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Vet Microbiol. 2012 May 25;157(1-2):50-60. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2011.12.012. Epub 2011 Dec 16.

Mutations in the genome of the highly pathogenic porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus potentially related to attenuation.

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Institute of Special Wild Economic Animal and Plant Science, CAAS, No. 15, Luming Road, Jilin 132109, China.


A live-attenuated highly pathogenic porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (HP-PRRS) virus (HP-PRRSV) TJM vaccine strain was derived from the HP-PRRSV TJ strain by passage 92 times in the African green monkey kidney epithelial cell line Marc-145. We found that the virulence of the TJ strain to piglets was decreased greatly from passage 19. To identify mutations associated with attenuation of the TJM vaccine strain, we determined the nucleotide changes that arose during Marc-145 passage of the HP-PRRSV TJ virus. The TJM strain contains a 360 nucleotide (120 amino acids) deletion and a 118 nucleotide mutation that resulted in 48 amino acid changes. Analysis of the complete nucleotide sequences of intermediate passage-level viruses F19, F46 and F78 showed that 31 (64.6%) of the 48 amino acid mutations occurred in F19, 7 (14.6%) occurred in F46, 7 (14.6%) occurred in F78 and 3 (6.3%) occurred in F92. The 120 amino acid deletion occurred from F19 to TJM. Therefore, we hypothesized that the 31 amino acid mutations distributed in nsp1β, nsp2-nsp5, nsp7, nsp9, nsp10, GP4 and GP5 and the continuous 120 amino acid deletion in the nsp2 region from F19 provide a strong potential molecular basis for the observed attenuated phenotype.

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