An outbreak of a highly virulent pseudorabies virus strain, ZJ01, occurred in PRV-vaccinated pigs in China in 2011. In this study, ZJ01 caused fatal diseases, while the Chinese prototypic PRV strain LA caused mild respiratory disorders. Full-genome sequencing results indicate the two viruses can be classified into two sub-clusters that distinct from traditional European and US strains. To examine the potential role of the gE and gI proteins in ZJ01 virulence, we generated several recombinant viruses. In two chimeric viruses (rZJ01-LA/gEI and rLA-ZJ01/gEI), the gE and gI genes were swapped using corresponding genes from ZJ01 and LA. rZJ01-LA/gEI and the parental virus rZJ01 retained high virulence in piglets, although the survival time for rZJ01-LA/gEI infected piglets was obviously prolonged. In contrast, rLA-ZJ01/gEI exhibited higher virulence than its parental virus rLA. We conclude that changes in gE and gI proteins partly contribute to the enhanced virulence of ZJ01 strain.
Keywords: GE; GI; Genome sequence; Pseudorabies virus; Virulence.
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