Original Paper

European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 57, Issue 4, pp 785-793

Avian pox infection in different wild birds in India

  • Rahul Mohanchandra PawarAffiliated withLaboratory for Conservation of Endangered Species, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB)
  • , Sirigineedi Sasi BhushanAffiliated withLaboratory for Conservation of Endangered Species, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB)
  • , Anantula PoornachandarAffiliated withLaboratory for Conservation of Endangered Species, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB)
  • , Uthandaraman LakshmikantanAffiliated withLaboratory for Conservation of Endangered Species, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB)
  • , Sisinthy ShivajiAffiliated withLaboratory for Conservation of Endangered Species, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) Email author 

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Abstract

Amplicons of fpv167 and fpv140, of 578 and 1,800 bp, respectively, characteristic of the avipox viral genes, were amplified by PCR using DNA from viruses isolated from eight Indian wild birds. BLAST and phylogenetic analysis of the sequences of the fpv167 and fpv140 amplicons indicated that Fowlpox virus (FWPV) was the nearest phylogenetic neighbour to the viral isolates, from two Indian peacocks (Pavo cristatus), two golden pheasants (Chrysolophus pictus), one silver pheasant (Lopahura nycthemera) and one sparrow (Passer domesticus). However, the two isolates from the Indian little brown dove (Stigmatopelia senegalensis) and the common wood pigeon (Columba palumbus) formed a separate cluster with turkeypox and pigeonpox virus (PGPV) isolates when the phylogenetic tree was constructed using the sequence of fpv167. When the phylogenetic analysis was done using the fpv140 gene sequence both isolates formed a cluster with isolates of PGPV. Thus, the results support that fpv140 gene along with the fpv167 gene should be used for phylogenetic analyses of avipoxviruses for better discrimination of the viruses. Additionally, avian poxvirus isolated from wild birds of India were identical to those reported in Indian domestic birds, and phylogenetically related to avian poxviruses reported from different parts of the world. To our knowledge, this is the first molecular characterization of avian poxviruses infecting different wild birds in India. The study shows that FWPV and PGPV cause infection in wild birds irrespective of the species of birds indicating that these viruses are not species specific. Thus these viruses, which are not host specific have the ability to cause infection in game birds, endangered birds and domestic birds and therefore could spread easily.

Keywords

Avian poxvirus Wild birds Fowlpox virus Pigeonpox virus Molecular characterization