1887

Abstract

The identification of specific genetic changes associated with differences in the pathogenicity of Marek's disease virus strains (GaHV-2) has been a formidable task due to the large number of mutations in mixed-genotype populations within DNA preparations. Very virulent UK isolate C12/130 induces extensive lymphoid atrophy, neurological manifestations and early mortality in young birds. We have recently reported the construction of several independent full-length bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones of C12/130 capable of generating fully infectious viruses with significant differences in their pathogenicity profiles. Two of these clones (vC12/130-10 and vC12/130-15), which showed differences in virulence relative to each other and to the parental strain, had similar replication kinetics both and in spite of the fact that vC12/130-15 was attenuated. To investigate the possible reasons for this, the nucleotide sequences of both clones were determined. Sequence analysis of the two genomes identified mutations within eight genes. A single 494 bp insertion was identified within the genome of the virulent vC12/130-10 clone. Seven non-synonymous substitutions distinguished virulent vC12/130-10 from that of attenuated vC12/130-15. By sequencing regions of parental DNA that differed between the two BAC clones, we confirmed that C12/130 does contain these mutations in varying proportions. Since the individual reconstituted BAC clones were functionally attenuated and derived from a single DNA source of phenotypically very virulent C12/130, this suggests that the C12/130 virus population exists as a collection of mixed genotypes.

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2011-07-01
2021-10-21
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