Variation in phenotype and virulence among enzootic and panzootic amphibian chytrid lineages

Becker, C.G., Greenspan, S.E., Tracy, K.E., Dash, J.A., Lambertini, C., Jenkinson, T.S., Leite, D.S., Toledo, L.F., Longcore, J.E., James, T.Y., and Zamudio, K.R. (2017) Variation in phenotype and virulence among enzootic and panzootic amphibian chytrid lineages. Fungal Ecology, 26. pp. 45-50.

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The Global Panzootic Lineage of the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd-GPL) is threatening amphibians worldwide. In contrast, four lineages (Bd-Brazil, Bd-CH, Bd-Cape, and Bd-Korea) that diverged early in the history of Bd have not yet been directly linked to amphibian declines. Bd likely evolves in response to strong selective pressure imposed by hosts and the environment, leading to differences among pathogen phenotypes and genotypes that may directly affect virulence. Here, we report on variation in phenotype, genotype, and virulence of Bd-Brazil and Bd-GPL. Specifically, we (i) used a controlled infection experiment to compare virulence between one Bd-Brazil and three Bd-GPL isolates on a North American amphibian host (Lithobates sylvaticus), (ii) tested for relative phenotypic and genotypic differentiation among Bd isolates from Brazil, and (iii) tested for possible correlations between environmental variables and Bd phenotypes. We found substantial variation in virulence among Bd-GPL isolates and found that our Bd-Brazil isolate showed virulence comparable to an average North American Bd-GPL. North American hosts infected with a Bd-GPL isolate from Panama did not show significant mortality. Bd phenotypes varied significantly across sampling locations; these phenotypes were neither spatially clustered nor correlated with any environmental variables. Additionally, we found a surprising lack of correlation between genotypic divergence and zoospore and zoosporangium sizes in our sample. Although Bd-Brazil was less virulent infecting L. sylvaticus than one Bd-GPL isolate, this endemic lineage still caused ∼50% mortality in our experimental North American hosts. This indicates that Bd-Brazil has the potential to kill amphibians if introduced to naïve wild populations. Our findings underscore that characterizing virulence of multiple Bd isolates and lineages is important for understanding the evolutionary history and diversity of Bd.

Item ID: 53945
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1878-0083
Keywords: Anurans, chytridiomycosis, declines, environmental pressure
Funders: São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) – Brazil, National Science Foundation (NSF)
Projects and Grants: FAPESP #2011/51694-7, CNPq #405285/2013-2, CNPq #302589/2013-9, CNPq #300980/2014-0, CNPq #312895/2014-3, NSF #OISE-1159513
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2018 04:01
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3107 Microbiology > 310702 Infectious agents @ 50%
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3009 Veterinary sciences > 300914 Veterinary virology @ 40%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410407 Wildlife and habitat management @ 10%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9604 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species > 960499 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species not elsewhere classified @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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