In a bovine herpesvirus 1 (BHV1) vaccine strain, a spontaneous BHV1 mutant (Za) was found that arose from a recombination between two isomeric forms of the BHV1 genome. In this Za mutant one end of the U S region, containing part of the US1.5 gene, was found duplicated in an inverted orientation at the other end of the U S region. Concurrently, a 2.7 kb deletion was found in Za that encompasses both the US8 (gE) and US9 gene. Analysis of the in vitro growth properties of a genetically modified BHV1gE − mutant showed that at 11 hours post infection BHV1gE − viruses were secreted ten times more efficiently than wild type virus. Using this observation we developed a protocol to enrich for spontaneous gE deletion mutants in a BHV1 field isolate and found another mutant (Rof3) with similar properties as the Za mutant. Rof3 has a duplication/inversion of the US1.5 gene and part of the US2 gene and a simultaneous 3.5 kb deletion that encompasses the US7 (gI), US8 (gE) and US9 genes. The nucleotide sequences of the recombination points of both recombinants were determined and compared. No obvious sequence similarities were found, suggesting that non-homologous recombination events led to the observed recombinations. The implications for the use of BHV1 gE deletion mutants as marker or diva vaccines are discussed.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 1, 1999
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