Serological responses against the pathogenic dimorphic fungus Mucor amphibiorum in populations of platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) with and without ulcerative dermatitis.

Richard Whittington, Joanne Connolly, David Obendorf, John Emmins, Thomas Grant, Kath Handasyde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Mucor amphibiorum, a dimorphic fungus, causes ulcerative dermatitis and systemic infections in the platypus Ornithorhynchus anatinus in some river systems in Tasmania but apparently not in other regions of Australia. As yet there are no suitable tests for population surveys, nor for detection of internal lesions in live animals. Consequently, immunoglobulins were purified from the serum of platypuses and anti-immunoglobulin antisera were prepared in rabbits in order to develop an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for anti-M. amphibiorum antibodies. Antigens from plate-grown cultures resulted in greater signal-to-noise ratios in indirect ELISA than those from broth-grown cultures. Platypuses with clinical ulcerative dermatitis had elevated anti-Mucor antibody levels compared to apparently unaffected individuals. Seroconversion was observed in one animal coincident with the development of cutaneous ulcers. The results suggested that platypuses in affected rivers were exposed to M. amphibiorum at a higher frequency than the occurrence of clinical disease. Some platypuses from New South Wales had elevated antibody levels but these increased significantly with age suggesting exposure to cross-reactive antigens, although exposure to M. amphibiorum cannot be excluded. Further studies are warranted to determine factors that result in progression from infection to disease, the occurrence of the fungus in areas where disease has not been observed and the specificity of antigen used in ELISA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-71
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Volume87
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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