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J Virol Methods. 1998 Dec;76(1-2):109-20.

Development and analysis of a tick-borne encephalitis virus infectious clone using a novel and rapid strategy.

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Institute of Virology and Environmental Microbiology, Oxford, UK.


In less than 1 month we have constructed an infectious clone of attenuated tick-borne encephalitis virus (strain Vasilchenko) from 100 microl of unpurified virus suspension using long high fidelity PCR and a modified bacterial cloning system. Optimization of the 3' antisense primer concentration was essential to achieve PCR synthesis of an 11 kb cDNA copy of RNA from infectious virus. A novel system utilising two antisense primers, a 14-mer for reverse transcription and a 35-mer for long PCR, produced high yields of genomic length cDNA. Use of low copy number Able K cells and an incubation temperature of 28 degrees C increased the genetic stability of cloned cDNA. Clones containing 11 kb cDNA inserts produced colonies of reduced size, thus providing a positive selection system for full length clones. Sequencing of the infectious clone emphasised the improved fidelity of the method compared with conventional PCR and cloning methods. A simple and rapid strategy for genetic manipulation of the infectious clone is also described. These developments represent a significant advance in recombinant technology and should be applicable to positive stranded RNA viruses which cannot easily be purified or genetically manipulated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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