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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Endemic Poultry Viral Diseases Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #310410

Research Project: Intervention Strategies to Control and Prevent Enteric Viral Diseases of Poultry

Location: Endemic Poultry Viral Diseases Research

Title: Investigating turkey enteric picornavirus and its association with enteric disease in poults

Author
item Day, James
item Zsak, Laszlo

Submitted to: Avian Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/23/2014
Publication Date: 1/2/2015
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/61308
Citation: Day, J.M., Zsak, L. 2015. Investigating turkey enteric picornavirus and its association with enteric disease in poults. Avian Diseases. 59(1):138-142. doi: 10.1637/10940-092414-RegR.

Interpretive Summary: Our previous research into the dynamic viral community in the turkey gastrointestinal tract revealed a number of novel enteric viruses. Of particular note in this previous metagenomic investigation was the observation of a number of novel avian enteric picornaviruses, in addition to numerous other known, novel, and minimally described ribonucleic acid (RNA) viruses. It is evident that the poultry gut viral community remains only partially described and is incompletely understood. The present investigation was undertaken to produce a comparative analysis of the gut viruses from a healthy turkey flock versus a commercial flock placed in the field. This investigation revealed a number of picornavirus sequences that were present in the commercial birds in the field and that were completely absent in the healthy flock. Further, a molecular assay was developed targeting the turkey intestinal picornaviruses. This assay was used to track the shedding of field strains of turkey enteric picornavirus in commercial poults inoculated with picornavirus-positive intestinal homogenates prepared from turkeys (Arkansas, United States) that were experiencing moderate intestinal disease. Our attempt to propagate this novel enteric picornavirus in commercial poults resulted in significant reduction in weight gain over the course of the experiment, and suggests that this common inhabitant of the turkey gut may result in performance problems and intestinal disease on farms.

Technical Abstract: Our previous research into the dynamic viral community in the turkey gastrointestinal tract revealed a number of novel enteric viruses. Of particular note in this previous metagenomic investigation was the observation of a number of novel avian enteric picornaviruses, in addition to numerous other known, novel, and minimally described ribonucleic acid (RNA) viruses. It is evident that the poultry gut viral community remains only partially described and is incompletely understood. Subsequent investigations into the microbiome of the poultry gut have added to the knowledge regarding the geographical distribution and the rapidly evolving taxonomy of the avian enteric picornaviruses. The present investigation was undertaken to produce a comparative metagenomic analysis of the gut virome from a healthy turkey flock versus a flock placed in the field. This investigation revealed a number of enteric picornavirus sequences that were present in the commercial birds in the field—the birds in the commercial flock did not perform as well as the healthy flock—that were completely absent in the healthy flock. Further, a molecular assay was developed targeting the turkey enteric picornavirus polymerase sequence. This assay was used to track the shedding of field strains of turkey enteric picornavirus in commercial poults inoculated with picornavirus-positive intestinal homogenates prepared from turkeys (Arkansas, United States) that were experiencing moderate enteric disease. Our attempt to propagate this novel enteric picornavirus in commercial poults resulted in significant reduction in weight gain over the course of the experiment, and suggests that this common inhabitant of the turkey gut may result in performance problems and enteric disease in the field.