Ljungan virus is a picornavirus isolated from Swedish and North American rodents. Replication of Ljungan virus in cultured cells normally induces a weak and delayed cytopathic effect compared to that of many other picornaviruses. However, efficiently replicating Ljungan virus variants may evolve during serial passages in cell culture. In this study, we evaluate the significance of three substitutions in capsid protein VP0 and VP1 of a cell-culture-adapted variant of the Swedish Ljungan virus 145SL strain. In contrast to the parental strain, this 145SLG variant grows to high titers in green monkey kidney cells and induces a distinct cytopathic effect. Reverse genetic analyses demonstrated that each one of the individual capsid substitutions contributes to lytic replication in cell culture, but also that expression of all three substitutions results in a 100- to 500-fold increase in viral titers compared to viruses encoding single capsid substitutions. In addition, as indicated by detection of activated caspase-3 and DNA fragmentation, there seems to be an association between increased replication efficiency of lytic Ljungan virus variants and induction of an apoptotic response in infected green monkey kidney cells.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 1, 2009
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