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Mutations in the mitochondrial DNA of cheetahs as possible causes for disease predisposition and neurological degenerations

Abstract
Mutations of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) as possible cause of disease predisposition and progressive neurodegenerative disease in the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)
The last potential self-sustaining cheetah populations in the wild are extremely threatened. The progress of ex situ conservation programmes is limited by the increasing incidence of neurological and multi-systemic diseases of unknown causes. Although there has been much effort taken
concerning diagnosis, the aetiology of this high disease prevalence in cheetahs remains unknown. These diseases show similarities with 'mitochondrial' diseases in humans, which are caused by mutations of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Due to dysfunction of the energy metabolism of the affected cells, these mutations result in degenerative disorders.
The target of this multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional project is to investigate whether mutations of the mtDNA occur and if they present a possible cause of the high diseases predisposition of this endangered species. Firstly the complete mtDNA of the cheetah will be sequenced and secondly pathological tissue samples will be screened for mtDNA mutations.
In addition to the importance of this project for further propagation of the captive cheetah population, animals with confirmed mtDNA mutations could be of great importance for further comparative basic-research in human medicine and for research into neurodegenerative diseases of unknown cause in domestic animals.
Coordination for vetmeduni vienna
Kübber-Heiss Anna
Duration
01.01.00-31.12.03
Type of Research
Basic research
Staff
Kübber-Heiss A.,
Vetmed Research Units
Institute of Pathology
Projekt partner
Contact: Dr. C. Walzer
Zoo Salzburg
Funded by
Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Dr. Ignaz Seipel-Platz 2, 1010 Wien, Austria
5 Publications

Shibly, S; Schmidt, P; Robert, N; Walzer, C; Url, A (2006): Immunohistochemical screening for viral agents in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) with myelopathy. Vet Rec. 2006; 159(17):557-561

Burger, PA; Steinborn, R; Walzer, C; Petit, T; Mueller, M; Schwarzenberger, F (2004): Analysis of the mitochondrial genome of cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) with neurodegenerative disease. Gene. 2004; 338(1):111-119

Kerschbaumer, P (2004): Analyse des mitochondrialen Genoms von Geparden (Acinonyx jubatus) mit einer neurodegenerativen Erkrankung. Dissertation, Vet. Med. Univ. Wien, pp. 57.

Kerschbaumer, P; Steinborn, R; Walzer, Ch; Müller, M; Schwarzenberger, F (2003): Mitochondrial DNA mutations as possible cause for disease predisposition and progressive neurodegenerative disease in the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus). Verhandlungsbericht des 41. Internationalen Symposiums über die Erkrankungen der Zoo- und Wildtiere, Rome, Italy, Italy, MAY 28 - JUN 01, 2003. Erkrankungen der Zootiere. Verhandlungsbericht des Internationalen Symposiums über die Erkrankungen der Zoo- und Wildtiere 7-9.

Kerschbaumer, P; Steinborn, R; Walzer, C; Müller, M; Schwarzenberger, F (2002): Mutationen der mitochondrialen DNA als mögliche Ursache für Krankheits-prädispostition und progressive neurodegenerative Erkrankungen bei Geparden (Acinonyx jubatus). 15. Tagung der Fachgruppe Physiologie und Biochemie der Deutschen Veterinärmedizinischen Gesellschaft, Wien, Austria, Austria, 27.2.-1.3.2002. 15. Tagung der Fachgruppe Physiologie und Biochemie der Deutschen Veterinärmedizinischen Gesellschaft, Wien, Austria, 27.2.-1.3.2002.

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