by authors named "Katrina M Morris"

16 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

The scope and severity of white-nose syndrome on hibernating bats in North America.

Conserv Biol 2021 Apr 20. Epub 2021 Apr 20.

West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, P.O. Box 67, Elkins, WV, 26241, U.S.A.

Assessing the scope and severity of threats is necessary for evaluating impacts on populations to inform conservation planning. Quantitative threat assessment often requires monitoring programs that provide reliable data over relevant spatial and temporal scales, yet such programs can be difficult to justify until there is an apparent stressor. Leveraging efforts of wildlife management agencies to record winter counts of hibernating bats, we collated data for 5 species from over 200 sites across 27 U.S. states and 2 Canadian provinces from 1995 to 2018 to determine the impact of white-nose syndrome (WNS), a deadly disease of hibernating bats. We estimated declines of winter counts of bat colonies at sites where the invasive fungus that causes WNS (Pseudogymnoascus destructans) had been detected to assess the threat impact of WNS. Three species undergoing species status assessment by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Myotis septentrionalis, Myotis lucifugus, and Perimyotis subflavus) declined by more than 90%, which warrants classifying the severity of the WNS threat as extreme based on criteria used by NatureServe. The scope of the WNS threat as defined by NatureServe criteria was large (36% of Myotis lucifugus range) to pervasive (79% of Myotis septentrionalis range) for these species. Declines for 2 other species (Myotis sodalis and Eptesicus fuscus) were less severe but still qualified as moderate to serious based on NatureServe criteria. Data-sharing across jurisdictions provided a comprehensive evaluation of scope and severity of the threat of WNS and indicated regional differences that can inform response efforts at international, national, and state or provincial jurisdictions. We assessed the threat impact of an emerging infectious disease by uniting monitoring efforts across jurisdictional boundaries and demonstrated the importance of coordinated monitoring programs, such as the North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat), for data-driven conservation assessments and planning.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13739DOI Listing
April 2021

Kinetics of the Cellular and Transcriptomic Response to in Relatively Resistant and Susceptible Chicken Lines.

Front Immunol 2021 25;12:653085. Epub 2021 Mar 25.

Division of Infection and Immunity, The Roslin Institute and R(D)SVS, University of Edinburgh, Roslin, United Kingdom.

is a common cause of coccidiosis in chickens, a disease that has a huge economic impact on poultry production. Knowledge of immunity to and the specific mechanisms that contribute to differing levels of resistance observed between chicken breeds and between congenic lines derived from a single breed of chickens is required. This study aimed to define differences in the kinetics of the immune response of two inbred lines of White Leghorn chickens that exhibit differential resistance (line C.B12) or susceptibility (line 15I) to infection by . Line C.B12 and 15I chickens were infected with and transcriptome analysis of jejunal tissue was performed at 2, 4, 6 and 8 days post-infection (dpi). RNA-Seq analysis revealed differences in the rapidity and magnitude of cytokine transcription responses post-infection between the two lines. In particular, IFN-γ and IL-10 transcript expression increased in the jejunum earlier in line C.B12 (at 4 dpi) compared to line 15I (at 6 dpi). Line C.B12 chickens exhibited increases of and mRNA in the jejunum at 4 dpi, whereas in line 15I transcription was delayed but increased to a greater extent. RT-qPCR and ELISAs confirmed the results of the transcriptomic study. Higher serum IL-10 correlated strongly with higher replication in line 15I compared to line C.B12 chickens. Overall, the findings suggest early induction of the IFN-γ and IL-10 responses, as well as immune-related genes including at 4 dpi identified by RNA-Seq, may be key to resistance to .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.653085DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8027475PMC
March 2021

Inside-out chicken enteroids with leukocyte component as a model to study host-pathogen interactions.

Commun Biol 2021 03 19;4(1):377. Epub 2021 Mar 19.

Division of Infection and Immunity, The Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Midlothian, UK.

Mammalian three-dimensional (3D) enteroids mirror in vivo intestinal organisation and are powerful tools to investigate intestinal cell biology and host-pathogen interactions. We have developed complex multilobulated 3D chicken enteroids from intestinal embryonic villi and adult crypts. These avian enteroids develop optimally in suspension without the structural support required to produce mammalian enteroids, resulting in an inside-out enteroid conformation with media-facing apical brush borders. Histological and transcriptional analyses show these enteroids comprise of differentiated intestinal epithelial cells bound by cell-cell junctions, and notably, include intraepithelial leukocytes and an inner core of lamina propria leukocytes. The advantageous polarisation of these enteroids has enabled infection of the epithelial apical surface with Salmonella Typhimurium, influenza A virus and Eimeria tenella without the need for micro-injection. We have created a comprehensive model of the chicken intestine which has the potential to explore epithelial and leukocyte interactions and responses in host-pathogen, food science and pharmaceutical research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-01901-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7979936PMC
March 2021

The quail genome: insights into social behaviour, seasonal biology and infectious disease response.

BMC Biol 2020 02 12;18(1):14. Epub 2020 Feb 12.

The Roslin Institute and R(D)SVS, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush, Midlothian, EH25 9RG, UK.

Background: The Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) is a popular domestic poultry species and an increasingly significant model species in avian developmental, behavioural and disease research.

Results: We have produced a high-quality quail genome sequence, spanning 0.93 Gb assigned to 33 chromosomes. In terms of contiguity, assembly statistics, gene content and chromosomal organisation, the quail genome shows high similarity to the chicken genome. We demonstrate the utility of this genome through three diverse applications. First, we identify selection signatures and candidate genes associated with social behaviour in the quail genome, an important agricultural and domestication trait. Second, we investigate the effects and interaction of photoperiod and temperature on the transcriptome of the quail medial basal hypothalamus, revealing key mechanisms of photoperiodism. Finally, we investigate the response of quail to H5N1 influenza infection. In quail lung, many critical immune genes and pathways were downregulated after H5N1 infection, and this may be key to the susceptibility of quail to H5N1.

Conclusions: We have produced a high-quality genome of the quail which will facilitate further studies into diverse research questions using the quail as a model avian species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12915-020-0743-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7017630PMC
February 2020

Avian Pathogenic (APEC) Strain-Dependent Immunomodulation of Respiratory Granulocytes and Mononuclear Phagocytes in -Reporter Transgenic Chickens.

Front Immunol 2019 10;10:3055. Epub 2020 Jan 10.

Division of Infection and Immunity, The Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

Avian pathogenic (APEC) cause severe respiratory and systemic disease in chickens, commonly termed colibacillosis. Early immune responses after initial infection are highly important for the outcome of the infection. In this study, the early interactions between -expressing APEC strains of serotypes O1:K1:H7 and O2:K1:H5 and phagocytic cells in the lung of -reporter transgenic chickens were investigated. -reporter transgenic chickens express fluorescent protein under the control of elements of the promoter and enhancer, such that cells of the myeloid lineage can be visualized and sorted. Chickens were separately inoculated with APEC strains expressing and culled 6 h post-infection. Flow cytometric analysis was performed to phenotype and sort the cells that harbored bacteria in the lung, and the response of the sorted cells was defined by transcriptomic analysis. Both APEC strains were mainly detected in -transgene (-tg) and -tg MHC II MRC1L-B cells and low numbers of APEC were detected in -tg MHC II MRC1L-B cells. Transcriptomic and flow cytometric analysis identified the APEC -tg and -tg cells as heterophils and the APEC -tg cells as macrophages and dendritic cells. Both APEC strains induced strong inflammatory responses, however in both -tg and -tg cells, many immune related pathways were repressed to a greater extent or less activated in birds inoculated with APEC O2- compared to APEC O1- inoculated birds. Comparison of the immune pathways revealed the aryl hydrocarbon receptor () pathway, and signaling, heterophil recruitment pathways and the acute phase response, are modulated particularly post-APEC O2- inoculation. In contrast to data, APEC O2- was more invasive in -tg cells than APEC O1- and had higher survival rates for up to 6 h post-infection. Our data indicate significant differences in the responses induced by APEC strains of prevalent serotypes, with important implications for the design and interpretation of future studies. Moreover, we show that bacterial invasion and survival in phagocyte populations is not predictive of events in the chicken lung.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2019.03055DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6967599PMC
November 2020

Adaptation and conservation insights from the koala genome.

Nat Genet 2018 08 2;50(8):1102-1111. Epub 2018 Jul 2.

Sydney School of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Science, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

The koala, the only extant species of the marsupial family Phascolarctidae, is classified as 'vulnerable' due to habitat loss and widespread disease. We sequenced the koala genome, producing a complete and contiguous marsupial reference genome, including centromeres. We reveal that the koala's ability to detoxify eucalypt foliage may be due to expansions within a cytochrome P450 gene family, and its ability to smell, taste and moderate ingestion of plant secondary metabolites may be due to expansions in the vomeronasal and taste receptors. We characterized novel lactation proteins that protect young in the pouch and annotated immune genes important for response to chlamydial disease. Historical demography showed a substantial population crash coincident with the decline of Australian megafauna, while contemporary populations had biogeographic boundaries and increased inbreeding in populations affected by historic translocations. We identified genetically diverse populations that require habitat corridors and instituting of translocation programs to aid the koala's survival in the wild.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0153-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6197426PMC
August 2018

Intergenerational effects of nutrition on immunity: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc 2018 05 27;93(2):1108-1124. Epub 2017 Nov 27.

The University of Sydney, Charles Perkins Centre, NSW, 2006, Australia.

Diet and immunity are both highly complex processes through which organisms interact with their environment and adapt to variable conditions. Parents that are able to transmit information to their offspring about prevailing environmental conditions have a selective advantage by 'priming' the physiology of their offspring. We used a meta-analytic approach to test the effect of parental diet on offspring immune responses. Using the geometric framework for nutrition (a method for analysing diet compositions wherein food nutrient components are expressed as axes in a Cartesian coordinate space) to define dietary manipulations in terms of their energy and macronutrient compositions, we compiled the results of 226 experiments from 38 published papers on the intergenerational effects of diet on immunity, across a range of study species and immunological responses. We observed intergenerational impacts of parental nutrition on a number of offspring immunological processes, including expression of pro-inflammatory biomarkers as well as decreases in anti-inflammatory markers in response to certain parental diets. For example, across our data set as a whole (encompassing several types of dietary manipulation), dietary stress in parents was seen to significantly increase pro-inflammatory cytokine levels measured in offspring (overall d = 0.575). All studies included in our analysis were from experiments in which the offspring were raised on a normal or control diet, so our findings suggest that a nutrition-dependent immune state can be inherited, and that this immune state is maintained in the short term, despite offspring returning to an 'optimal' diet. We demonstrate how the geometric framework for nutrition can be used to disentangle the role that different forms of dietary manipulation can have on intergenerational immunity. For example, offspring B-cell responses were significantly decreased when parents were raised on a range of different diets. Similarly, our approach allowed us to show that a parental diet elevated in protein (regardless of energy composition and relative to a control diet) can increase expression of inflammatory markers while decreasing B-cell-associated markers. By conducting a systematic review of the literature, we have identified important gaps that impair our understanding of the intergenerational effects of diet, such as a paucity of experimental studies involving increased protein and decreased energy, and a lack of studies directed at the whole-organism consequences of these processes, such as immune resilience to infection. The results of our analyses inform our understanding of the effects of diet on physiological state across diverse biological fields, including biomedical sciences, maintenance of agricultural breed stock and conservation breeding programs, among others.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/brv.12387DOI Listing
May 2018

Transcriptome sequencing of the long-nosed bandicoot (Perameles nasuta) reveals conservation and innovation of immune genes in the marsupial order Peramelemorphia.

Immunogenetics 2018 05 20;70(5):327-336. Epub 2017 Nov 20.

Centre for Animal Health Innovation, University of the Sunshine Coast, 91 Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs, 4556, Australia.

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. We find that the immune gene complement in bandicoot is often conserved with respect to other marsupials; however, the diversity of expressed transcripts in several key families, such as major histocompatibility complex, T cell receptor μ and natural killer cell receptors, appears greater in the bandicoot than other Australian marsupials, including devil and koala. This transcriptome is an important first step for future studies of bandicoots and the bilby, allowing for population level analysis and construction of bandicoot-specific immunological reagents and assays. Such studies will be critical to understanding the immunology and physiology of Peramelemorphia and to inform the conservation of these unique marsupials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00251-017-1043-1DOI Listing
May 2018

Characterisation of the immune compounds in koala milk using a combined transcriptomic and proteomic approach.

Sci Rep 2016 10 7;6:35011. Epub 2016 Oct 7.

Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW, 2006, Australia.

Production of milk is a key characteristic of mammals, but the features of lactation vary greatly between monotreme, marsupial and eutherian mammals. Marsupials have a short gestation followed by a long lactation period, and milk constituents vary greatly across lactation. Marsupials are born immunologically naïve and rely on their mother's milk for immunological protection. Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) are an iconic Australian species that are increasingly threatened by disease. Here we use a mammary transcriptome, two milk proteomes and the koala genome to comprehensively characterise the protein components of koala milk across lactation, with a focus on immune constituents. The most abundant proteins were well-characterised milk proteins, including β-lactoglobulin and lactotransferrin. In the mammary transcriptome, 851 immune transcripts were expressed, including immunoglobulins and complement components. We identified many abundant antimicrobial peptides, as well as novel proteins with potential antimicrobial roles. We discovered that marsupial VELP is an ortholog of eutherian Glycam1, and likely has an antimicrobial function in milk. We also identified highly-abundant koala endogenous-retrovirus sequences, identifying a potential transmission route from mother to young. Characterising the immune components of milk is key to understanding protection of marsupial young, and the novel immune compounds identified may have applications in clinical research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep35011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5054531PMC
October 2016

The identification of immune genes in the milk transcriptome of the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii).

PeerJ 2016 12;4:e1569. Epub 2016 Jan 12.

Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney , Sydney , Australia.

Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) pouch young, like other marsupials, are born underdeveloped and immunologically naïve, and are unable to mount an adaptive immune response. The mother's milk provides nutrients for growth and development as well as providing passive immunity. To better understand immune response in this endangered species, we set out to characterise the genes involved in passive immunity by sequencing and annotating the transcriptome of a devil milk sample collected during mid-lactation. At mid-lactation we expect the young to have heightened immune responses, as they have emerged from the pouch, encountering new pathogens. A total of 233,660 transcripts were identified, including approximately 17,827 unique protein-coding genes and 846 immune genes. The most highly expressed transcripts were dominated by milk protein genes such as those encoding early lactation protein, late lactation proteins, α-lactalbumin, α-casein and β-casein. There were numerous highly expressed immune genes including lysozyme, whey acidic protein, ferritin and major histocompatibility complex I and II. Genes encoding immunoglobulins, antimicrobial peptides, chemokines and immune cell receptors were also identified. The array of immune genes identified in this study reflects the importance of the milk in providing immune protection to Tasmanian devil young and provides the first insight into Tasmanian devil milk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.1569DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4715465PMC
January 2016

Identification and analysis of divergent immune gene families within the Tasmanian devil genome.

BMC Genomics 2015 Nov 26;16:1017. Epub 2015 Nov 26.

Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW, Australia.

Background: The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is being threatened with extinction in the wild by a disease known as devil facial tumour disease (DFTD). In order to prevent the spread of this disease a thorough understanding of the Tasmanian devil immune system and its response to the disease is required. In 2011 and 2012 two genome sequencing projects of the Tasmania devil were released. This has provided us with the raw data required to begin to investigate the Tasmanian devil immunome in depth. In this study we characterise immune gene families of the Tasmanian devil. We focus on immunoglobulins, T cell receptors and cytokine families.

Results: We identify and describe 119 cytokines including 40 interleukins, 39 chemokines, 8 interferons, 18 tumour necrosis family cytokines and 14 additional cytokines. Constant regions for immunoglobulins and T cell receptors were also identified. The repertoire of genes in these families was similar to the opossum, however devil specific duplications were seen and orthologs to eutherian genes not previously identified in any marsupial were also identified.

Conclusions: By using multiple data sources as well as targeted search methods, highly divergent genes across the Tasmanian devil immune system were identified and characterised. This understanding will allow for the development of devil specific assays and reagents and allow for future studies into the immune response of the Tasmanian devil immune system to DFTD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12864-015-2206-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4662006PMC
November 2015

Identification, characterisation and expression analysis of natural killer receptor genes in Chlamydia pecorum infected koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus).

BMC Genomics 2015 Oct 15;16:796. Epub 2015 Oct 15.

Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW, Australia.

Background: Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus), an iconic Australian marsupial, are being heavily impacted by the spread of Chlamydia pecorum, an obligate intracellular bacterial pathogen. Koalas vary in their response to this pathogen, with some showing no symptoms, while others suffer severe symptoms leading to infertility, blindness or death. Little is known about the pathology of this disease and the immune response against it in this host. Studies have demonstrated that natural killer (NK) cells, key components of the innate immune system, are involved in the immune response to chlamydial infections in humans. These cells can directly lyse cells infected by intracellular pathogens and their ability to recognise these infected cells is mediated through NK receptors on their surface. These are encoded in two regions of the genome, the leukocyte receptor complex (LRC) and the natural killer complex (NKC). These two families evolve rapidly and different repertoires of genes, which have evolved by gene duplication, are seen in different species.

Methods: In this study we aimed to characterise genes belonging to the NK receptor clusters in the koala by searching available koala transcriptomes using a combination of search methods. We developed a qPCR assay to quantify relative expression of four genes, two encoded within the NK receptor cluster (CLEC1B, CLEC4E) and two known to play a role in NK response to Chalmydia in humans (NCR3, PRF1).

Results: We found that the NK receptor repertoire of the koala closely resembles that of the Tasmanian devil, with minimal genes in the NKC, but with lineage specific expansions in the LRC. Additional genes important for NK cell activity, NCR3 and PRF1, were also identified and characterised. In a preliminary study to investigate whether these genes are involved in the koala immune response to infection by its chlamydial pathogen, C. pecorum, we investigated the expression of four genes in koalas with active chlamydia infection, those with past infection and those without infection using qPCR. This analysis revealed that one of these four, CLEC4E, may be upregulated in response to chlamydia infection.

Conclusion: We have characterised genes of the NKC and LRC in koalas and have discovered evidence that one of these genes may be upregulated in koalas with chlamydia, suggesting that these receptors may play a role in the immune response of koalas to chlamydia infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12864-015-2035-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4608214PMC
October 2015

Lack of genetic diversity across diverse immune genes in an endangered mammal, the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii).

Mol Ecol 2015 Aug 17;24(15):3860-72. Epub 2015 Jul 17.

University of Sydney, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Sydney, NSW, 2006, Australia.

The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is threatened with extinction due to the spread of devil facial tumour disease. Polymorphisms in immune genes can provide adaptive potential to resist diseases. Previous studies in diversity at immune loci in wild species have almost exclusively focused on genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC); however, these genes only account for a fraction of immune gene diversity. Devils lack diversity at functionally important immunity loci, including MHC and Toll-like receptor genes. Whether there are polymorphisms at devil immune genes outside these two families is unknown. Here, we identify polymorphisms in a wide range of key immune genes, and develop assays to type single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within a subset of these genes. A total of 167 immune genes were examined, including cytokines, chemokines and natural killer cell receptors. Using genome-level data from ten devils, SNPs within coding regions, introns and 10 kb flanking genes of interest were identified. We found low polymorphism across 167 immune genes examined bioinformatically using whole-genome data. From this data, we developed long amplicon assays to target nine genes. These amplicons were sequenced in 29-220 devils and found to contain 78 SNPs, including eight SNPS within exons. Despite the extreme paucity of genetic diversity within these genes, signatures of balancing selection were exhibited by one chemokine gene, suggesting that remaining diversity may hold adaptive potential. The low functional diversity may leave devils highly vulnerable to infectious disease, and therefore, monitoring and preserving remaining diversity will be critical for the long-term management of this species. Examining genetic variation in diverse immune genes should be a priority for threatened wildlife species. This study can act as a model for broad-scale immunogenetic diversity analysis in threatened species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/mec.13291DOI Listing
August 2015

Identification of dendritic cells, B cell and T cell subsets in Tasmanian devil lymphoid tissue; evidence for poor immune cell infiltration into devil facial tumors.

Anat Rec (Hoboken) 2014 May 24;297(5):925-38. Epub 2014 Mar 24.

Menzies Research Institute Tasmania, University of Tasmania, Tasmania, Australia.

The Tasmanian devil is under threat of extinction due to the transmissible devil facial tumor disease (DFTD). This fatal tumor is an allograft that does not induce an immune response, raising questions about the activity of Tasmanian devil immune cells. T and B cell analysis has been limited by a lack of antibodies, hence the need to produce such reagents. Amino acid sequence analysis revealed that CD4, CD8, IgM, and IgG were closely related to other marsupials. Monoclonal antibodies were produced against CD4, CD8, IgM, and IgG by generating bacterial fusion proteins. These, and commercial antibodies against CD1a and CD83, identified T cells, B cells and dendritic cells by immunohistochemistry. CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells were identified in pouch young thymus, adult lymph nodes, spleen, bronchus- and gut-associated lymphoid tissue. Their anatomical distribution was characteristic of mammalian lymphoid tissues with more CD4(+) than CD8(+) cells in lymph nodes and splenic white pulp. IgM(+) and IgG(+) B cells were identified in adult lymph nodes, spleen, bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue and gut-associated lymphoid tissue, with more IgM(+) than IgG(+) cells. Dendritic cells were identified in lymph node, spleen and skin. This distribution is consistent with eutherian mammals and other marsupials, indicating they have the immune cell subsets for an anti-tumor immunity. Devil facial tumor disease tumors contained more CD8(+) than CD4(+) cells, but in low numbers. There were also low numbers of CD1a(+) and MHC class II(+) cells, but no CD83(+) IgM(+) or IgG(+) B cells, consistent with poor immune cell infiltration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ar.22904DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4112814PMC
May 2014

Development of MHC-Linked Microsatellite Markers in the Domestic Cat and Their Use to Evaluate MHC Diversity in Domestic Cats, Cheetahs, and Gir Lions.

J Hered 2014 Jul-Aug;105(4):493-505. Epub 2014 Mar 11.

From the Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia (Morris, Kirby, Beatty, Barrs, and Belov); the ANGIS, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia (Cattley); the Laboratory of Genomic Diversity, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, MD 21702-1201 (David and Menotti-Raymond); the Theodosius Dobzhansky Center for Genome Bioinformatics, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia (O'Brien); and the Oceanographic Center, Nova Southeastern University, Ft Lauderdale, FL 33314-7796 (O'Brien).

Diversity within the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) reflects the immunological fitness of a population. MHC-linked microsatellite markers provide a simple and an inexpensive method for studying MHC diversity in large-scale studies. We have developed 6 MHC-linked microsatellite markers in the domestic cat and used these, in conjunction with 5 neutral microsatellites, to assess MHC diversity in domestic mixed breed (n = 129) and purebred Burmese (n = 61) cat populations in Australia. The MHC of outbred Australian cats is polymorphic (average allelic richness = 8.52), whereas the Burmese population has significantly lower MHC diversity (average allelic richness = 6.81; P < 0.01). The MHC-linked microsatellites along with MHC cloning and sequencing demonstrated moderate MHC diversity in cheetahs (n = 13) and extremely low diversity in Gir lions (n = 13). Our MHC-linked microsatellite markers have potential future use in diversity and disease studies in other populations and breeds of cats as well as in wild felid species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jhered/esu017DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4048552PMC
September 2017

Proteomics and deep sequencing comparison of seasonally active venom glands in the platypus reveals novel venom peptides and distinct expression profiles.

Mol Cell Proteomics 2012 Nov 16;11(11):1354-64. Epub 2012 Aug 16.

Faculty of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW 2006, Australia.

The platypus is a venomous monotreme. Male platypuses possess a spur on their hind legs that is connected to glands in the pelvic region. They produce venom only during the breeding season, presumably to fight off conspecifics. We have taken advantage of this unique seasonal production of venom to compare the transcriptomes of in- and out-of-season venom glands, in conjunction with proteomic analysis, to identify previously undiscovered venom genes. Comparison of the venom glands revealed distinct gene expression profiles that are consistent with changes in venom gland morphology and venom volumes in and out of the breeding season. Venom proteins were identified through shot-gun sequenced venom proteomes of three animals using RNA-seq-derived transcripts for peptide-spectral matching. 5,157 genes were expressed in the venom glands, 1,821 genes were up-regulated in the in-season gland, and 10 proteins were identified in the venom. New classes of platypus-venom proteins identified included antimicrobials, amide oxidase, serpin protease inhibitor, proteins associated with the mammalian stress response pathway, cytokines, and other immune molecules. Five putative toxins have only been identified in platypus venom: growth differentiation factor 15, nucleobindin-2, CD55, a CXC-chemokine, and corticotropin-releasing factor-binding protein. These novel venom proteins have potential biomedical and therapeutic applications and provide insights into venom evolution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/mcp.M112.017491DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3494181PMC
November 2012
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