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Virology. 2011 Feb 5;410(1):216-27. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2010.11.012. Epub 2010 Dec 4.

Mutations in nsP1 and PE2 are critical determinants of Ross River virus-induced musculoskeletal inflammatory disease in a mouse model.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO 80045, USA.


The viral determinants of alphavirus-induced rheumatic disease have not been elucidated. We identified an RRV strain (DC5692) which, in contrast to the T48 strain, does not induce musculoskeletal inflammation in a mouse model of RRV disease. Substitution of the RRV T48 strain nonstructural protein 1 (nsP1) coding sequence with that from strain DC5692 generated a virus that was attenuated in vivo despite similar viral loads in tissues. In contrast, substitution of the T48 PE2 coding region with the PE2 coding region from DC5692 resulted in attenuation in vivo and reduced viral loads in tissues. In gain of virulence experiments, substitution of the DC5692 strain nsP1 and PE2 coding regions with those from the T48 strain was sufficient to restore full virulence to the DC5692 strain. These findings indicate that determinants in both nsP1 and PE2 have critical and distinct roles in the pathogenesis of RRV-induced musculoskeletal inflammatory disease in mice.

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