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Development of a hyena immunology toolbox
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-18, 12:47 authored by Andrew FliesAndrew Flies, Grant, CK, Mansfield, LS, Smith, EJ, Weldele, ML, Holekamp, KE
Animals that hunt and scavenge are often exposed to a broad array of pathogens. Theory predicts the immune systems of animals specialized for scavenging should have been molded by selective pressures associated with surviving microbial assaults from their food. Spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) are capable hunters that have recently descended from carrion feeding ancestors. Hyenas have been documented to survive anthrax and rabies infections, and outbreaks of several other viral diseases that decimated populations of sympatric carnivores. In light of the extreme disease resistance manifested by spotted hyenas, our objective was to identify tools available for studying immune function in spotted hyenas and use these tools to document the hyena antibody response to immunization. Domestic cats (Felis catus) are the closest phylogenetic relatives of hyenas that have been studied in detail immunologically, and we hypothesized that anti-cat isotype-specific antibodies would cross react with hyena immunoglobulin epitopes. We used ELISA and Western blots to testisotype-specific anti-feline antibodies for specific cross-reaction to hyena Ig epitopes. Molecular weights of heavy (IgA, IgG, IgM) and light chains of hyena immunoglobulins were determined by protein electrophoresis, and as expected, they were found to be similar to feline immunoglobulins. In order to further validate the cross-reactivity of the anti-feline antibodies and document the hyena humoral response, eight spotted hyenas were immunized with dinitrophenol conjugated keyhole limpet hemocyanin (DNP-KLH) and serum anti-DNP responses were monitored by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for one year. The full array of isotype-specific antibodies identified here will allow veterinarians and other researchers to thoroughly investigate the hyena antibody response, and can be used in future studies to test hypotheses about pathogen exposure and immune function in this species.
Publication titleVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology: An International Journal of Comparative Immunology
Department/SchoolMenzies Institute for Medical Research
PublisherElsevier Science Bv
Place of publicationNetherlands
Rights statementCopyright 2011 Elsevier B.V.