Serpentoviruses: More than Respiratory Pathogens
In recent years, nidoviruses have emerged as important respiratory pathogens of reptiles, affecting captive python populations. In pythons, nidovirus (recently reclassified as serpentovirus) infection induces an inflammation of the upper respiratory and alimentary tract which can develop into a severe, often fatal proliferative pneumonia. We observed pyogranulomatous and fibrinonecrotic lesions in organ systems other than the respiratory tract during full postmortem examinations on 30 serpentovirus reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR)-positive pythons of varying species originating from Switzerland and Spain. The observations prompted us to study whether this not yet reported wider distribution of lesions is associated with previously unknown serpentoviruses or changes in the serpentovirus genome. RT-PCR and inoculation of Morelia viridis cell cultures served to recruit the cases and obtain virus isolates. Immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence staining against serpentovirus nucleoprotein demonstrated that the virus infects not only a broad spectrum of epithelia (respiratory and alimentary epithelium, hepatocytes, renal tubules, pancreatic ducts, etc.), but also intravascular monocytes, intralesional macrophages, and endothelial cells. With next-generation sequencing we obtained a full-length genome for a novel serpentovirus species circulating in Switzerland. Analysis of viral genomes recovered from pythons showing serpentovirus infection-associated respiratory or systemic disease did not reveal sequence association to phenotypes; however, functional studies with different strains are needed to confirm this observation. The results indicate that serpentoviruses have a broad cell and tissue tropism, further suggesting that the course of infection could vary and involve lesions in a broad spectrum of tissues and organ systems as a consequence of monocyte-mediated viral systemic spread.
619 - Veterinary science
American Society for Microbiology
Is part of
Journal of Virology
Dervas, Eva, Jussi Hepojoki, Teemu Smura, Barbara Prähauser, Katharina Windbichler, Sandra Blümich, Antonio Ramis, Udo Hetzel, and Anja Kipar. 2020. "Serpentoviruses: More Than Respiratory Pathogens". Journal Of Virology 94 (18). doi:10.1128/jvi.00649-20.
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