[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD) has a broad host range and is widespread in wild and captive psittacine populations in Asia, Africa, the Americas, Europe and Australasia. Beak and feather disease circovirus (BFDV) is the causative agent. BFDV has an ∼2 kb single stranded circular DNA genome encoding just two proteins (Rep and CP). In this study we provide support for demarcation of BFDV strains by phylogenetic analysis of 65 complete genomes from databases and 22 new BFDV sequences isolated from infected psittacines in South Africa. We propose 94% genome-wide sequence identity as a strain demarcation threshold, with isolates sharing >94% identity belonging to the same strain, and strain subtypes sharing >98% identity. Currently, BFDV diversity falls within 14 strains, with five highly divergent isolates from budgerigars probably representing a new species of circovirus with three strains (budgerigar circovirus; BCV-A, -B and -C). The geographical distribution of BFDV and BCV strains is strongly linked to the international trade in exotic birds; strains with more than one host are generally located in the same geographical area. Lastly, we examined BFDV and BCV sequences for evidence of recombination, and determined that recombination had occurred in most BFDV and BCV strains. We established that there were two globally significant recombination hotspots in the viral genome: the first is along the entire intergenic region and the second is in the C-terminal portion of the CP ORF. The implications of our results for the taxonomy and classification of circoviruses are discussed.
Journal of General Virology 01/2011; 92(Pt 4):752-67. · 3.13 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Beak and feather disease virus (BFDV), the causative agent of psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD) infects psittaciformes worldwide. We provide an annotated sequence record of three full-length unique genomes of BFDV isolates from budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus) from a breeding farm in South Africa. The isolates share >99% nucleotide sequence identity with each other and approximately 96% nucleotide sequence identity to two recent isolates (Melopsittacus undulatus) from Thailand but only between 91.6 and 86.6% identity with all other full-length BFDV sequences. Maximum-likelihood analysis and recombination analysis suggest that the South African budgerigar BFDV isolates are unique to budgerigars, are non-recombinant in origin, and represent a new genotype of BFDV.
Archives of Virology 03/2010; 155(3):435-9. · 2.03 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We constructed a novel autonomously replicating gene expression shuttle vector, with the aim of developing a system for transiently expressing proteins at levels useful for commercial production of vaccines and other proteins in plants. The vector, pRIC, is based on the mild strain of the geminivirus Bean yellow dwarf virus (BeYDV-m) and is replicationally released into plant cells from a recombinant Agrobacterium tumefaciens Ti plasmid. pRIC differs from most other geminivirus-based vectors in that the BeYDV replication-associated elements were included in cis rather than from a co-transfected plasmid, while the BeYDV capsid protein (CP) and movement protein (MP) genes were replaced by an antigen encoding transgene expression cassette derived from the non-replicating A. tumefaciens vector, pTRAc. We tested vector efficacy in Nicotiana benthamiana by comparing transient cytoplasmic expression between pRIC and pTRAc constructs encoding either enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) or the subunit vaccine antigens, human papillomavirus subtype 16 (HPV-16) major CP L1 and human immunodeficiency virus subtype C p24 antigen. The pRIC constructs were amplified in planta by up to two orders of magnitude by replication, while 50% more HPV-16 L1 and three- to seven-fold more EGFP and HIV-1 p24 were expressed from pRIC than from pTRAc. Vector replication was shown to be correlated with increased protein expression. We anticipate that this new high-yielding plant expression vector will contribute towards the development of a viable plant production platform for vaccine candidates and other pharmaceuticals.
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