Prevalence of novel, emerging hepatitis viruses in wild white suckers and their association with liver tumors in the Great Lakes region

Science Center Objects

Prevalence of novel, emerging hepatitis viruses in wild white suckers and their association with liver tumors in the Great Lakes region

Previously unknown viruses have been identified that infect the white sucker (Catostomus commersoni). Some of these viruses infect the liver, and related viruses are known to cause hepatitis and liver cancer in other animals. It is not clear if this virus has a significant role in disease. The white sucker is commonly used as a bioindicator species for environmental heath assessments associated with aquatic habitats impaired by contaminants. Here we develop molecular tools to better understand the disease ecology of these novel viruses and investigate their associated with liver disease. In addition, this work assesses the host response to viral infection.

OBJECTIVES: 

  1. Develop complete genome sequencing methods for the identification and evaluation of genotypes of the WSHBV
  2. Develop quantitative PCR methods to screen for the presence of hepatitis viruses in plasma.
  3. Evaluate the host-immune molecular response using novel nCounter SPRINT digital gene expression technology.
  4. Analysis of virus prevalence, genotype, and tumor frequency to determine the association of hepatitis viruses and liver tumors.

References:

Hahn, CM, L.R. Iwanowicz, R.S. Cornman, C.M. Conway, J.R. Winton, and V.S. Blazer, (2015) Characterization of a Novel Hepadnavirus in the White Sucker (Catostomus commersonii) from the Great Lakes Region of the USA. Journal of Virology. 89: 11801-11811. [REF

FHL extracts DNR n RNA

A USGS scientist extracts DNA and RNA from white sucker liver tissue.

(Credit: Luke R. Iwanowicz, USGS Leetown Science Center. Public domain.)

 

NFRHL Photo Cassidy Hahn

A USGS scientist collecting a liver tissue sample from a wild-caught white sucker (Catostomus commersonii) from a river in the Great Lakes area.  Photo credit:  Patricia M. Mazik, USGS

(Public domain.)

Transmission electron micrographs of complete hepatitis B viral particles.

White sucker hepadnavirus particles are approximately 40 nanometers in diameter, and in the lower right corner of the images is a 100 nanometers scale bar. Modified from figure 7 of Hahn and others, 2015

(Credit: James Driver, University of Montana. Public domain.)