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Can J Vet Res. 1994 Jan;58(1):55-64.

Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus: morphological, biochemical and serological characteristics of Quebec isolates associated with acute and chronic outbreaks of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome.

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Centre de Recherche en Virologie, Institut Armand-Frappier, Laval, Quebec.


Cytolytic and noncytolytic strains of the porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) were isolated in primary cultures of porcine alveolar macrophages (PAM) from lung homogenates of stillborn fetuses or blood samples of dyspneic piglets collected from Quebec pig farms having experienced acute or chronic outbreaks of PRRS. Serological identification of the virus was confirmed by indirect immunofluorescence and indirect protein A-gold immunoelectron microscopy using reference antiserum prepared from experimentally-infected specific pathogen free (SPF) piglets and monoclonal antibodies (MoAbs) directed against the p15 nucleocapsid (N) protein of the reference ATCC-VR2332 isolate. Intracytoplasmic enveloped viral particles that tended to accumulate into cytoplasmic vesicles were observed in the infected PAM; no budding was demonstrated at the level of the cytoplasmic membrane. The extracellular virions appeared as pleomorphic but mostly spherical enveloped particles, 50-72 nm in diameter (averaged diameter of 50 particles was 58.3 nm), with an isometric core about 25-30 nm. Buoyant density of the virus in CsCL density gradients was estimated to 1.18-1.20 g/mL. No hemagglutinating activity was demonstrated. Analysis of semipurified virions of isolate IAF-exp91 by radioimmunoprecipitation (RIPA) and Western immunoblotting experiments, using reference rabbit and porcine hyperimmune sera, revealed four major viral proteins, a predominant 15 kD N protein and three other proteins with predicted M(r_ of 19, 26 and 42 kD. Progeny viral particles produced in PRRSV-infected PAM in the presence of tunicamycin lacked the 42 kD protein, thus confirming its N-glycosylated nature. Immunoprecipitation experiments using the anti-ATCC-VR2332 MoAbs confirmed the close antigenic relationships between Quebec and American reference isolates of PRRSV.

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