Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Susceptibility of carnivore hosts to strains of canine distemper virus from distinct genetic lineages.

Abstract

Using the complete haemagglutinin (HA) gene and partial phosphoprotein (P) gene we investigated the genotype of canine distemper virus (CDV) strains recovered from two wildlife species in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrated significant differences between the strains from raccoons Procyon lotor (family Procyonidae) obtained in 2007 and strains from red foxes Vulpes vulpes (family Canidae) obtained in 2008. The raccoon strains belonged to the CDV European wildlife lineage whereas the red fox strains belonged to the CDV Europe lineage. We combined our genetic sequence data with published data from 138 CDV stains worldwide to investigate the proposed importance of amino acid substitutions in the SLAM binding region of the CDV HA protein at position 530 (G/E to R/D/N) and 549 (Y to H) to the spread of domestic dog-adapted CDV strains to other carnivores. We found no evidence that amino acid 530 was strongly affected by host species. Rather, site 530 was conserved within CDV lineages, regardless of host species. Contrary to expectation, strains from non-dog hosts did not exhibit a bias towards the predicted substitution Y549H. Wild canid hosts were more frequently infected by strains with 549Y, a pattern similar to domestic dogs. Non-canid strains showed no significant bias towards either H or Y at site 549, although there was a trend towards 549H. Significant differences between the prevalence of 549Y and 549H in wild canid strains and non-canid strains suggests a degree of virus adaptation to these categories of host.