A recombinant encephalomyocarditis virus (rEMCV2887A-egfp) expressing the enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) was produced. The EGFP gene was inserted in frame within the leader protein coding sequence of a full-length cDNA clone of EMCV. RNA transcripts derived from the recombinant full-length cDNA were synthesized in vitro and transfected into BHK-21 cells. The recombinant transcript RNA remained infectious despite the insertion of EGFP as shown by cytopathic effects on BHK-21 cells and by propagation of the rescued virus. The replication kinetics in BHK-21 cells and the pathogenicity in mice of rEMCV2887A-egfp did not differ significantly from that of the parental virus. The recombinant virus was shown to produce fluorescence in infected cells after at least five passages in BHK-21 cells. However, a decrease of EGFP expression was observed following serial passages, and this was associated with the accumulation of deletion mutations within the EGFP gene. Nevertheless, using EGFP autofluorescence, infected cells were easily detected in the brain of mice infected with the first-passage recombinant virus. These data demonstrate that rEMCV2887A-egfp could be a useful tool to study virus dissemination and pathogenicity when used at low passages.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 1, 2006
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