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Archives of Virology

, Volume 160, Issue 1, pp 47–54 | Cite as

Beak and feather disease viruses circulating in Cape parrots (Poicepahlus robustus) in South Africa

  • Guy L. Regnard
  • Rutledge S. Boyes
  • Rowan O. Martin
  • Inga I. HitzerothEmail author
  • Edward P. Rybicki
Original Article

Abstract

Captive and wild psittacines are vulnerable to the highly contagious psittacine beak and feather disease. The causative agent, beak and feather disease virus (BFDV), was recently detected in the largest remaining population of endangered Cape parrots (Poicepahlus robustus), which are endemic to South Africa. Full-length genomes were isolated and sequenced from 26 blood samples collected from wild and captive Cape parrots to determine possible origins of infection. All sequences had characteristic BFDV sequence motifs and were similar in length to those described in the literature. However, BFDV coat protein (CP) sequences from this study did not contain a previously identified bipartite nuclear localisation signal (NLS) within residues 39-56, which indicates that an alternate NLS is involved in shuttling the CP into the nucleus. Sequences from the wild population shared a high degree of similarity, irrespective of year or location, suggesting that the disease outbreak occurred close to the time when the samples were collected. Phylogenetic analysis of full-length genomes showed that the captive Cape parrot sequences cluster with those isolated from captive-bred budgerigars in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. Exposure to captive-bred Cape parrots from a breeding facility in KwaZulu-Natal is suggested as a possible source for the virus infection. Phylogenetic analysis of BFDV isolates from wild and captive Cape parrots indicated two separate infection events in different populations, which highlights the potential risk of introducing new strains of the virus into the wild population. The present study represents the first systematic investigation of BFDV virus diversity in the southern-most population of Cape parrots.

Keywords

Capsid Protein Nuclear Localisation Signal Eastern Cape Province Bipartite Nuclear Localisation Signal Discrete Gamma Distribution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was supported by funding provided by the South African National Research Foundation (NRF). The authors gratefully acknowledge David Mutepfa for technical assistance, and David Nkosi for assistance in the field. The authors acknowledge the South African NRF, the Poliomyelitis Research Foundation (PRF) and the Harry Crossley Foundation, who provided student funding for Guy Regnard.

Supplementary material

705_2014_2226_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (187 kb)
Supplementary Fig. 1 Maximum-likelihood phylogenetic relationships of the gene encoding the replication-associated (Rep) protein of Cape Parrot BFDV isolates with all publicly available rep sequences from full-length BFDV genomes; wild caught Cape Parrot (●), captive Cape Parrot (●) and Budgerigars (▲). For emphasis sequences from this study are highlighted in bold and the branch lines are in colour. Sequences isolated from Cape Parrot and Budgerigars include the two-letter country code and year of sampling. The tree was constructed in Mega6 MEGA (Build#: 6140122), and the numbers associated with the tree branches are indicative of the percentage of 1 000 full maximum-likelihood bootstrap replicates that support the existence of the branches. (PDF 186 kb)
705_2014_2226_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (214 kb)
Supplementary Fig. 2 Maximum-likelihood phylogenetic relationships of the gene encoding the capsid protein (CP) of Cape Parrot BFDV isolates with all publicly available cp sequences from full-length BFDV genomes; wild caught Cape Parrot (●), captive Cape Parrot (●) and Budgerigars (▲). For emphasis sequences from this study are highlighted in bold and the branch lines are in colour. Sequences isolated from Cape Parrot and Budgerigars include the two-letter country code and year of sampling. The tree was constructed in Mega6 MEGA (Build#: 6140122), and the numbers associated with the tree branches are indicative of the percentage of 1 000 full maximum-likelihood bootstrap replicates that support the existence of the branches. (PDF 213 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guy L. Regnard
    • 1
  • Rutledge S. Boyes
    • 2
  • Rowan O. Martin
    • 2
  • Inga I. Hitzeroth
    • 1
    Email author
  • Edward P. Rybicki
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Biopharming Research Unit, Department of Molecular and Cell BiologyUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa
  2. 2.DST/NRF Centre of Excellence, Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African OrnithologyUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa
  3. 3.Faculty of Health Sciences, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular MedicineUniversity of Cape TownObservatorySouth Africa

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