Conservation Genetics

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 325–330

A shared unusual genetic change at the chemokine receptor type 5 between Oryctolagus, Bunolagus and Pentalagus

  • Joana Abrantes
  • Catarina R. Carmo
  • Conrad A. Matthee
  • Fumio Yamada
  • Wessel van der Loo
  • Pedro J. Esteves
Short Communication

DOI: 10.1007/s10592-009-9990-1

Cite this article as:
Abrantes, J., Carmo, C.R., Matthee, C.A. et al. Conserv Genet (2011) 12: 325. doi:10.1007/s10592-009-9990-1

Abstract

Whereas in most leporid species studied the effects of exposure to Myxoma virus (MV) are benign, in the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) it causes an epizootic disease with particularly high mortality rates, known as myxomatosis. Chemokine receptors are known to play an important role in infection by large DNA viruses such as MV, by acting as portals for viral entry into the host cell. As with the human immunodeficiency virus, CCR5 is among the major candidates to affect resistance to myxomatosis. Previous sequence comparisons of the CCR5 gene among Leporid species revealed that a drastic change occurred at the second extracellular loop which was unique to the European rabbit species. Here we report that European rabbit shares this particular alteration with two of its closest relatives: the South African Riverine rabbit (Bunolagus monticularis) and the Japanese Amami rabbit (Pentalagus furnessi). Both species represent monotypic genera and are included in the IUCN Red List as Endangered. It would then be urgent to study the susceptibility of these species to myxomatosis. Despite the lack of direct evidence that the altered CCR5 can affect the outcome of exposure to MV, the reported findings justify preventive measures to be considered.

Keywords

Chemokine receptorsGene conversionMyxomatosisRiverine rabbit (Bunolagusmonticularis)Amami rabbit (Pentalagus furnessi)European rabbit (Oryctolaguscuniculus)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joana Abrantes
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Catarina R. Carmo
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Conrad A. Matthee
    • 5
  • Fumio Yamada
    • 6
  • Wessel van der Loo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pedro J. Esteves
    • 1
    • 7
  1. 1.CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos GenéticosVairãoPortugal
  2. 2.Departamento de Zoologia e AntropologiaFaculdade de Ciências da Universidade do PortoPortoPortugal
  3. 3.INSERM U892Institut de BiologieNantesFrance
  4. 4.Imperial College School of MedicineHammersmith Hospital CampusLondonUK
  5. 5.Evolutionary Genomics Group, Department of Botany and ZoologyStellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa
  6. 6.Kanasi Research CenterForestry and Forest Products Research InstituteKyotoJapan
  7. 7.Centro de Investigação em Tecnologias da Saúde (CITS), IPSN, CESPUGandraPortugal