Publication details

Biology of Murine Cytomegalovirus Infection in the European House Mouse Hybrid Zone



Year of publication 2017
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
Description Murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) is an enveloped dsDNA virus (family Herpesviridae) whose host species is the house mouse. MCMV occurs in relatively high prevalence and produces persistent asymptomatic or latent infections in its host. MCMV ecology and pathogenesis are well described, but in most cases studies are conducted on laboratory mouse strains. Two taxa of house mice, Mus musculus musculus (Mmm) and Mus musculus domesticus (Mmd) meet and hybridize along a 2500 km long front streching from Scandinavia to the Black Sea. At this front the taxa form a narrow hybrid zone (the house mouse hybrid zone, HMHZ). The two mouse taxa have been shown to harbour different MCMV strains that have likely co-diverged with their hosts. The goal of our study was to investigate the biology of MCMV infections in wild mice and how the viral load change across the host hybrid zone. MCMV load was measured by specific real-time PCR in different organs (lungs, kidneys, spleen and salivary glands) in 60 individuals (30 Mmm and 30 Mmd) sampled in 2014 across the Bavarian-Bohemian region of the HMHZ. Viral load was higher in salivary glands compare to the 3 other organs in both mouse taxa in line with the pattern of infection found in laboratory mice. Mmd showed higher MCMV load compare to Mmm. This result likely reflects the co-adaptation of each MCMV strains for its mouse taxon.

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