We investigated the mechanisms responsible for attenuation of mouse pathogenicity of Sendai virus (SeV) through passages in eggs. A highly virulent clone, E0, derived from the field SeV Hamamatsu strain, was successively passaged in hen‘s eggs. Analysis of the mouse lethal dose 50% (MLD 50 ) of virus clones obtained from the viruses at egg-passages 1, 15, 30 and 50 demonstrated that attenuation of E0 by egg-passage occurred due to the gradual appearance of and replacement by virus variants possessing higher MLD 50 . Comparison of viral replication in the mouse lung and mouse pathogenicity with the representative SeV clones, E0, E15cl2, E30cl2 and E50cl9, obtained from the respective egg-passages revealed that the low pathogenicity of the egg-passaged clones was due to poor multi-cycle viral replication in the lung. Furthermore, MLD 50 s of the SeV clones were found to be negatively correlated with the replication capability in primary mouse pulmonary epithelial (MPE) cells; the egg-passaged clones with more attenuated phenotypes showed lower replication capability in MPE cells. In the MPE cells infected with the SeV clones at m.o.i. 10, however, viral protein and mRNA syntheses of the egg-passaged clones were enhanced or comparable to those of the parental E0 clone at 1 day and 2 days post infection (p.i.) but decreased more rapidly thereafter. In contrast, viral genome synthesis of the egg-passaged clones in the cells at 2 days p.i. was several times lower than that of E0. These results strongly suggest that attenuation of a virulent field SeV strain by egg-passage occurs due to the appearance and selection of virus variants possessing poor propagation capacity in mouse respiratory epithelial cells, which is caused primarily by an impediment of viral genome replication.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: May 1, 2001
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