In order to analyse the expression of the non-structural (ns) protein p80/p125 in cells infected with different pestiviruses at the protein level, radioimmunoprecipitations with the pestivirus-specific monoclonal antibody (MAb) BVD/C16 were performed. Cell lysates infected with cytopathic (cp) and non-cytopathic (ncp) bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) virus strains and isolates, and with hog cholera (HC) virus strains were analysed. From cpBVD virus-infected cells, the MAb precipitated one or more proteins corresponding to ns p125, displaying a marked size heterogeneity. In contrast, the lower ns p80 proteins from all cpBVD virus strains and isolates analysed had identical electrophoretic motility. The ncpBVD virus strains displayed either one single band or a doublet of the p125 protein and no p80 cleavage products. The p125 proteins precipitated from HC virus-infected cells showed no size heterogeneity. The possibility is discussed that multiple recombination events, including both insertions or deletions in the genomes of ncpBVD viruses, may lead to the heterogeneous expression of the ns p125 in cpBVD virus populations.


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