In vitro-generated interspecific recombinants between bovine herpesviruses 1 and 5 show attenuated replication characteristics and establish latency in the natural host

Del Medico Zajac, Maria P.; Romera, Sonia A.; Ladelfa, María F.; Kotsias, Fiorella; Delgado, Fernando; Thiry, Julien; Meurens, François; Keil, Günther; Thiry, Etienne; Muylkens, Benoît
January 2011
BMC Veterinary Research;2011, Vol. 7 Issue 1, p19
Academic Journal
Background: Interspecific recombinant viruses R1ΔgC and R2ΔgI were isolated after in vitro co-infection with BoHV-1 and BoHV-5, two closely related alphaherpesviruses that infect cattle. The genetic characterization of R1?gC and R2?gI showed that they are composed of different sections of the parental genomes. The aim of this study was the characterization of the in vivo behavior of these recombinants in the natural host. Results: Four groups of four 3-month-old calves of both genders were intranasally inoculated with either the recombinant or parental viruses. A control group of two animals was also included. Viral excretion and clinical signs were monitored after infection. Histopathological examination of the central nervous system (CNS) was performed and the establishment of latency in trigeminal ganglia was analyzed by PCR. The humoral response was also evaluated using ELISA tests. Three out of four animals from the BoHV-5 infected group excreted virus for 4-10 days. Two calves shed R1ΔgC virus for one day. In R2ΔgI and BoHV-1.2ΔgC?gI groups, infectious virus was isolated only after two or three blind passages. None of the infected animals developed neurological signs, although those infected with BoHV-5 showed histopathological evidence of viral infection. Latent viral DNA was detected in at least one calf from each infected group. Serum and/or mucosal antibodies were detected in all groups. Conclusion: Both BoHV-1/-5 recombinants and the BoHV-1 parental strain are attenuated in calves, although they are able to replicate in animals at low rates and to establish latent infections.


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