[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Subgroup A avian metapneumoviruses lacking either the SH or G gene or the M2-2 open reading frame were generated by using a reverse-genetics approach. The growth properties of these viruses were studied in vitro and in vivo in their natural host. Deletion of the SH gene alone resulted in the generation of a syncytial-plaque phenotype and this was reversed by the introduction of the SH gene from a subgroup B, but not a subgroup C, virus. Infected turkeys were assessed for antibody production and the presence of viral genomic RNA in tracheal swabs. The virus with a deleted SH gene also showed the greatest impairment of replication both in cell culture and in infected turkeys. This contrasts with the situation with other pneumoviruses in culture and in model animals, where deletion of the SH gene results in little effect upon viral yield and a good antibody response. Replication of the G- and M2-2-deleted viruses was impaired more severely in turkeys than in cell culture, with only some animals showing evidence of virus growth and antibody production. There was no correlation between virus replication and antibody response, suggesting that replication sites other than the trachea may be important for induction of antibody responses.
Preview · Article · Mar 2008 · Journal of General Virology