Browsing by Author "Skuce, Robin A."
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ItemAn analysis of effects of heterozygosity in dairy cattle for bovine tuberculosis resistance(Wiley, 2018-01-24) Tsairidou, S.; Allen, Adrian; Pong-Wong, R.; McBride, S.H.; Wright, D.M.; Matika, O.; Pooley, C.M.; McDowell, Stanley W.J.; Glass, E.J.; Skuce, Robin A.; Bishop, S.C.; Woolliams, J.A.Genetic selection of cattle more resistant to bovine tuberculosis (bTB) may offer a complementary control strategy. Hypothesising underlying non-additive genetic variation, we present an approach using genome-wide high density markers to identify genomic loci with dominance effects on bTB resistance and to test previously published regions with heterozygote advantage in bTB. Our data comprised 1151 Holstein–Friesian cows from Northern Ireland, confirmed bTB cases and controls, genotyped with the 700K Illumina BeadChip. Genome-wide markers were tested for associations between heterozygosity and bTB status using marker-based relationships. Results were tested for robustness against genetic structure, and the genotypic frequencies of a significant locus were tested for departures from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. Genomic regions identified in our study and in previous publications were tested for dominance effects. Genotypic effects were estimated through ASReml mixed models. A SNP (rs43032684) on chromosome 6 was significant at the chromosome-wide level, explaining 1.7% of the phenotypic variance. In the controls, there were fewer heterozygotes for rs43032684 (P < 0.01) with the genotypic values suggesting that heterozygosity confers a heterozygote disadvantage. The region surrounding rs43032684 had a significant dominance effect (P < 0.01). SNP rs43032684 resides within a pseudogene with a parental gene involved in macrophage response to infection and within a copy-number-variation region previously associated with nematode resistance. No dominance effect was found for the region on chromosome 11, as indicated by a previous candidate region bTB study. These findings require further validation with large-scale data. ItemBovine Tuberculosis in Britain and Ireland – A Perfect Storm? the Confluence of Potential Ecological and Epidemiological Impediments to Controlling a Chronic Infectious Disease(Frontiers Media, 2018-06-05) Allen, Adrian; Skuce, Robin A.; Byrne, A.W.Successful eradication schemes for bovine tuberculosis (bTB) have been implemented in a number of European and other countries over the last 50 years. However, the islands of Britain and Ireland remain a significant aberration to this trend, with the recent exception of Scotland. Why have eradication schemes failed within these countries, while apparently similar programs have been successful elsewhere? While significant socioeconomic and political factors have been discussed elsewhere as key determinants of disease eradication, here we review some of the potential ecological and epidemiological constraints that are present in these islands relative to other parts of Europe. We argue that the convergence of these potential factors may interact additively to diminish the potential of the present control programs to achieve eradication. Issues identified include heterogeneity of diagnostic testing approaches, the presence of an abundant wildlife reservoir of infection and the challenge of sustainably managing this risk effectively; the nature, size, density and network structure of cattle farming; potential effects of Mycobacterium bovis strain heterogeneity on disease transmission dynamics; possible impacts of concurrent endemic infections on the disclosure of truly infected animals; climatological differences and change coupled with environmental contamination. We further argue that control and eradication of this complex disease may benefit from an ecosystem level approach to management. We hope that this perspective can stimulate a new conversation about the many factors potentially impacting bTB eradication schemes in Britain and Ireland and possibly stimulate new research in the areas identified. ItemBovine tuberculosis visible lesions in cattle culled during herd breakdowns: the effects of individual characteristics, trade movement and co-infection(Springer, 2017-12) Byrne, Andrew W.; Graham, Jordon; Brown, Craig; Donaghy, Aoibheann; Guelbenzu Gonzalo, Maria; McNair, James; Skuce, Robin A.; Allen, Adrian; McDowell, Stanley W.J.Background: Bovine tuberculosis (bTB), caused by Mycobacterium bovis, remains a significant problem for livestock industries in many countries worldwide including Northern Ireland, where a test and slaughter regime has utilised the Single Intradermal Comparative Cervical Tuberculin (SICCT) test since 1959. We investigated the variation in post-mortem confirmation based on bTB visible lesion (VL) presence during herd breakdowns using two model suites. We investigated animal-level characteristics, while controlling for herd-level factors and clustering. We were interested in potential impacts of concurrent infection, and therefore we assessed whether animals with evidence of liver fluke infection (Fasciola hepatica; post-mortem inspection), M. avium reactors (animals with negative M. bovis-avium (b-a) tuberculin reactions) or Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus (BVDV; RT-PCR tested) were associated with bTB confirmation. Results: The dataset included 6242 animals removed during the 14 month study period (2013–2015). bTB-VL presence was significantly increased in animals with greater b-a reaction size at the disclosing SICCT test (e.g. b-a = 5- 9 mm vs. b-a = 0 mm, adjusted Odds ratio (aOR): 14.57; p < 0.001). M. avium reactor animals (b-a < 0) were also significantly more likely to disclose VL than non-reactor animals (b-a = 0; aOR: 2.29; p = 0.023). Animals had a greater probability of exhibiting lesions with the increasing number of herds it had resided within (movement; logherds: aOR: 2.27–2.42; p < 0.001), if it had an inconclusive penultimate test result (aOR: 2.84–3.89; p < 0.001), and with increasing time between tests (log-time; aOR: 1.23; p = 0.003). Animals were less likely to have VL if they were a dairy breed (aOR: 0.79; p = 0.015) or in an older age-class (e.g. age-quartile 2 vs. 4; aOR: 0.65; p < 0.001). Liver fluke or BVDV variables were not retained in either multivariable model as they were non-significantly associated with bTB-VL status (p > 0.1). Conclusions: Our results suggest that neither co-infection of liver fluke nor BVDV had a significant effect on the presence of VLs in this high-risk cohort. M. avium tuberculin reactors had a significantly increased risk of disclosing with a bTB lesion, which could be related to the impact of co-infection with M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) affecting the performance of the SICCT however further research in this area is required. Movements, test history, breed and age were important factors influencing confirmation in high-risk animals. ItemDevelopment of polymorphic markers in the immune gene complex loci of cattle(Elsevier, 2021-03-06) Bakshy, K.; Heimeier, D.; Schwartz, J.C.; Glass, E.J.; Wilkinson, S.; Skuce, Robin A.; Allen, Adrian; Young, J.; McClure, J.C.; Null, D.J.; Hammond, J.A.; Smith, T.P.L.; Bickhart, D.M.The addition of cattle health and immunity traits to genomic selection indices holds promise to increase individual animal longevity and productivity, and decrease economic losses from disease. However, highly variable genomic loci that contain multiple immune-related genes were poorly assembled in the first iterations of the cattle reference genome assembly and underrepresented during the development of most commercial genotyping platforms. As a consequence, there is a paucity of genetic markers within these loci that may track haplotypes related to disease susceptibility. By using hierarchical assembly of bacterial artificial chromosome inserts spanning 3 of these immune-related gene regions, we were able to assemble multiple full-length haplotypes of the major histocompatibility complex, the leukocyte receptor complex, and the natural killer cell complex. Using these new assemblies and the recently released ARS-UCD1.2 reference, we aligned whole-genome shotgun reads from 125 sequenced Holstein bulls to discover candidate variants for genetic marker development. We selected 124 SNPs, using heuristic and statistical models to develop a custom genotyping panel. In a proof-of-principle study, we used this custom panel to genotype 1,797 Holstein cows exposed to bovine tuberculosis (bTB) that were the subject of a previous GWAS study using the Illumina BovineHD array. Although we did not identify any significant association of bTB phenotypes with these new genetic markers, 2 markers exhibited substantial effects on bTB phenotypic prediction. The models and parameters trained in this study serve as a guide for future marker discovery surveys particularly in previously unassembled regions of the cattle genome. ItemDoes Mycobacterium tuberculosis var. bovis survival in the environment confound bovine tuberculosis control and eradication? A literature review(Hindawi, 2021-02-05) Allen, Adrian; Ford, Tom; Skuce, Robin A.Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is one of the globe’s most common, multihost zoonoses and results in substantial socioeconomic costs for governments, farming industries, and tax payers. Despite decades of surveillance and research, surprisingly, little is known about the exact mechanisms of transmission. In particular, as a facultative intracellular pathogen, to what extent does survival of the causative agent, Mycobacterium tuberculosis var. bovis (M. bovis), in the environment constitute an epidemiological risk for livestock and wildlife? Due largely to the classical pathology of cattle cases, the received wisdom was that bTB was spread by direct inhalation and exchange of bioaerosols containing droplets laden with bacteria. Other members of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) exhibit differing host ranges, an apparent capacity to persist in environmental fomites, and they favour a range of different transmission routes. It is possible, therefore, that infection from environmental sources of M. bovis could be a disease transmission risk. Recent evidence from GPS-collared cattle and badgers in Britain and Ireland suggests that direct transmission by infectious droplets or aerosols may not be the main mechanism for interspecies transmission, raising the possibility of indirect transmission involving a contaminated, shared environment. &e possibility that classical pulmonary TB can be simulated and recapitulated in laboratory animal models by ingestion of contaminated feed is a further intriguing indication of potential environmental risk. Livestock and wildlife are known to shedM. bovis onto pasture, soil, feedstuffs, water, and other fomites; field and laboratory studies have indicated that persistence is possible, but variable, under differing environmental conditions. Given the potential infection risk, it is timely to review the available evidence, experimental approaches, and methodologies that could be deployed to address this potential blind spot and control point. Although we focus on evidence from Western Europe, the concepts are widely applicable to other multihost bTB episystems. ItemEuropean badger (Meles meles) responses to low-intensity, selective culling: using mark recapture and relatedness data to assess social perturbation(Wiley, 2022-07-28) Allen, Adrian; Milne, Margaret Georgina; McCormick, Charles M.; Collins, Shane; O'Hagan, Maria; Skuce, Robin A.; Trimble, Nigel; Harwook, Roland; Menzies, Fraser; Byrne, Andrew W.Culling the main wildlife host of bovine tuberculosis in Great Britain (GB) and Ireland, the European badger (Meles meles), has been employed in both territories to reduce infections in cattle. In GB, this has been controversial, with results suggesting that culling induces disturbance to badger social structure, facilitating wider disease dissemination. Previous analyses hypothesized that even very low-level, selective culling may cause similar deleterious effects by increasing ranging of individuals and greater mixing between social groups. To assess this hypothesis, a novel, prospective, landscape-scale ‘before-and-after’ Test and Vaccinate or Remove (TVR) study was implemented. Test-positive badgers were culled and test-negative badgers were Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccinated and released. Mark–recapture metrics of badger ranging and genetic metrics of social group relatedness did not change significantly over the study period. However, selective culling was associated with a localized reduction in social group relatedness in culled groups. Ecological context is important; extrapolation across territories and other disease epidemiological systems (epi-systems) is likely to be challenging. However, we demonstrate that small-scale, selective removal of test-positive badgers was not associated with metrics of increased ranging but was associated with localized changes in social group relatedness. This adds to the evidence base on badger control options for policy makers. ItemEvidence for local and international spread of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis through whole genome sequencing of isolates from the island of Ireland(Elsevier, 2022-04-05) Perets, Viktor; Allen, Adrian; Crispell, Joseph; Cassidy, Sophie; O'Connor, Aoife; Farrell, Damien; Browne, John A.; O'Mahony, Jim; Skuce, Robin A.; Kenny, Kevin; Gordon, Stephen V.We describe application of whole genome sequencing (WGS) to a collection of 197 Mycobacterium avium subsp paratuberculosis (MAP) isolates gathered from 122 cattle herds across 27 counties of the island of Ireland. We compare WGS to MAP diversity quantified using mycobacterial interspersed random unit – variable number tandem repeats (MIRU-VNTR). While MIRU-VNTR showed only two major types, WGS could split the 197 isolates into eight major groups. We also found six isolates corresponding to INMV 13, a novel MIRU-VNTR type for Ireland. Evidence for dispersal of MAP across Ireland via cattle movement could be discerned from the data, with mixed infections present in several herds. Furthermore, comparisons of MAP WGS data from Ireland to data from Great Britain and continental Europe revealed many instances of close genetic similarity and hence evidence for international transmission of infection. BEAST MASCOT structured coalescent analyses, with relaxed and strict molecular clocks, estimated the substitution rate to be 0.10–0.13 SNPs/site/year and disclosed greater transitions per lineage per year from Europe to Ireland, indicating transmission into Ireland. Our work therefore reveals new insight into the seeding of MAP infection across Ireland, highlighting how WGS can inform policy formulation to ultimately control MAP transmission at local, national and international scales. ItemA new phylodynamic model of Mycobacterium bovis transmission in a multi-host system uncovers the role of the unobserved reservoir(Public Library of Science, 2021-06-25) O'Hare, Anthony; Balaz, Daniel; Wright, David M.; McCormick, Carl; McDowell, Stanley W.J.; Trewby, Hannah; Skuce, Robin A.; Kao, Rowland r.For single host pathogens, pathogen genetic data have been transformative for understanding the transmission and control of many diseases, particuarly rapidly evolving RNA viruses. However garnering similar insights where pathogens are multi-host is more challenging, particularly when the evolution of the pathogen is slower and pathogen sampling often heavily biased. This is the case for Mycobacterium bovis, the causative agent of bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) and for which the Eurasian badger plays an as yet poorly understood role in transmission and spread. Here we have developed a computational model that incorporates M. bovis genetic data from cattle only with a highly abstracted model of an unobserved reservoir. Our research shows that a model in which the reservoir does not contribute to pathogen diversity, but is a source of infection in spatially localised areas around each farm, better describes the patterns of outbreaks observed in a population-level sample of a single M. bovis genotype in Northern Ireland over a period of 15 years, compared to models in which either the reservoir has no role, disease spread is spatially extensive, or where they generate considerable diversity on their own. While this reservoir model is not explicitly a model of badgers, its characteristics are consistent with other data that would suggest a reservoir consisting of infected badgers that contribute substantially to cattle infection, but could not maintain disease on their own. ItemRelative abundance of Mycobacterium bovis molecular types in cattle: a simulation study of potential epidemiological drivers(BMC, 2017-08-22) Trewby, Hannah; Wright, David M.; Skuce, Robin A.; McCormick, Carl; Mallon, Thomas R.; Presho, Eleanor L.; Kao, Rowland R.; Haydon, Daniel T.; Biek, RomanBackground: The patterns of relative species abundance are commonly studied in ecology and epidemiology to provide insights into underlying dynamical processes. Molecular types (MVLA-types) of Mycobacterium bovis, the causal agent of bovine tuberculosis, are now routinely recorded in culture-confirmed bovine tuberculosis cases in Northern Ireland. In this study, we use ecological approaches and simulation modelling to investigate the distribution of relative abundances of MVLA-types and its potential drivers. We explore four biologically plausible hypotheses regarding the processes driving molecular type relative abundances: sampling and speciation; structuring of the pathogen population; historical changes in population size; and transmission heterogeneity (superspreading). Results: Northern Irish herd-level MVLA-type surveillance shows a right-skewed distribution of MVLA-types, with a small number of types present at very high frequencies and the majority of types very rare. We demonstrate that this skew is too extreme to be accounted for by simple neutral ecological processes. Simulation results indicate that the process of MVLA-type speciation and the manner in which the MVLA-typing loci were chosen in Northern Ireland cannot account for the observed skew. Similarly, we find that pathogen population structure, assuming for example a reservoir of infection in a separate host, would drive the relative abundance distribution in the opposite direction to that observed, generating more even abundances of molecular types. However, we find that historical increases in bovine tuberculosis prevalence and/or transmission heterogeneity (superspreading) are both capable of generating the skewed MVLA-type distribution, consistent with findings of previous work examining the distribution of molecular types in human tuberculosis. Conclusion: Although the distribution of MVLA-type abundances does not fit classical neutral predictions, our simulations show that increases in pathogen population size and/or superspreading are consistent with the pattern observed, even in the absence of selective pressures acting on the system. ItemVariation in Mycobacterium bovis genetic richness suggests that inwards cattle movements are a more important source of infection in beef herds than in dairy herds(BMC, 2019-07-05) Milne, Margaret Georgina; Graham, Jordan; Allen, Adrian; McCormick, C.; Presho, Eleanor L.; Skuce, Robin A.; Byrne, A.W.Background We used genetic Multi-Locus VNTR Analysis (MLVA) data gathered from surveillance efforts to better understand the ongoing bovine tuberculosis (bTB) epidemic in Northern Irish cattle herds. We modelled the factors associated with Mycobacterium bovis MLVA genotype richness at three analytical scales; breakdown level, herd level, and patch level, and compared the results between dairy and non-dairy production types. Results In 83% of breakdowns and in 63% of herds, a single MLVA genotype was isolated. Five or more MLVA genotypes were found in less than 3 % of herds. Herd size and the total number of reactors were important explanatory variables, suggesting that increasing MLVA genotype richness was positively related to increases in the number of host animals. Despite their smaller relative size, however, the highest MLVA genotype richness values were observed in non-dairy herds. Increasing inwards cattle movements were important positive predictors of MLVA genotype richness, but mainly in non-dairy settings. Conclusions The principal finding is that low MLVA genotype richness indicates that small-scale epidemics, e.g. wildlife, contiguous farms, and within-herd recrudescence, are important routes of M. bovis infection in cattle herds. We hypothesise that these mechanisms will maintain, but may not explicitly increase, MLVA genotype richness. The presence of elevated MLVA richness is relatively rare and likely indicates beef fattening enterprises, which purchase cattle from over long distances. Cattle movements were furthermore an important predictor of MLVA genotype richness in non-dairy herds, but not in dairy herds; this may represent reduced cattle purchasing levels in dairy enterprises, compared to beef. These observations allude to the relative contribution of different routes of bTB infection between production types; we posit that infection associated with local factors may be more evident in dairy herds than beef herds, however in beef herds, inwards movements offer additional opportunities for introducing M. bovis into the herd. ItemVariation in the Early Host-Pathogen Interaction of Bovine Macrophages with Divergent Mycobacterium bovis Strains in the United Kingdom(American Society for Microbiology, 2018-02-20) Jensen, Kirsty; Gallagher, Iain J.; Johnston, Nicholas; Welsh, Michael; Skuce, Robin A.; Williams, John L.; Glass, Elizabeth J. GlassBovine tuberculosis has been an escalating animal health issue in the United Kingdom since the 1980s, even though control policies have been in place for over 60 years. The importance of the genetics of the etiological agent, Mycobacterium bovis, in the reemergence of the disease has been largely overlooked. We compared the interaction between bovine monocyte-derived macrophages (bMDM) and two M. bovis strains, AF2122/97 and G18, representing distinct genotypes currently circulating in the United Kingdom. These M. bovis strains exhibited differences in survival and growth in bMDM. Although uptake was similar, the number of viable intracellular AF2122/97 organisms increased rapidly, while G18 growth was constrained for the first 24 h. AF2122/97 infection induced a greater transcriptional response by bMDM than G18 infection with respect to the number of differentially expressed genes and the fold changes measured. AF2122/97 infection induced more bMDM cell death, with characteristics of necrosis and apoptosis, more inflammasome activation, and a greater type I interferon response than G18. In conclusion, the two investigated M. bovis strains interact in significantly different ways with the host macrophage. In contrast to the relatively silent infection by G18, AF2122/97 induces greater signaling to attract other immune cells and induces host cell death, which may promote secondary infections of naive macrophages. These differences may affect early events in the host-pathogen interaction, including granuloma development, which could in turn alter the progression of the disease. Therefore, the potential involvement of M. bovis genotypes in the reemergence of bovine tuberculosis in the United Kingdom warrants further investigation.