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Sci Rep. 2019 Apr 12;9(1):5972. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-42540-z.

Fluorophore labelled BVDV: a novel tool for the analysis of infection dynamics.

Author information

1
Institute of Virology, Department of Pathobiology, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Vienna, Austria. christiane.riedel@vetmeduni.ac.at.
2
Institute of Virology, Department of Pathobiology, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
3
Institute of Anatomy, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Justus-Liebig University, Giessen, Germany.

Abstract

Genetic labelling of viruses with a fluorophore allows to study their life cycle in real time, without the need for fixation or staining techniques. Within the family Flaviviridae, options for genetic labelling of non-structural proteins exist. Yet, no system to genetically label structural proteins has been put forward to date. Taking advantage of a previously described site within the structural protein E2, a fluorophore was introduced into a cytopathogenic (cpe) BVDV-1 virus (BVDVE2_fluo). This insertion was well tolerated, resulting in a 2-fold drop in titer compared to the parental virus, and remained stably integrated into the genome for more than 10 passages. The fluorophore E2 fusion protein was readily detectable in purified virus particles by Western blot and fluorescence microscopy and the particle integrity and morphology was confirmed by cryo electron microscopy. The same integration site could also be used to label the related Classical swine fever virus. Also, BVDVE2_fluo particles bound to fluorophore labelled CD46 expressing cells could be resolved in fluorescence microscopy. This underlines the applicability of BVDVE2_fluo as a tool to study the dynamics of the whole life cycle of BVDV in real time.

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