Otariid gammaherpesvirus 1 in South American fur seals (Arctocephalus australis) and a novel related herpesvirus in free-ranging South American sea lions (Otaria byronia): Prevalence and effects of age, sex, and sample type

Karisa N. Tang, Michael J. Adkesson, Susana Cárdenas-Alayza, Laura Adamovicz, Alissa C. Deming, James F. X. Wellehan, April Childress, Galaxia Cortes-Hinojosa, Kathleen Colegrove, Jennifer N. Langan, Matthew C. Allender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Otariid gammaherpesvirus 1 (OtGHV1) is associated with high rates of urogenital carcinoma in free-ranging California sea lions (Zalophus californianus; CSL), and until recently was reported only in the Northern Hemisphere. The objective of this study was to survey free-ranging South American sea lions (Otaria byronia; SASL) and South American fur seals (Arctocephalus australis: SAFS) in Punta San Juan, Peru for OtGHV1 and to determine prevalence characteristics. Twenty-one percent (14/67) of urogenital swabs collected over three years (2011, 2014, 2015) from live pinnipeds of both species tested positive with a pan-herpesvirus conventional PCR. Sequencing of SAFS amplicons revealed 100% homology to OtGHV1 at the DNA polymerase, glycoprotein B, and viral bcl2-like genes. Sequencing of SASL amplicons revealed a novel related virus, herein called Otariid gammaherpesvirus 8 (OtGHV8). For comparison of sample sites, urogenital, conjunctival, and oropharyngeal swabs collected from 136 live pinnipeds of both species at Punta San Juan between 2011–2018 were then assayed using quantitative PCR for a segment of the OtGHV1/8 DNA polymerase gene using a qPCR assay now determined to cross-react between the two viruses. In total, across both species, 38.6% (51/132) of urogenital swabs, 5.6% (4/71) of conjunctival swabs, and 1.1% (1/90) of oropharyngeal swabs were positive for OtGHV1/8, with SASL only positive on urogenital swabs. Results from SASL were complicated by the finding of OtGHV8, necessitating further study to determine prevalence of OtGHV1 versus OtGHV8 using an alternate assay. Results from SAFS suggest a potential relationship between OtGHV1 in SAFS and CSL. Though necropsy surveillance in SAFS is very limited, geographic patterns of OtGHV1-associated urogenital carcinoma in CSL and the tendency of herpesviruses to cause more detrimental disease in aberrant hosts suggests that it is possible that SAFS may be the definitive host of OtGHV1, which gives further insight into the diversity and phyogeography of this clade of related gammaherpesviruses.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalPloS one
Volume19
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2024

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