1887

Abstract

A major molecular determinant of virus host-range is thought to be the viral protein required for cell attachment. We used a recombinant strain of (RPV) to examine the role of this protein in determining the ability of RPV to replicate in rabbits. The recombinant was based on the RBOK vaccine strain, which is avirulent in rabbits, carrying the haemagglutinin (H) protein gene from the lapinized RPV (RPV-L) strain, which is pathogenic in rabbits. The recombinant virus (rRPV-lapH) was rescued from a cDNA of the RBOK strain in which the H gene was replaced with that from the RPV-L strain. The recombinant grew at a rate equivalent to the RPV-RBOK parental virus in B95a cells but at a lower rate than RPV-L. The H gene swap did not affect the ability of the RBOK virus to act as a vaccine to protect cattle against virulent RPV challenge. Rabbits inoculated with RPV-L became feverish, showed a decrease in body weight gain and leukopenia. High virus titres and histopathological lesions in the lymphoid tissues were also observed. Clinical signs of infection were never observed in rabbits inoculated with either RPV-RBOK or with rRPV-lapH; however, unlike RPV-RBOK, both RPV-L and rRPV-lapH induced a marked antibody response in rabbits. Therefore, the H protein plays an important role in allowing infection to occur in rabbits but other viral proteins are clearly required for full RPV pathogenicity to be manifest in this species.

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2002-06-01
2020-01-23
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