Effect of an 88-amino-acid deletion in nsp2 of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus on virus replication and cytokine responses in vitro
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Previously, a spontaneous 88-amino-acid (aa) deletion in nsp2 was associated with cell-adaptation of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) strain JXM100, which arose during passaging of the highly pathogenic PRRSV (HP-PRRSV) strain JX143 in MARC-145 cells. Here, to elucidate the biological role of this deletion, we specifically deleted the region of a cDNA clone of HP-PRRSV strain JX143 (pJX143) corresponding to these 88 amino acids. The effect of the deletion on virus replication in cultured cells and transcriptional activation of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines in pulmonary alveolar macrophages (PAMs) was examined. Mutant virus with the 88-aa deletion in nsp2 (rJX143-D88) had faster growth kinetics and produced larger plaques in MARC-145 cells than the parental virus (rJX143), suggesting that the deletion enhanced virus replication in MARC-145 cells. In contrast, the overall yield of rJX143 was almost 1 log higher than that of rJX143-D88, suggesting that the 88-aa deletion in nsp2 decreased the production of infectious viruses in PAMs. Infection with the mutant virus with the 88-aa deletion resulted in increased mRNA expression of type I interferon (IFN-α and IFN-β) and chemokines genes. In addition, the mRNA expression of antiviral genes (ISG15, ISG54 and PKR) regulated by the IFN response was upregulated in PAMs infected with the mutant virus rJX143-D88. Our results demonstrate that virus-specific host immunity can be enhanced by modifying certain nsp2 epitope regions. These findings provide important insights for understanding virus pathogenesis and development of future vaccines.
The authors would like to thank Dr. Dev Sooranna, Imperial College, London, for editing the manuscript.
This work was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (nos. 31372444 and 31660716), Guangxi Natural Science Foundation (no. 2016JJA130049) and Guangxi University Scientific Research Foundation (no. XGZ130959).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.
The animal experiment protocol complied with the Ethical Review Process and adhered to the guidelines of the Ethical and Animal Welfare Committee of Guangxi Province, China.
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