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Biol Reprod. 2007 Mar;76(3):415-23. Epub 2006 Nov 22.

Receptor-determined susceptibility of preimplantation embryos to pseudorabies virus and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus.

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Department of Reproduction, Obstetrics, and Herd Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium.


In the present study, the in vitro interaction of embryos with pseudorabies virus (PRV) and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) was investigated by viral antigen detection and by evaluating the expression of virus receptors, namely, poliovirus receptor-related 1 (PVRL1; formerly known as nectin 1) for PRV and sialoadhesin for PRRSV. Embryonic cells of zona pellucida intact embryos incubated with PRV remained negative for viral antigens. Also, no antigen-positive cells could be detected after PRV incubation of protease-treated embryos, since the protease disrupted the expression of PRVL1. However, starting from the five-cell-stage onwards, viral antigen-positive cells were detected after subzonal microinjection of PRV. At this stage, the first foci of PVRL1, also a known cell adhesion molecule, were expressed. At the expanded blastocyst stage, a lining pattern of PVRL1 in the apicolateral border of trophectoderm cells was present, whereas the expression in the inner cell mass was low. Furthermore, PVRL1-specific monoclonal antibody CK41 significantly blocked PRV infection of trophectoderm cells of hatched blastocysts, while the infection of the inner cell mass was only partly inhibited. Viral antigen-positive cells were never detected after PRRSV exposure of preimplantation embryos up to the hatched blastocyst stage. Also, expression of sialoadhesin in these embryonic stages was not detected. We conclude that the use of protease to investigate the virus embryo interaction can lead to misinterpretation of results. Results also show that blastomeres of five-cell embryos up to the hatched blastocysts can become infected with PRV, but there is no risk of a PRRSV infection.

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