Identification of Chelonid herpesvirus 5 (ChHV5) in endangered green turtles (Chelonia mydas) with fibropapillomatosis in Asia

Bulletin of Marine Science
By: , and 

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Abstract

Fibropapillomatosis (FP), a debilitating tumor disease of sea turtles, was first identified in green turtles [Chelonia mydas (Linnaeus, 1758)] in Florida in 1938. In recent decades, FP has been observed globally and is an emerging panzootic disease in sea turtles. However, few reports of FP in Asia exist. Here, we provide the first evidence of Chelonid herpesvirus 5 (ChHV5) DNA associated with FP in endangered green turtles from Taiwan, through molecular characterization, phylogenetic analysis, and histopathological examination. In our study, ChHV5 was successfully detected by PCR in the FP tumor lesions of green turtles. The sequences were found to be consistent with those of tumor-inducing viruses shown to affect sea turtles in the other parts of the world. ChHV5 RNA from the FP tissues was further detected by RT-PCR, indicating active replication of the viruses inside FP tumors. In addition to the molecular evidence of ChHV5 in FP, epidermal intranuclear inclusions were identified in tumor lesions upon histopathological examination. This further suggests that ChHV5 should be in a transcriptionally active (i.e., non-latent) state in FP tumors of affected green turtles. The phylogenetic tree revealed that ChHV5 from the green turtles in Taiwan were closest to the ChHV5 from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Sao Tome. For conservation of endangered sea turtles, ChHV5 should be considered an emerging virus, which threatens sea turtles in marine waters in Asia.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Identification of Chelonid herpesvirus 5 (ChHV5) in endangered green turtles (Chelonia mydas) with fibropapillomatosis in Asia
Series title Bulletin of Marine Science
DOI 10.5343/bms.2017.1018
Volume 93
Issue 4
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher University of Miami - Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
Contributing office(s) National Wildlife Health Center
Description 12 p.
First page 1011
Last page 1022