Schountz, William A.

Committee Member

Pulos, Steven M.

Committee Member

Keenan, Susan M.

Committee Member

Adams, Rick A. (Rick Alan)


Biological Science


University of Northern Colorado

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Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created





142 pages

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Born digital


Virtually nothing is known about the immunology and virus-host interactions of bats (order Chiroptera). The discovery of bats as reservoirs or potential reservoirs of many important human and veterinary pathogens such as ebolaviruses and Nipah and Hendra viruses, has recently sparked an interest in bat immunology. Bats may become persistently infected with viruses without signs of pathology, while human infections often lead to severe disease and death. It is unknown how this type of virus-host interaction is established in bats. This project began to examine the immune systems and virus-host interactions in two species of bats. Tacaribe virus was isolated from two species of Artibeus bats in the early 1960s and belongs to a group of arenaviruses that cause the South American hemorrhagic fevers. Tacaribe virus is not known to cause natural human infections. It would be highly unusual for Tacaribe virus to be hosted by Artibeus bats, as it would be the only arenavirus, for which the host is known, that does not have a rodent host. Discovery of the specific immune characteristics that allow bats to become persistently infected with many pathogens may offer medically important information for the treatment of human infections. Cytokine genes from Seba's short-tailed fruit bat (Carollia perspicillata), were cloned, sequenced, and compared to orthologous mammalian sequences. It was hypothesized that bat cytokine genes are similar to the cytokine genes of other mammals. Jamaican fruit bats (Artibeus jamaicensis) were experimentally infected with Tacaribe virus and it was hypothesized that they would become persistently infected; however, this did not occur. These results indicate that bat cytokine genes are highly conserved with respect to other mammalian cytokine sequences, and that Jamaican fruit bats do not become persistently infected with Tacaribe virus.


Full text released from 2-year embargo in August 2013.

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