Development of real-time polymerase chain reaction assays for rapid detection and differentiation of wild-type pseudorabies and gene-deleted vaccine viruses

J Vet Diagn Invest. 2008 Jul;20(4):440-7. doi: 10.1177/104063870802000405.


The successful eradication of pseudorabies in U.S. domestic swine was accomplished through the use of glycoprotein E (gE) deleted modified live virus vaccines and an accompanying gE differential enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Yet, pseudorabies virus (PRV) was established in feral swine in the United States, becoming a potential reservoir of PRV for infection of domestic swine and other native wildlife. A critical need for the current PRV surveillance program in the United States is the rapid detection of PRV infection. For this reason, a set of 2 real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays by using TaqMan chemistry was developed and evaluated for their capability in the detection and differentiation of field and vaccine strains of PRV. PCR primers and probes were designed for gB and gE genes of PRV, respectively. The newly developed PRV-specific real-time PCR assays could detect all wild-type PRV isolates from diagnostic submissions and differentiate them from vaccine strains. The analytical sensitivity of the assays was approximately 0.1 plaque-forming units per reaction. The assays were highly specific for PRV, because no positive results were obtained from testing other common swine viral pathogens and other animal herpesviruses. The results of testing samples from domestic and feral swine and from bovine showed that the real-time PCR assays are more sensitive than gel-based PCR. These results demonstrated the potential application of the developed real-time PCR assays as a differential test for rapid and specific detection of PRV in domestic and feral swine, as well as nonporcine species that can be infected with PRV and serve as carriers.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • Gene Deletion
  • Genes, Viral
  • Herpesvirus 1, Suid / genetics*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / veterinary*
  • Pseudorabies / virology*
  • Pseudorabies Vaccines / immunology*
  • Swine
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / genetics


  • DNA, Viral
  • Pseudorabies Vaccines
  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • glycoprotein E, Suid herpesvirus 1
  • glycoprotein gII, pseudorabies virus