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
- Rare Glass Frogs Seen In The Bolivian Andes For First Time In 18 Yearson January 29, 2020 at 8:07 am
A teeny species of frog with a see-through belly has been spotted in Bolivia for the first time in 18 years. Earlier this month, a team of conservationists found three Bolivian Cochran frogs living in ...
- Chile's Loa water frogs on the verge of extinctionon January 29, 2020 at 12:18 am
The focus has shifted to encouraging the survivor’s to feed and reproduce in captivity, the frog’s last chance for survival Santiago: When Chilean scientists last year discovered 14 Loa water frogs ...
- Chilean scientists scramble to save last of desert frogs from extinctionon January 28, 2020 at 6:17 pm
When Chilean scientists last year discovered 14 Loa water frogs struggling to survive in a nearly dry river bed in the country's northern desert, the clock began ticking. The tiny, dark-spotted ...
- Manor’s Lemear commits to TCU, plans on being a ‘playmaker’ for Horned Frogson January 28, 2020 at 4:30 pm
TCU football landed its second commitment for the 2021 recruiting class on Tuesday night. Manor defensive back Devin Lemear announced his intentions to play for the Horned Frogs. Lemear is the first ...
- Bolivia’s Rare ‘Glass Frogs’ Seen for the First Time in Almost Two Decadeson January 28, 2020 at 10:20 am
Conservationists rediscovered the Bolivian Cochran frogs, more commonly known as “glass frogs” for their vitreous bellies that reveal their internal organs, on January 8 in the Carrasco National Park, ...
- TCU receiver Jalen Reagor shines one final time in a Horned Frogs uniformon January 28, 2020 at 3:00 am
Blacklock started all 12 games for the Horned Frogs in 2019, finishing with 40 tackles, including nine for loss and a team-leading 3 1/2 sacks. He also had three QB hurries. Blacklock was a first-team ...
- Rare 'Glass Frogs' With Transparent Stomachs Have Been Found in Bolivia for the First time in 18 Yearson January 28, 2020 at 2:42 am
Conservationists say they rediscovered a rare species of glass frog, the Bolivian Cochran frog, during a rescue mission in Carrasco National Park. The frog has not been seen in Bolivia for 18 years.
- Translucent frogs seen for first time in 18 yearson January 28, 2020 at 12:54 am
Conservationists spot three rare "glass frogs" in a Bolivian national park.
- Glass Frogs Reappear In Bolivia After 18 Yearson January 27, 2020 at 1:52 pm
A rare species of frog native to the eastern slopes of the Bolivian Andes has been spotted in the South American country for the first time in 18 years, the investigation team that made the discovery ...
- TCU 65, #18 Texas Tech 54: Frogs upend Red Raiders to stay perfect at homeon January 21, 2020 at 8:31 pm
Fort Worth, Texas - TCU upset #18 Texas Tech on Tuesday night 65-54, thanks to 27 points from senior Desmond Bane and an incredible defensive effort. In addition to Bane ’s 27 points he pulled down ...
via Bing News