Genomic characterization of circoviruses associated with acute gastroenteritis in minks in northeastern China
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Mink circovirus (MiCV), a virus that was newly discovered in 2013, has been associated with enteric disease. However, its etiological role in acute gastroenteritis is unclear, and its genetic characteristics are poorly described. In this study, the role of circoviruses (CVs) in mink acute gastroenteritis was investigated, and the MiCV genome was molecularly characterized through sequence analysis. Detection results demonstrated that MiCV was the only pathogen found in this infection. MiCVs and previously characterized CVs shared genome organizational features, including the presence of (i) a potential stem-loop/nonanucleotide motif that is considered to be the origin of virus DNA replication; (ii) two major inversely arranged open reading frames encoding putative replication-associated proteins (Rep) and a capsid protein; (iii) direct and inverse repeated sequences within the putative 5ʹ region; and (iv) motifs in Rep. Pairwise comparisons showed that the capsid proteins of MiCV shared the highest amino acid sequence identity with those of porcine CV (PCV) 2 (45.4%) and bat CV (BatCV) 1 (45.4%). The amino acid sequence identity levels of Rep shared by MiCV with BatCV 1 (79.7%) and dog CV (dogCV) (54.5%) were broadly similar to those with starling CV (51.1%) and PCVs (46.5%). Phylogenetic analysis indicated that MiCVs were more closely related to mammalian CVs, such as BatCV, PCV, and dogCV, than to other animal CVs. Among mammalian CVs, MiCV and BatCV 1 were the most closely related. This study could contribute to understanding the potential pathogenicity of MiCV and the evolutionary and pathogenic characteristics of mammalian CVs.
We acknowledge the valuable help provided by Prof. Wei Li of Northeast Agricultural University.
This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31101845), the Natural Science Foundation of Heilongjiang Province (LC2015006) and State Key Laboratory of Veterinary Biotechnology Foundation (SKLVBF201611).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors. This study was performed in accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the Ministry of Health, China. Prior to experiments, the protocol of the current study was reviewed and approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of Northeast Agricultural University (approved protocol number 2014-SRM-25). Samples were collected only from animals for laboratory analyses, avoiding unnecessary pain and suffering of the animals. The mink owners gave their written consent for necropsy and sample collection.
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