Construction of a replicon and an infectious cDNA clone of the Sofjin strain of the Far-Eastern subtype of tick-borne encephalitis virus
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Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) causes severe encephalitis in humans. The Sofjin-HO strain is the prototype strain of the TBEV Far-Eastern subtype and is highly pathogenic in a mouse model. In this study, we constructed replicons and infectious cDNA clones of the Sofjin-HO strain. The replication of the replicon RNA was confirmed, and infectious viruses were recovered from the infectious cDNA clone. The recombinant viruses showed similar virulence characteristics to those of the parental virus. While characterizing the replicon and infectious cDNA, several amino acid differences derived from cell culture adaptations were analysed. The amino acids differences at E position 496 and NS4A position 58 were found to affect viral replication. The Gly- or Ala-to-Glu substitution at E position 122 was shown to increase neuroinvasiveness in mice. These replicons and infectious cDNA clones are useful in revealing the viral molecular determinants involved in the replication and pathogenicity of TBEV.
KeywordsRecombinant Virus Parental Virus Amino Acid Difference NS4A Protein Infectious cDNA Clone
This work was supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (22780268) and the Global COE Program from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Sciences and Technology of Japan, and Health Sciences Grants for Research on Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Disease from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan.
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