U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Main content area

A new atypical genotype mouse virulent strain of Toxoplasma gondii isolated from the heart of a wild caught puma (Felis concolor) from Durango, Mexico

J.P. Dubey, C. Alvarado-Esquivel, V.H. Herrera-Valenzuela, J.J. Ortiz-Diaz, S. Oliveira, S.K. Verma, S. Choudhary, O.C.H. Kwok, C. Su
Veterinary parasitology 2013 v.197 no.3-4 pp. 674-677
interferon-gamma, agglutination tests, Puma concolor, necropsy, lungs, heart, zoos, DNA, brain, genotype, wild animals, tachyzoites, oocysts, cats, cell culture, mice, pathogenicity, toxoplasmosis, Toxoplasma gondii, mortality, wildlife, gene targeting, genetic variation, Mexico
Nothing is known of the genetic diversity of Toxoplasma gondii circulating in wildlife in Mexico. In the present study, a mouse virulent T. gondii strain was isolated from the heart of a wild puma (Felis concolor). The puma was found roaming in outskirt of Durango City, Mexico and tranquilized for moving to a zoo. The puma died during translocation and a necropsy examination was performed. The puma had an antibody titer for T. gondii of 200 by the modified agglutination test. Its heart and brain tissue were bioassayed into 2 outbred Swiss Webster (SW) and 1 gamma interferon gene knockout (KO) mouse. The KO mouse and the 2 SW mice that became infected after inoculation with homogenate of puma heart died of acute toxoplasmosis 12, 19 and 20 days p.i. respectively and tachyzoites were found in lungs of all 3 mice. None of the 4 SW and 1 KO mouse inoculated with digest of the puma brain became infected with T. gondii. Tachyzoites from the lungs of mice were propagated in cell cultures. Tachyzoites from cell culture were inoculated into 5 SW; the mice died or had to be killed 14 days p.i. and a cat fed tissues of these mice shed T. gondii oocysts. Results of mortality and infectivity of tachyzoites and oocysts in SW mice indicated that the puma T. gondii strain (designated TgPumaMe1) was virulent for outbred mice. DNA isolated from culture-derived tachyzoites was characterized using 11 PCR-RFLP markers (SAG1, 5′- and 3′-SAG2, alt.SAG2, SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, c29-2, L358, PK1 and Apico) revealed a new genotype (ToxoDB PCR-RFLP #222). Isolation of atypical genotype T. gondii from wild puma indicates that mouse virulent strains are circulating in wildlife in Mexico.