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Virol J. 2009 May 18;6:60. doi: 10.1186/1743-422X-6-60.

Replication of porcine circoviruses.

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  • 1French Food Safety Agency, Viral Genetics and Biosafety Unit, Ploufragan, France.


Porcine circoviruses are circular single-stranded DNA viruses that infect swine and wild boars. Two species of porcine circoviruses exist. Porcine circovirus type 1 is non pathogenic contrary to porcine circovirus type 2 which is associated with the disease known as Post-weaning Multisystemic Wasting Syndrome. Porcine circovirus DNA has been shown to replicate by a rolling circle mechanism. Other studies have revealed similar mechanisms of rolling-circle replication in plasmids and single-stranded viruses such as Geminivirus. Three elements are important in rolling-circle replication: i) a gene encoding initiator protein, ii) a double strand origin, and iii) a single strand origin. However, differences exist between viruses and plasmids and between viruses. Porcine circovirus replication probably involves a "melting pot" rather than "cruciform" rolling-circle mechanism.This review provides a summary of current knowledge of replication in porcine circoviruses as models of the Circovirus genus. Based on various studies, the factors affecting replication are defined and the mechanisms involved in the different phases of replication are described or proposed.

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