A lentivirus has been isolated from a Finnish ewe with ovine progressive pneumonia in a closed upstate New York flock. We demonstrated that the virus, designated ovine lentivirus strain CU1 (OLV-CU1), is biologically, biochemically and molecularly related to, but distinct from, previously described sheep and goat lentiviruses. Nine of 32 ewes (from the affected flock) with precipitating antibodies for ovine lentivirus also produced antibodies that were able to neutralize the infectivity of OLV-CU1. The virus replicated in cultured sheep fibroblasts and caused the formation of large multi-nucleated cells. OLV-CU1-specific RNA transcripts found in infected cells and virion antigenic proteins were similar to those of other small ruminant lentiviruses. However, the virus was distinguished from other isolates at the DNA level by nucleic acid hybridization, restriction endonuclease mapping and partial sequencing of the virus genome.


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