Genomic and biological characterization of Newcastle disease viruses isolated from migratory mallards (Anas platyrhynchos)

Abstract

Given the global evolutionary dynamics of Newcastle disease viruses (NDVs), it is imperative to continue extensive surveillance, routine monitoring and characterization of isolates originating from natural reservoirs (waterfowls). In this report, we isolated and characterized two virulent NDV strains from clinically healthy mallard (Anas platyrhynchos). Both isolates had a genome of 15,192 nucleotides encoding six genes in an order of 3´-NP-P-M-F-HN-L-5´. The biological characteristics (mean death time: 49.5-50 hr, EID50108.5 ml−1) and presence of a typical cleavage site in the fusion (F) protein (112R-R-Q-K-R↓F117) confirmed the velogenic nature of these isolates. Phylogenetic analysis classified both isolates as members of genotype VII within class-II. Furthermore, based upon the hypervariable region of the F gene (375 nt), isolates showed clustering within sub-genotype VIIi. Similarity index and parallel comparison revealed a higher nucleotide divergence from commonly used vaccine strains; LaSota (21%) and Mukteswar (17%). A comparative residues analysis with representative strains of different genotypes, including vaccine strains, revealed a number of substitutions at important structural and functional domains within the F and hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) proteins. Together, the results highlight consistent evolution among circulating NDVs supporting extensive surveillance of the virus in waterfowl to better elucidate epidemiology, evolutionary relationships and their impacts on commercial and backyard poultry.

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Acknowledgements

We acknowledge team members of Pak-UK collaborative research project entitled “Combating avian influenza through systemic analysis of antigenic drift, genetic variation and development of diagnostic tools and vaccines” (Grant reference: BB/L018853 funded by BBSRC/UK) for providing study isolates and necessary data.

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Conceived and designed the work: MH, TY, JN, MZS. Performed the laboratory procedures and relevant methods: MH, AR, MM, JN, TY, TS, MZS. Data analysis: MH, AR, MM, MZS. Necessary laboratory resources and consumables: TY, WS, JN, MZS. Draft writing and editing: MH, AR, MM, MZS.

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Correspondence to Muhammad Zubair Shabbir.

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All authors declared no conflict of interest with data presented in this manuscript.

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All animal handling and sample processing procedures were carried out in strict accordance of institutional guidelines and regulations related to Animal Welfare and Health. The used procedures were approved by the Ethical Review Committee for use of Laboratory Animals (ERCULA) of the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan (Permit Number: ORIC/DR-70).

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Handling Editor: Zhenhai Chen.

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Habib, M., Yaqub, T., Nazir, J. et al. Genomic and biological characterization of Newcastle disease viruses isolated from migratory mallards (Anas platyrhynchos). Arch Virol 163, 2179–2188 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00705-018-3840-8

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