Rapid emergence of novel antigenic and genetic variants of equine infectious anemia virus during persistent infection.
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Previous results from our laboratory have demonstrated that equine infectious anemia virus displays structural variations in its surface glycoproteins and RNA genome during passage and chronic infections in experimentally infected Shetland ponies (Montelaro et al., J. Biol. Chem. 259:10539-10544, 1984; Payne et al., J. Gen. Virol. 65:1395-1399, 1984). The present study was undertaken to obtain an antigenic and biochemical characterization of equine infectious anemia virus isolates recovered from an experimentally infected pony during sequential disease episodes, each separated by intervals of only 4 to 8 weeks. The virus isolates could be distinguished antigenically by neutralization assays with serum from the infected pony and by Western blot analysis with a monoclonal antibody against the major surface glycoprotein gp90, thus demonstrating that novel antigenic variants of equine infectious anemia virus predominate during each clinical episode. The respective virion glycoproteins displayed different electrophoretic mobilities on sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gels, indicating structural variation. Tryptic peptide and glycopeptide maps of the viral proteins of each virus isolate revealed biochemical alterations involving amino acid sequence and glycosylation patterns in the virion surface glycoproteins gp90 and gp45. In contrast, no structural variation was observed in the internal viral proteins pp15, p26, and p9 from any of the four virus isolates. Oligonucleotide mapping experiments revealed similar but unique RNase T1-resistant oligonucleotide fingerprints of the RNA genomes of each of the virus isolates. Localization of altered oligonucleotides for one virus isolate placed two of three unique oligonucleotides within the predicted env gene region of the genome, perhaps correlating with the structural variation observed in the envelope glycoproteins. Thus these results support the concept that equine infectious anemia virus is indeed capable of relatively rapid genomic variations during replication, some of which result in altered glycoprotein structures and antigenic variants which are responsible for the unique periodic disease nature observed in persistently infected animals. The findings of envelope specific differences in isolates of visna virus and of human T-cell lymphotropic virus III (acquired immune deficiency syndrome-related virus) suggest that this variation may be a common characteristic of the subfamily Lentivirinae.
author list (cited authors)
Salinovich, O., Payne, S. L., Montelaro, R. C., Hussain, K. A., Issel, C. J., & Schnorr, K. L.