The noncytopathic Australian bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) Trangie isolate was used to establish a one-step growth curve and to investigate previously uncharacterized aspects of pestivirus replication. The eclipse phase was found to be approximately 8 to 10 h and the first appearance of viral antigen assayed by immunofluorescence occurred around 6 h post-infection (p.i.). Both positive- and negative-sense virus RNAs were first detected at 4 h p.i. by Northern blot hybridization using strand-specific RNA probes generated by transcription from cDNA cloned from the NS3 region. The ratio of positive- to negative-sense virus RNA changed from 2:1 at 4 h p.i. to 10:1 at 12 h p.i. and thereafter. The kinetics of synthesis showed that the rate of synthesis of positive-strand viral RNA increased rapidly from 6 h p.i., whereas the rate of synthesis of the negative-strand remained constant. The copy number of genomic RNA determined by Northern blot hybridization analysis was estimated to be 1.5 × 10 copies per cell, 16 to 24 h p.i. Viral RNA species that were thought to represent replicative intermediate (RI) and replicative forms (RF) were detected after electrophoretic separation by urea-PAGE. Confirmation of the identity of the RI and RF was obtained using LiCl precipitation and RNase A digestion of [H]uridine-labelled RNA. Pulse-chase labelling of BVDV-infected cells was consistent with synthesis of nascent BVDV RNA through an RI derived by strand displacement from an RF template and thus the synthesis of BVDV RNA is likely to be similar to the model proposed for flavivirus replication.


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