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      Fatal Toxoplasma gondii infection in the giant panda Translated title: Infection fatale à Toxoplasma gondii chez le panda géant Translated title: 大熊猫弓形虫致死性感染

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          Toxoplasma gondii can infect nearly all warm-blooded animals. We report an acute fatal T. gondii infection in the endangered giant panda ( Ailuropoda melanoleuca) in a zoo in China, characterized by acute gastroenteritis and respiratory symptoms. T. gondii infection was confirmed by immunological and molecular methods. Multilocus nested PCR-RFLP revealed clonal type I at the SAG1 and c29-2 loci, clonal type II at the SAG2, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, and L358 loci, and clonal type III at the alternative SAG2 and SAG3 loci, thus, a potential new genotype of T. gondii in the giant panda. Other possible pathogens were not detected. To our knowledge, this is the first report of clinical toxoplasmosis in a giant panda.

          Translated abstract

          Toxoplasma gondii peut infecter presque tous les animaux à sang chaud. Nous rapportons une infection fatale aiguë par T. gondii chez le panda géant ( Ailuropoda melanoleuca), une espèce en danger, dans un zoo en Chine, caractérisée par une gastro-entérite aiguë et des symptômes respiratoires. L’infection par T. gondii a été confirmée par des méthodes immunologiques et moléculaires. La PCR-RFLP nichée a révélé le type clonal I aux loci SAG1 et c29-2, le type clonal II aux loci SAG2, BtuB, GRA6, c22-8 et L358, le type clonal III aux loci alternatifs SAG2 et SAG3, et donc un nouveau génotype potentiel de T. gondii chez le panda géant. Aucun autre agent pathogène n’a été détecté. À notre connaissance, ceci est le premier signalement de toxoplasmose clinique chez le panda géant.

          Translated abstract

          弓形虫能感染几乎所有的温血动物。本文报道了一例发生在中国动物园的濒危动物大熊猫急性致死性弓形虫感染病例,其主要临床特征表现为急性胃肠炎和呼吸系统症状。弓形虫感染经免疫学及分子生物学方法确证。多位点巢式PCR限制性片段长度多态性分析表明,感染弓形虫SAG1和c29-2位点为I型,SAG2,BTUB,GRA6,c22-8和L358位点为II型,alternative SAG2和SAG3位点为III型,显示大熊猫感染弓形虫可能为一种新基因型。未检测到可导致性胃肠炎和呼吸系统症状的其它病原体。这是首例大熊猫弓形虫感染病例。

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          Most cited references 12

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          Moving towards an integrated approach to molecular detection and identification of Toxoplasma gondii.

          The development of simple, sensitive and rapid methods for the detection and identification of Toxoplasma gondii is important for the diagnosis and epidemiological studies of the zoonotic disease toxoplasmosis. In the past 2 decades, molecular methods based on a variety of genetic markers have been developed, each with its advantages and limitations. The application of these methods has generated invaluable information to enhance our understanding of the epidemiology, population genetics and phylogeny of T. gondii. However, since most studies focused solely on the detection but not genetic characterization of T. gondii, the information obtained was limited. In this review, we discuss some widely used molecular methods and propose an integrated approach for the detection and identification of T. gondii, in order to generate maximum information for epidemiological, population and phylogenetic studies of this key pathogen.
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            Pseudogenization of the umami taste receptor gene Tas1r1 in the giant panda coincided with its dietary switch to bamboo.

            Although it belongs to the order Carnivora, the giant panda is a vegetarian with 99% of its diet being bamboo. The draft genome sequence of the giant panda shows that its umami taste receptor gene Tas1r1 is a pseudogene, prompting the proposal that the loss of the umami perception explains why the giant panda is herbivorous. To test this hypothesis, we sequenced all six exons of Tas1r1 in another individual of the giant panda and five other carnivores. We found that the open reading frame (ORF) of Tas1r1 is intact in all these carnivores except the giant panda. The rate ratio (ω) of nonsynonymous to synonymous substitutions in Tas1r1 is significantly higher for the giant panda lineage than for other carnivore lineages. Based on the ω change and the observed number of ORF-disrupting substitutions, we estimated that the functional constraint on the giant panda Tas1r1 was relaxed ∼ 4.2 Ma, with its 95% confidence interval between 1.3 and 10 Ma. Our estimate matches the approximate date of the giant panda's dietary switch inferred from fossil records. It is probable that the giant panda's decreased reliance on meat resulted in the dispensability of the umami taste, leading to Tas1r1 pseudogenization, which in turn reinforced its herbivorous life style because of the diminished attraction of returning to meat eating in the absence of Tas1r1. Nonetheless, additional factors are likely involved because herbivores such as cow and horse still retain an intact Tas1r1.
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              Diagnosis of toxoplasmosis and typing of Toxoplasma gondii

              Toxoplasmosis, caused by the obligate intracellular protozoan Toxoplasma gondii, is an important zoonosis with medical and veterinary importance worldwide. The disease is mainly contracted by ingesting undercooked or raw meat containing viable tissue cysts, or by ingesting food or water contaminated with oocysts. The diagnosis and genetic characterization of T. gondii infection is crucial for the surveillance, prevention and control of toxoplasmosis. Traditional approaches for the diagnosis of toxoplasmosis include etiological, immunological and imaging techniques. Diagnosis of toxoplasmosis has been improved by the emergence of molecular technologies to amplify parasite nucleic acids. Among these, polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based molecular techniques have been useful for the genetic characterization of T. gondii. Serotyping methods based on polymorphic polypeptides have the potential to become the choice for typing T. gondii in humans and animals. In this review, we summarize conventional non-DNA-based diagnostic methods, and the DNA-based molecular techniques for the diagnosis and genetic characterization of T. gondii. These techniques have provided foundations for further development of more effective and accurate detection of T. gondii infection. These advances will contribute to an improved understanding of the epidemiology, prevention and control of toxoplasmosis.

                Author and article information

                EDP Sciences
                29 October 2015
                : 22
                : ( publisher-idID: parasite/2015/01 )
                [1 ] College of Life Science, Jilin Agricultural University 2888 Xincheng Street Changchun 130118 Jilin Province China
                [2 ] Key Laboratory of Jilin Province for Zoonosis Prevention and Control, Military Veterinary Institute, Academy of Military Medical Sciences Changchun China
                [3 ] China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda Ya’an China
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author: liuquan1973@ 123456hotmail.com
                parasite150075 10.1051/parasite/2015030
                © H. Ma et al., published by EDP Sciences, 2015

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 17, Pages: 4
                Short Note

                toxoplasma gondii, giant panda, genotype, pcr


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