Background: Atypical porcine pestivirus (APPV) is a single-stranded RNA virus with high genetic variation that causes congenital tremor (CT) in newborn piglets, belonging to the genus Pestivirus of the family Flaviviridae. Increasing cases of APPV infection in China in the past few years would pose severe challenges to the development of pig production. In view of the high genetic variability of APPV, the genetic characteristics of APPV in Hubei province was determined.
Methods: 52 tissue samples from 8 CT-affected newborn piglets were collected at two different periods in the same pig farm in Hubei province. Viral nucleic acid was extracted to detect pathogens that can cause CT in piglets or other common clinical pathogens by RT-PCR. Haematoxylin and eosin (HE) staining, immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis, and qRT-PCR were performed to observe histopathological changes and histological distribution, and detect the viral load of APPV in CT-affected piglets. The full-length genome of APPV was obtained and sequence analysis was conducted to determine the phylogenetic relationship.
Results: Histopathological observation and histological distribution analysis showed that the histological lesions and distribution of APPV were mainly in central nervous system (CNS) tissues and immune tissues. Viral load analysis revealed that the viral copy number was higher in the cerebellum, submaxillary lymph nodes, tonsil, and serum than in other tissues. Phylogenetic analysis showed that CH-HB2020 and CH-HB2021 belonged to Clade I.3, and is most closely related to APPV_CH-GX2016. Sequence alignment based on APPV encoding sequences (CDS) showed that the nucleotide identities of CH-HB2020 or CH-HB2021 with Clade I, Clade II, and Clade III strains were 83.5-98.6%, 83.1-83.5%, and 81.1-81.4%, respectively, while the amino acid identities were 91.9-99.2%, 91.2-95.3%, and 90.77-91.4%, respectively. No recombination event was observed in CH-HB2020 or CH-HB2021 strains.
Conclusions: These findings enhance our understanding of the pathogenesis of APPV and may provide potential molecular evidence for its prevalence and transmission.
Keywords: APPV; Atypical porcine pestivirus; Congenital tremor; Hubei; Phylogenetic analysis; Piglets.
© 2022. The Author(s).