New Discoveries Expected to Lead to New Approaches to Prevent Brachyspira Associated Diarrhea

Farmscape for January 5, 2022

Full Interview 18:15 Listen

Researchers with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine are hopeful that the discovery of a specific protein that appears to influence the severity of Brachyspira associated diarrhea will lead to new methods for prevention. Brachyspira is a common bacteria found in several livestock species, certain strains of which can cause symptoms in pigs ranging from mild diarrhea to severe mucosal hemorrhagic dysentery. Researchers with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine have identified the TlyA protein as one of the factors that plays a role in the severity of Brachyspira associated diarrhea. Dr. Matt Loewen, an Associate Professor in Veterinary Medical Biosciences with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, explains researchers have found certain mutations within this particular protein will reduce the virulence of the strain that contains it.

Clip-Dr. Matt Loewen-Western College of Veterinary Medicine: Now that we know that there’s all these associations, we’re trying to understand how this protein interacts with the pig. Once we understand that works, there’s probably a receptor or some mechanism that allows this protein to interact with the epithelium. Once we understand that, for instance if it’s a receptor, you can think of a receptor as sort of a lock and key mechanism. Once we know what the lock is, we can suggest a breeding program that would change that lock making the animal not susceptible or less susceptible. Once we understand how TlyA interacts with the cell, there’s lots of variability in these receptors and probably if you look through all of the genomics for the current industry pigs that are out there and the breeding programs, you can probably find animals that have mutations within that receptor that you could then move into the breeding program.
Then the lock or the receptor is changed in a way that Bracyspira, the TlyA protein can’t interact with it, then the animals aren’t going to develop the disease, the bacteria won’t colonise the colon and you won’t have any of this production loss.

Dr. Loewen says we really need to understand where and how TlyA is interacting with the animal and that’s what researchers are focussing on right now.
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Bruce Cochrane.

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