Bacteria living on the skin of frogs could save them from a deadly virus, new research suggests.
Ranavirus kills large numbers of European common frogs – the species most often seen in UK ponds – and is one of many threats facing amphibians worldwide.
Scientists from the University of Exeter and ZSL’s Institute of Zoology compared the bacteria living on frogs – known as their “microbiome” – from groups with varying history of ranavirus.
They found that populations with a history of outbreaks had a “distinct” skin microbiome when compared to those where no outbreaks had occurred.
“Whether a population of frogs becomes diseased might depend on the species of bacteria living on their skin,” said Dr Lewis Campbell.
“Ranavirus is widespread, but its presence in the environment doesn’t necessarily mean frogs become diseased – there appears to be some other factor that determines this.
“The skin is often the first infection point in ranavirus, and the first stage of the disease can be skin sores.
“It’s possible that the structure of a frog’s microbiome – the mix of bacteria on its skin – can inhibit the growth and spread of the virus so it can’t reach a level that causes disease.
“While the results of our study demonstrate a clear link between the frog skin microbiome and disease, further research will be need to understand the exact mechanisms which cause this relationship to form.”
Laboratory trials will help establish whether a history of ranavirus infection causes the microbiome differences, or whether these are pre-existing differences that predispose some populations to infection.
The scientists tested the skin bacteria of more than 200 wild adult European common frogs (Rana temporaria) from ten populations.
They found that the microbiome of individual frogs is usually most similar to that of others in the same population (those living in the same geographical area), but that populations with the same disease history were more similar to each other than to populations of the opposite disease history.
Even though amphibians can partially “curate” their microbiome by producing proteins that benefit specific bacteria, they are limited to those bacteria which are available in their environment.
Ranavirus can wipe out entire common frog populations and, though the new findings need further investigation, the researchers hope their work could help the species.
Dr Xavier Harrison said: “There’s growing evidence that skin bacteria may protect amphibians from lethal pathogens such as chytrid fungus, and that we can develop cocktails of probiotic bacteria to prevent vulnerable individuals from contracting disease.
“Our work suggests that given enough effort and research, similar probiotic therapies may be effective against ranavirus.”
Learn more: Skin bacteria could save frogs from virus
The Latest on: Frogs
via Google News
The Latest on: Frogs
- Red Raiders, Horned Frogs set for 25th matchupon October 17, 2019 at 3:41 pm
The first game between the Red Raiders and the Horned Frogs dates back to Sept. 15, 1994 where the two teams tied 1-1 for the first out of four ties in the 25-year history, according to Tech Athletics ...
- TCU prediction: Will the Horned Frogs outlast Kansas State?on October 17, 2019 at 3:00 pm
What’s on the line? Both of these schools were embarrassed in their last outings. TCU lost 49-24 to Iowa State and Kansas State fell 31-12 at home to Baylor. But the Horned Frogs and Wildcats each had ...
- Video: Why these blue poison dart frogs aren't so scaryon October 17, 2019 at 3:30 am
Jeff the Nature Guy introduces some new blue poison dart frogs at ZooMontana, and explains why they aren't as dangerous as their wild relatives.
- He ended spring ball as TCU’s third-string RB. Now Darius Anderson is the Frogs’ MVPon October 17, 2019 at 2:00 am
He’s been the best player for the Frogs, rushing for 532 yards and six touchdowns through the first five games. Anderson is certainly on Kansas State’s radar going into Saturday’s game in Manhattan, ...
- These endangered red-legged frogs managed to survive Woolsey fire destruction, survey showson October 16, 2019 at 6:20 pm
National Park Service scientists say that some 28 adult red-legged frogs survived the Woolsey fire and subsequent mudslides in the Santa Monica Mountains, an encouraging discovery in their efforts to ...
- TCU’s Desmond Bane sees good things ahead for Frogson October 16, 2019 at 1:35 pm
TCU senior guard Desmond Bane has been named to the preseason All-Big 12 team. He is the Frogs' leading scorer from last season.
- First widespread chytrid fungus infections in frogs of Peruvian Amazon rain forestson October 16, 2019 at 11:04 am
University of Michigan biologists have documented, for the first time, the widespread presence of the notorious chytrid fungus in 80 species of frogs from lowland rain forest sites in the Peruvian ...
- Texas Longhorns @ TCU Horned Frogs kickoff time announcedon October 14, 2019 at 3:27 pm
The official kickoff times for week nine Big 12 games have been revealed. In week nine, the Texas Longhorns are set to travel up to Fort Worth, TX to face the TCU Horned Frogs. The game has been ...
- K-State Wildcats vs. TCU Horned Frogs: Kickoff time, TV, line, five things to knowon October 14, 2019 at 8:54 am
The Kansas State Wildcats will look to end a two-game losing streak and pick up their first conference victory of the season against the TCU Horned Frogs at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday at Bill Snyder Family ...
- Frogs fall to #1 Bears in straight setson October 12, 2019 at 4:31 pm
The 6-8 TCU Volleyball team took on the 14-0 Baylor team today at home. The Frogs were coming off a close win over conference competitor, Texas Tech. Since 1996 the Horned Frogs have gone 7-14 against ...
via Bing News