ZhenghaoYu, YanpingZhang, XinggeLan, YananWang, FengZhang, YulongGao, KaiLi, LiGao, QingPan, XiaoleQi, HongyuCui, LinyiZhou, GuorongSun, XiaomeiWang, ChangjunLiu
Vet Microbiol. 2020 Jan;240:108501. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2019.108501. Epub 2019 Nov 6.
Marek's disease (MD) is a highly contagious lymphoproliferative poultry disease caused by the oncogenic herpesvirus, Marek's disease virus (MDV). MDV strains have shown a continued evolution of virulence leading to immune failure, and MD cases continue to occur. Co-infection of virulent MDV strains is an important factor leading to viral evolution and host immune failure. This study conducted a laboratory diagnosis and analysis of a MDV infected flock. Testing showed that all samples were MDV positive. PCR detection identified a variable 132-base pair repeat (132-bpr) sequence copy number. This indicated that two virulent strains of MDV were co-infecting the flock. Therefore, we performed homology, sequence alignment, and phylogenetic tree analysis of MDV variant genes including meq, pp38, and RLORF4. Two MDV strains had co-infected the flock; one was the 132bpr two-copy characteristic strain (AH2C) and the other was a 132bpr three-copy characteristic strain (AH3C). Specific mutations in AH3C were found, suggesting that it is a new variant strain. Furthermore, the viral load of the two strains in vivo indicated that both strains had high and similar replication ability. There was no significant difference in the proportion of positive samples of the two strains causing disease. In the whole flock, neither strain displayed an obvious advantage. However, there was a dominant strain in individual chickens, with the exception of one sample. This study reported the co-infection regularity of two virulent MDV strains in the same flock, and even in the same chicken in field conditions. In the context of overall epidemiology, this study is a useful reference.
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Marek’s disease virus; Phylogenetic tree analysis; Viral co-infection; Viral evolution; Viral mutation