A pilot study investigating the dynamics of pigeon circovirus recombination in domesticated pigeons housed in a single loft

Anthony Khalifeh, Simona Kraberger, Daria Dziewulska, Arvind Varsani, Tomasz Stenzel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Pigeon circovirus (PiCV) infects pigeon populations worldwide and has been associated with immunosuppression in younger pigeons. Recombination is a common mechanism of evolution that has previously been shown in various members of the Circoviridae family, including PiCV. In this study, three groups of pigeons acquired from separate lofts were screened for PiCV, and their genome sequence was determined. Following this, they were housed in a single loft for 22 days, during which blood and cloacal swab samples were taken. From these blood and cloacal swabs, PiCV genomes were determined with the aim to study the spread and recombination dynamics of PiCV in the birds. Genome sequences of PiCV were determined from seven pigeons (seven tested PiCV positive) before they were housed together in a loft (n = 58 sequences) and thereafter from the ten pigeons from blood and cloacal swabs (n = 120). These 178 PiCV genome sequences represent seven genotypes (98% pairwise identity genotype demarcation), and they share >88% genome-wide pairwise identity. Recombination analysis revealed 13 recombination events, and a recombination hotspot spanning the 3′ prime region, the replication-associated protein (rep) gene and the intergenic region. A cold spot in the capsid protein-coding region of the genome was also identified. The majority of the recombinant regions were identified in the rep coding region. This study provides insights into the evolutionary dynamics of PiCV in pigeons kept under closed rearing systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number964
JournalViruses
Volume13
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Keywords

  • Evolution
  • Genome
  • One loft
  • Pigeon circovirus
  • Pigeons
  • Recombination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology

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