Nine pestiviruses isolated from different batches of a contaminated Tunisian sheep pox vaccine and one Tunisian field ovine isolate of border disease virus (BDV) were studied at the antigenic and molecular levels. Seroneutralization tests were carried out on three vaccine isolates, the Tunisian field isolate and representative reference strains of the different pestivirus groups. The antigenic study showed that the Tunisian isolates were closer to the two BDV reference strains than to the Alfort-187 and the NADL reference strains. Comparison of the nucleotide sequences of the 5′-non coding regions of all the Tunisian isolates to those of other pestiviruses have shown that these isolates were distinct from the established pestivirus species. The entire N pro –E2 coding sequences of four Tunisian isolates were determined and compared to other pestiviruses. Segregation of these pestiviruses based on the N pro –E2 region was identical to that obtained with the 5′UTR sequences. The phylogenetic tree obtained with these sequences showed that the Tunisian isolates formed a separate branch between the BDV and CSFV groups, and consequently a possible new species within the pestivirus genus. However, as indicated by the antigenic study and the host origin of the isolates, the Tunisian isolates were assigned to a novel subgroup within the BDV species.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 1, 2005
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