, Volume 153, Issue 5, pp 899-907

Recovery of viable porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus from an infectious clone containing a partial deletion within the Nsp2-encoding region

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Non-structural protein 2 (Nsp2) of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) is the most variable region and postulated to play an important role in cell and tissue tropism of PRRSV. To investigate the role of Nsp2 in the viability and growth of PRRSV in cells in vitro, two cDNA clones were constructed containing a deletion of 63 consecutive nucleotides (pWSK-DCBAd63) or 117 nucleotides (pWSK-DCBAd117) within the Nsp2-encoding region of PRRSV (BJ-4). The clone pWSK-DCBAd63 was infectious and produced viable recombinant virus, whereas clone pWSK-DCBAd117 could not be rescued. The rescued virus was able to induce CPE typical of PRRSV on MARC-145 cells and was stably propagated during sequential in vitro cell passages, like the virus recovered from the full-length cDNA clone of PRRSV BJ-4. In comparison to the parental virus (BJ-4) and the virus recovered from the full-length cDNA clone of the BJ-4 strain, the rescued virus from pWSK-DCBAd63 exhibited enhanced growth kinetics, reaching the peak progeny virus titer by 48 h postinfection. These observations suggest that the Nsp2-encoding region is necessary for productive virus infection, and partial deletion does not influence the viability and propagation of PRRSV in cell culture, which may provide a way to insert a foreign gene into the viral genome as a marker for differentiation.

Hanchun Yang and Kyoung-Jin Yoon are equal contribution corresponding authors.