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Arch Virol. 2000;145(6):1133-47.

Molecular characterization and pathogenesis of transmissible gastroenteritis coronavirus (TGEV) and porcine respiratory coronavirus (PRCV) field isolates co-circulating in a swine herd.

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Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, The Ohio State University, Wooster 44691, USA.


TGEV replicates in intestinal enterocytes and causes diarrhea in young pigs. PRCV, a spike (S) gene deletion mutant of TGEV with an altered respiratory tissue tropism, causes mild or subclinical respiratory infections. Comparisons of TGEV and PRCV strains suggest that tropism and pathogenicity are influenced by the S gene and ORF3, respectively. Recently, outbreaks of TGE of reduced virulence were reported in the field. We investigated a similar suspect TGEV outbreak of reduced virulence in nursery pigs from a swine herd in the Midwest. A TGEV strain (BW021898B) was isolated in swine testicular cells from gut contents of a diarrheic pig and three PRCV strains (BW126, BW154, BW155) were isolated from nasal swabs from normal TGEV-seronegative sentinel pigs in contact with the diarrheic pigs. Sequence analysis of the TGEV isolate in the partial S gene and ORF3/3a and ORF3-1/3b revealed high homology with enteropathogenic TGEV strains. Gnotobiotic pig inoculation and histopathological results revealed that this TGEV isolate retained virulence even though in the field outbreak the diarrheal disease was of reduced severity. Sequence analysis of the S gene deletion region of the three PRCV isolates revealed identical deletions between nt 105-752, which differ from deletions previously reported among PRCV strains. The three PRCV isolates had variable sequence changes in ORF 3/3a and ORF 3-1/3b, affecting the ORF size and amino acid sequence. Thus, sequence analysis and pathogenicity studies indicate that this TGEV isolate resembles other enteropathogenic TGEV strains. Therefore, the reduced severity of TGE observed in this herd may be due to the ongoing PRCV infections, which induce antibodies cross-reactive with TGEV and result in decreased disease severity. The results outlined in this study highlight the need to monitor the molecular epidemiology of TGEV/PRCV strains with sensitive differential diagnostic assays, followed by sequence analysis of the critical regions to identify changes and pathogenicity studies to confirm the disease potential of the TGEV isolates.

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