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Virology. 2001 Aug 15;287(1):183-91.

A 10-kDa structural protein of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus encoded by ORF2b.

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Department of Veterinary Science, South Dakota State University, Brookings, South Dakota 57007, USA.


The major structural proteins of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) are derived from ORFs 5, 6, and 7. Western blots of sucrose gradient-purified virions and PRRSV-infected MARC-145 cells, probed with immune pig serum, showed the presence of an additional 10-kDa protein. Nucleotide sequence analysis of North American PRRSV isolate SDSU-23983 revealed a small ORF within ORF2, named ORF2b, which, when translated, produced a 73-amino-acid nonglycosylated protein. Recombinant 2b protein expressed by a baculovirus clone, AcVR2, comigrated with the 10-kDa virus-associated protein. The loss of 10-kDa protein immunoreactivity after absorption of immune sera with lysates from AcVR2-infected insect cells demonstrated that the 2b and 10-kDa proteins are immunologically similar. Immunoblots were also used for the detection of anti-2b activity in serum samples from experimentally infected adult pigs. Antibodies against PRRSV were apparent by 14 days postinfection, followed by anti-2b activity and serum neutralizing activity. The putative ORF2b start codon is only 6 nucleotides downstream of the adenine of the ORF2a start codon. The expression of ORF2a and 2b as enhanced green fluorescent fusion proteins showed that both proteins were translated; however, the ORF2b was preferentially expressed. These results suggest that the 2b protein is virion associated and the principal product of ORF2.

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