Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)

Swinepox virus strains isolated from domestic pigs and wild boar in Germany display altered coding capacity in the terminal genome region encoding for species-specific genes

Abstract

Swinepox virus (SWPV) is a globally distributed swine pathogen that causes sporadic cases of an acute poxvirus infection in domesticated pigs, characterized by the development of a pathognomonic proliferative dermatitis and secondary ulcerations. More severe disease with higher levels of morbidity and mortality is observed in congenitally SWPV-infected neonatal piglets. In this study, we investigated the evolutionary origins of SWPV strains isolated from domestic pigs and wild boar. Analysis of whole genome sequences of SWPV showed that at least two different virus strains are currently circulating in Germany. These were more closely related to a previously characterized North American SWPV strain than to a more recent Indian SWPV strain and showed a variation in the SWPV-specific genome region. A single nucleotide deletion in the wild boar (wb) SWPV strain leads to the fusion of the SPV019 and SPV020 open reading frames (ORFs) and encodes a new hypothetical 113 aa protein (SPVwb020-019). In addition, the domestic pig (dp) SWPV genome contained a novel ORF downstream of SPVdp020, which encodes a new hypothetical 71aa protein (SPVdp020a). In summary, we show that SWPV strains with altered coding capacity in the SWPV specific genome region are circulating in domestic pig and wild boar populations in Germany.

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