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Are antimicrobial defences in bird eggs related to climatic conditions associated with risk of trans-shell microbial infection?

Horrocks, Nicholas P. C.; Hine, Kathryn; Hegemann, Arne LU ; Ndithia, Henry K.; Shobrak, Mohammed; Ostrowski, Stephane; Williams, Joseph B.; Matson, Kevin D. and Tieleman, B. Irene (2014) In Frontiers in Zoology 11.
Abstract
Introduction: All bird eggs are exposed to microbes in the environment, which if transmitted to the developing embryo, could cause hatching failure. However, the risk of trans-shell infection varies with environmental conditions and is higher for eggs laid in wetter environments. This might relate to generally higher microbial abundances and diversity in more humid environments, including on the surface of eggshells, as well as the need for moisture to facilitate microbial penetration of the eggshell. To protect against microbial infection, the albumen of avian eggs contains antimicrobial proteins, including lysozyme and ovotransferrin. We tested whether lysozyme and ovotransferrin activities varied in eggs of larks (Alaudidae) living... (More)
Introduction: All bird eggs are exposed to microbes in the environment, which if transmitted to the developing embryo, could cause hatching failure. However, the risk of trans-shell infection varies with environmental conditions and is higher for eggs laid in wetter environments. This might relate to generally higher microbial abundances and diversity in more humid environments, including on the surface of eggshells, as well as the need for moisture to facilitate microbial penetration of the eggshell. To protect against microbial infection, the albumen of avian eggs contains antimicrobial proteins, including lysozyme and ovotransferrin. We tested whether lysozyme and ovotransferrin activities varied in eggs of larks (Alaudidae) living along an arid-mesic gradient of environmental aridity, which we used as a proxy for risk of trans-shell infection. Results: Contrary to expectations, lysozyme activity was highest in eggs from hotter, more arid locations, where we predicted the risk of trans-shell infection would be lower. Ovotransferrin concentrations did not vary with climatic factors. Temperature was a much better predictor of antimicrobial protein activity than precipitation, a result inconsistent with studies stressing the importance of moisture for trans-shell infection. Conclusions: Our study raises interesting questions about the links between temperature and lysozyme activity in eggs, but we find no support for the hypothesis that antimicrobial protein deposition is higher in eggs laid in wetter environments. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Antimicrobial, Aridity, Humidity, Egg albumen, Lark, Lysozyme, Ovotransferrin
in
Frontiers in Zoology
volume
11
publisher
BioMed Central
external identifiers
  • wos:000339407400001
  • scopus:84903413527
ISSN
1742-9994
DOI
10.1186/1742-9994-11-49
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
42b4e449-cf3a-4405-8da8-0be8cfc266b3 (old id 4732021)
date added to LUP
2014-10-30 09:15:58
date last changed
2017-01-01 06:30:20
@article{42b4e449-cf3a-4405-8da8-0be8cfc266b3,
  abstract     = {Introduction: All bird eggs are exposed to microbes in the environment, which if transmitted to the developing embryo, could cause hatching failure. However, the risk of trans-shell infection varies with environmental conditions and is higher for eggs laid in wetter environments. This might relate to generally higher microbial abundances and diversity in more humid environments, including on the surface of eggshells, as well as the need for moisture to facilitate microbial penetration of the eggshell. To protect against microbial infection, the albumen of avian eggs contains antimicrobial proteins, including lysozyme and ovotransferrin. We tested whether lysozyme and ovotransferrin activities varied in eggs of larks (Alaudidae) living along an arid-mesic gradient of environmental aridity, which we used as a proxy for risk of trans-shell infection. Results: Contrary to expectations, lysozyme activity was highest in eggs from hotter, more arid locations, where we predicted the risk of trans-shell infection would be lower. Ovotransferrin concentrations did not vary with climatic factors. Temperature was a much better predictor of antimicrobial protein activity than precipitation, a result inconsistent with studies stressing the importance of moisture for trans-shell infection. Conclusions: Our study raises interesting questions about the links between temperature and lysozyme activity in eggs, but we find no support for the hypothesis that antimicrobial protein deposition is higher in eggs laid in wetter environments.},
  articleno    = {49},
  author       = {Horrocks, Nicholas P. C. and Hine, Kathryn and Hegemann, Arne and Ndithia, Henry K. and Shobrak, Mohammed and Ostrowski, Stephane and Williams, Joseph B. and Matson, Kevin D. and Tieleman, B. Irene},
  issn         = {1742-9994},
  keyword      = {Antimicrobial,Aridity,Humidity,Egg albumen,Lark,Lysozyme,Ovotransferrin},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {BioMed Central},
  series       = {Frontiers in Zoology},
  title        = {Are antimicrobial defences in bird eggs related to climatic conditions associated with risk of trans-shell microbial infection?},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1742-9994-11-49},
  volume       = {11},
  year         = {2014},
}