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J Virol. 2007 Apr;81(8):4052-7. Epub 2007 Feb 7.

Duplicated sequence motif in the long terminal repeat of maedi-visna virus extends cell tropism and is associated with neurovirulence.

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Institute for Experimental Pathology, University of Iceland, Keldur v/Vesturlandsveg, 112 Reykjavik, Iceland.


Maedi-visna virus (MVV) is a lentivirus of sheep causing chronic inflammatory disease of the lungs (maedi) and the nervous system (visna). We have previously shown that a duplicated sequence in the long terminal repeat (LTR) of MVV is a determinant of cell tropism. Here, we demonstrate that deletion of a CAAAT sequence from either one of the repeats resulted in poor virus growth in sheep choroid plexus cells. A duplication in the LTR encompassing the CAAAT sequence was found in four neurological field cases that were sequenced, but no duplication was present in the LTRs from seven maedi cases; one maedi isolate was mixed. These results indicate that the duplication in the LTR is associated with neurovirulence.

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