Population genetics as a tool to elucidate pathogen reservoirs: Lessons from Pseudogymnoascus destructans , the causative agent of White‐Nose disease in bats - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Molecular Ecology Year : 2022

Population genetics as a tool to elucidate pathogen reservoirs: Lessons from Pseudogymnoascus destructans , the causative agent of White‐Nose disease in bats

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Abstract

Emerging infectious diseases pose a major threat to human, animal, and plant health. The risk of species-extinctions increases when pathogens can survive in the absence of the host. Environmental reservoirs can facilitate this. However, identifying such reservoirs and modes of infection is often highly challenging. In this study, we investigated the presence and nature of an environmental reservoir for the ascomycete fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the causative agent of White-Nose disease. Using 18 microsatellite markers, we determined the genotypic differentiation between 1497 P. destructans isolates collected from nine closely situated underground sites where bats hibernate (i.e., hibernacula) in Northeastern Germany. This approach was unique in that it ensured that every isolate and resulting multilocus genotype was not only present, but also viable and therefore theoretically capable of infecting a bat. The distinct distribution of multilocus genotypes across hibernacula demonstrates that each hibernaculum has an essentially unique fungal population. This would be expected if bats become infected in their hibernaculum (i.e., the site they spend winter in to hibernate) rather than in other sites visited before they start hibernating. In one hibernaculum, both the walls and the hibernating bats were sampled at regular intervals over five consecutive winter seasons (1062 isolates), revealing higher genotypic richness on walls compared to bats and a stable frequency of multilocus genotypes over multiple winters. This clearly implicates hibernacula walls as the main environmental reservoir of the pathogen, from which bats become reinfected annually during the autumn.
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Origin : Publication funded by an institution

Dates and versions

hal-03800344 , version 1 (06-10-2022)

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Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivatives - CC BY 4.0

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Cite

Nicola M. Fischer, Andrea Altewischer, Surendra Ranpal, Serena Dool, Gerald Kerth, et al.. Population genetics as a tool to elucidate pathogen reservoirs: Lessons from Pseudogymnoascus destructans , the causative agent of White‐Nose disease in bats. Molecular Ecology, 2022, 31 (2), pp.675-690. ⟨10.1111/mec.16249⟩. ⟨hal-03800344⟩
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