[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In order to analyse the pattern of sequence variation in maedi-visna virus (MVV) in persistently infected sheep and to answer the question of whether antigenic variants are selected in a long-term MVV infection, an 87 bp variable region in the env gene of ten antigenic variants and 24 non-variants was sequenced. Nine of the ten antigenic variants had mutations in this region, comprising 24 point mutations and a deletion of 3 bp. Twenty-three of the point mutations (96%) were non-synonymous. There was only a single mutation in this region in the 24 non-variants. A type-specific neutralizing antibody response appeared in all the sheep 2-5 months post-infection, and in most sheep more broadly reacting neutralizing antibodies appeared up to 4 years later. All the antigenic variants were neutralized by the broadly reacting sera. It is noteworthy that the antigenic variants were isolated at a time when only the type-specific antibodies were acting, before the broadly reacting antibodies appeared. The same picture emerged when molecularly cloned virus was used for infection. Three sheep were infected with a molecularly cloned virus, and of six virus isolates, one was an antigenic variant. This variant arose in the absence of broadly reacting antibodies. The results indicate that there is selection for mutants that escape neutralization.
Journal of General Virology 11/2002; 83(Pt 10):2543-51. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Maedi-visna virus (MVV) is a lentivirus of sheep, mainly affecting the lungs and the central nervous system. Long terminal repeat (LTR) sequence variability is common in tissue culture-derived isolates of MVV as well as those of other lentiviruses. The role of this sequence variation in MVV replication has not been explored. PCR amplification of the LTRs of an MVV isolate revealed two product sizes, the larger containing a 53 bp duplication. PCR products containing the two size variants of the LTRs were cloned into an infectious molecular clone of MVV and the resulting chimeric viruses were tested for growth in various cell types. The chimeric virus containing only one copy of the 53 bp sequence was found to grow more slowly in sheep choroid plexus cells, sheep fibroblasts and sheep synovial cells than the virus with the 53 bp duplication. Both viruses grew equally well in macrophages. These results indicate that the LTRs determined the extended cell tropism of MVV.
Journal of General Virology 09/2000; 81(Pt 8):1901-5. · 3.53 Impact Factor