Quantitative RT-PCR assays for identification and typing of the Equine encephalosis virus
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Equine encephalosis (EE) is an acute, arthropod-borne, noncontagious, febrile disease of equids. The clinical signs of EE are similar to milder forms of African horse sickness (AHS) and the two diseases can be easily confused. The Equine encephalosis virus (EEV) is a distinct virus species within the genus Orbivirus, family Reoviridae, with ten linear segments of dsRNA genome. Seven distinct serotypes of EEV have been recognised on the basis of sequence analyses of Seg-2. The need for differential diagnosis of similar forms of EE and AHS warranted the development of molecular diagnostic methods for specific detection and identification of EEV. We report the development of quantitative real-time RT-PCR assay for detection of any member of the EEV species targeting the highly conserved EEV Seg-9. Similar serotype-specific qRT-PCR assays were designed for each of the seven EEV serotypes targeting genome Seg-2, encoding the serotype determining VP2 protein. These assays were evaluated using different EEV serotypes and other closely related orbiviruses. They were shown to be EEV virus species–specific, or EEV type–specific capable of detecting 1 to 13 copies of viral RNA in clinical samples. The assays failed to detect RNA from closely related orbiviruses, including AHSV and Peruvian horse sickness virus (PHSV) isolates.
KeywordsEquine encephalosis Equine encephalosis virus EEV TaqMan assays Real-time RT-PCR Serotype-specific assays Serogroup-specific assays Orbivirus Reference Collection Culicoides
This work was supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) (grant no. BB/L004690/1) and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) (SE2617) to PM. Department of Biotechnology, Government of India (DBT, GOI) (grant no. BT/IN/Indo-UK/FADH/46/SM/2013.
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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