Genetics of Avian Paramyxovirus serotype 2

Thumbnail Image


Publication or External Link






Avian Paramyxovirus (APMV) serotype 2 is one of the nine serotypes of APMV that infect a variety of bird species around the world. In chickens and turkeys, APMV-2 causes respiratory illness and drop in egg production. To understand the molecular characteristics of APMV-2, the complete genome sequences of prototype strain Yucaipa and strains Bangor, England and Kenya were determined. The genome lengths of APMV-2 strains Yucaipa, Bangor, England and Kenya are 14904, 15024, 14904, 14916 nucleotides (nt), respectively. Each genome consists of six non-overlapping genes in the order 3'N-P/V/W-M-F-HN-L5' similar to most of APMVs. Sequence comparison of APMV-2 strains England and Kenya with prototype strain Yucaipa show 94-98% nt and 90-100% aggregate amino acid (aa) identities. However, strain Bangor shares low level of nt and predicted aa sequence identities with the other three strains. The phylogenetic and serological analyses of all four strains indicated the existence of two subgroups: strains Yucaipa, England and Kenya represented one subgroup and strain Bangor represented the other subgroup. All four strains were found to be avirulent for chickens by mean death time and intracerebral pathogenicity test.

To further study the molecular biology and pathogenicity of APMV-2, a reverse genetics system for strain Yucaipa was established in which infectious recombinant APMV-2 was recovered from a cloned APMV-2 antigenomic cDNA. The recovered recombinant virus showed in vitro growth characteristics and in vivo pathogenicity similar to wild type virus. Recombinant APMV-2 expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein was also recovered, suggesting its potential use as a vaccine vector. Furthermore, generation and characterization of mutant viruses by replacing the fusion protein (F) cleavage site of APMV-2 with those of APMV serotypes 1 to 9 demonstrated that the amino acid composition at F protein cleavage site does not affect the pathogenicity of APMV-2. Overall, the study conducted here has several downstream applications. The complete genome sequence of APMV-2 is useful in designing diagnostic reagents and in epidemiological studies. The reverse genetics system for APMV-2 would be of considerable utility for introducing defined mutations into the genome of this virus and develop vaccine vector for animal and human pathogens.