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J Gen Virol. 2012 Sep;93(Pt 9):1930-4. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.043992-0. Epub 2012 Jun 20.

Feline infectious peritonitis virus with a large deletion in the 5'-terminal region of the spike gene retains its virulence for cats.

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Laboratories of Veterinary Microbiology, Faculty of Agriculture, Yamaguchi University, 1677-1 Yoshida, Yamaguchi 753-8515, Japan.


In this study, the Japanese strain of type I feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV), C3663, was found to have a large deletion of 735 bp within the gene encoding the spike (S) protein, with a deduced loss of 245 aa of the N-terminal region of the S protein. This deletion is similar to that observed in porcine respiratory coronavirus (PRCoV) when compared to transmissible gastroenteritis virus, which correlates with reduced virulence. By analogy to PRCoV, we expected that the pathogenicity of C3663 may be attenuated in cats. However, two of four cats inoculated with C3663 died of FIP, and a third C3663-inoculated cat showed FIP lesions at 91 days after challenge. These results indicate that the 5'-terminal region of the S gene is not essential for the development of FIP.

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