Research Highlights: Lethal virus isolated from Sonoran tiger salamanders


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By Glenn Bartolotti – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39112632

Lethal virus isolated from Sonoran tiger salamanders

  • The Sonoran tiger salamander is a genetically distinct type of salamander confined to about 30 small ponds in a valley in southern Arizona, United States.
  • The Sonora tiger salamander is among the animals on the USA Federal List of Endangered Species.
  • These salamanders occasionally experience a disease outbreak that can wipe out a large portion of their population.
  • Researchers isolated a virus from these salamanders using fish cell cultures.
  • Researchers utilized an electron microscope and found that thin sections from the salamanders had a large quantity of enveloped and non-enveloped icosahedral virus particles.
  • The viral particles were about 170 nanometers in diameter and were found to be in the cytoplasm of skin and liver cells.
  • Researchers speculated that the virus was an iridovirus by analyzing the morphology and host pathology.
  • Iridovirus is a nuclear, cytoplasmic, large DNA-containing virus that can infect either an invertebrate like insects or cold-blooded vertebrates like reptiles and amphibians.[1]
  • Researchers concluded that the virus was the primary pathogen in these outbreaks.
  • Researchers named the virus Arabystoma tigrinum virus or ATV.
  • Although bacteria that can rupture red blood cells were isolated from sick salamanders, researchers failed to trigger the disease by exposing salamanders to these bacteria.

Sources:

Jancovich, J.K. et al. (1997). Isolation of a lethal virus from the endangered tiger salamander Ambystoma tigrinum stebbinsi. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms. https://asu.pure.elsevier.com/en/publications/isolation-of-a-lethal-virus-from-the-endangered-tiger-salamander-

[1] V.G. Chinchar, A.D. Hyatt (2008). Encyclopedia of Virology (Third Edition)


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