Metatranscriptomic analysis of virus diversity in urban wild birds with paretic disease

Chang, Wei-Shan, Eden, John-Sebastian, Hall, Jane, Shi, Mang, Rose, Karrie, and Holmes, Edward C. (2020) Metatranscriptomic analysis of virus diversity in urban wild birds with paretic disease. Journal of Virology, 94 (18). e00606-20.

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Wild birds are major natural reservoirs and potential dispersers of a variety of infectious diseases. As such, it is important to determine the diversity of viruses they carry and use this information to help understand the potential risks of spillover to humans, domestic animals, and other wildlife. We investigated the potential viral causes of paresis in long-standing, but undiagnosed, disease syndromes in wild Australian birds. RNA from diseased birds was extracted and pooled based on tissue type, host species, and clinical manifestation for metagenomic sequencing. Using a bulk and unbiased metatranscriptomic approach, combined with clinical investigation and histopathology, we identified a number of novel viruses from the families Astroviridae, Adenoviridae, Picornaviridae, Polyomaviridae, Paramyxoviridae, Parvoviridae, and Circoviridae in common urban wild birds, including Australian magpies, magpie larks, pied currawongs, Australian ravens, and rainbow lorikeets. In each case, the presence of the virus was confirmed by reverse transcription (RT)-PCR. These data revealed a number of candidate viral pathogens that may contribute to coronary, skeletal muscle, vascular, and neuropathology in birds of the Corvidae and Artamidae families and neuropathology in members of the Psittaculidae. The existence of such a diverse virome in urban avian species highlights the importance and challenges in elucidating the etiology and ecology of wildlife pathogens in urban environments. This information will be increasingly important for managing disease risks and conducting surveillance for potential viral threats to wildlife, livestock, and human health.

Item ID: 64676
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1098-5514
Keywords: birds, evolution, metatranscriptomics, neurological syndrome, paresis, wildlife
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2020 Chang et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms o fthe Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.
Funders: Taronga Conservation Society (TCS), New South Wales Parks and Wildlife Service, Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC FL170100022
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2020 07:43
FoR Codes: 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3009 Veterinary sciences > 300914 Veterinary virology @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3107 Microbiology > 310702 Infectious agents @ 50%
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