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Open AccessArticle

A Novel Retrovirus (Gunnison’s Prairie Dog Retrovirus) Associated With Thymic Lymphoma in Gunnison’s Prairie Dogs in Colorado, USA

1
Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
2
Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife, Wildlife Health Laboratory, Fort Collins, CO 80521, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Viruses 2020, 12(6), 606; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12060606
Received: 8 May 2020 / Revised: 25 May 2020 / Accepted: 31 May 2020 / Published: 2 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Progress in Tumor Virology Research)
As part of research and wildlife disease surveillance efforts, we performed necropsy examinations of 125 free-ranging (n = 114) and captive (n = 11) prairie dogs in Colorado from 2009 to 2017. From these cases, we identified three cases of thymic lymphoma in free-ranging Gunnison’s prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni), and we identified a novel retroviral sequence associated with these tumors. The viral sequence is 7700 nucleotides in length and exhibits a genetic organization that is consistent with the characteristics of a type D betaretrovirus. The proposed name of this virus is Gunnison’s prairie dog retrovirus (GPDRV). We screened all 125 prairie dogs for the presence of GPDRV using PCR with envelope-specific primers and DNA extracted from spleen samples. Samples were from Gunnison’s prairie dogs (n = 59), black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) (n = 40), and white-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys leucurus) (n = 26). We identified GPDRV in a total of 7/125 (5.6%) samples including all three of the prairie dogs with thymic lymphoma, as well as spleen from an additional four Gunnison’s prairie dogs with no tumors recognized at necropsy. None of the GPDRV-negative Gunnison’s prairie dogs had thymic lymphomas. We also identified a related, apparently endogenous retroviral sequence in all prairie dog samples. These results suggest that GPDRV infection may lead to development of thymic lymphoma in Gunnison’s prairie dogs. View Full-Text
Keywords: Cynomys gunnisoni; endogenous retrovirus; prairie dog; retrovirus; thymic lymphoma; tumor; Yersinia pestis Cynomys gunnisoni; endogenous retrovirus; prairie dog; retrovirus; thymic lymphoma; tumor; Yersinia pestis
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MDPI and ACS Style

Butler, M.D.; Griffin, K.; Brewster, C.D.; Kapuscinski, M.L.; Stenglein, M.D.; Tripp, D.W.; Quackenbush, S.L.; Fox, K.A. A Novel Retrovirus (Gunnison’s Prairie Dog Retrovirus) Associated With Thymic Lymphoma in Gunnison’s Prairie Dogs in Colorado, USA. Viruses 2020, 12, 606. https://doi.org/10.3390/v12060606

AMA Style

Butler MD, Griffin K, Brewster CD, Kapuscinski ML, Stenglein MD, Tripp DW, Quackenbush SL, Fox KA. A Novel Retrovirus (Gunnison’s Prairie Dog Retrovirus) Associated With Thymic Lymphoma in Gunnison’s Prairie Dogs in Colorado, USA. Viruses. 2020; 12(6):606. https://doi.org/10.3390/v12060606

Chicago/Turabian Style

Butler, Molly D.; Griffin, Karen; Brewster, Connie D.; Kapuscinski, Marylee L.; Stenglein, Mark D.; Tripp, Daniel W.; Quackenbush, Sandra L.; Fox, Karen A. 2020. "A Novel Retrovirus (Gunnison’s Prairie Dog Retrovirus) Associated With Thymic Lymphoma in Gunnison’s Prairie Dogs in Colorado, USA" Viruses 12, no. 6: 606. https://doi.org/10.3390/v12060606

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