A reverse genetics system for Borna disease virus

J Gen Virol. 2003 Nov;84(Pt 11):3099-3104. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.19467-0.


Borna disease virus (BDV) is an enveloped virus. Its non-segmented, negative-stranded RNA genome has the coding capability for six main polypeptides and has an organization characteristic of members of the order Mononegavirales. However, based on its unique genetics and biological features, BDV is considered to be the prototypic member of a new virus family, Bornaviridae. Here, the establishment of a reverse genetics system for BDV is described. Intracellular synthesis of a BDV RNA analogue or minigenome (MG) from a plasmid was driven by RNA polymerase I. Co-transfection with plasmids expressing the BDV polymerase (L), nucleoprotein (N) and phosphoprotein (P) under the control of RNA polymerase II allowed for BDV MG replication and expression. This process depended on a delicate N:P ratio, whereas the L:P ratio was less critical. Two isoforms of N, Np40 and Np38, are present in BDV-infected cells but only Np40 was strictly required for virus polymerase activity. BDV p10 polypeptide encoded by the P gene exhibited a strong inhibitory effect on BDV MG expression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Borna disease virus / genetics*
  • Cell Line
  • Cricetinae
  • Genome, Viral
  • RNA, Viral / biosynthesis
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Viral Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Structural Proteins / genetics
  • Virus Replication


  • 38 KDa protein, Borna disease virus
  • RNA, Viral
  • Viral Proteins
  • Viral Structural Proteins
  • p10 protein, Borna disease virus
  • p40 protein, Borna disease virus