Deletion of LORF9 but not LORF10 attenuates Marek's disease virus pathogenesis. Academic Article uri icon


  • Marek's disease virus (MDV) genome contains a number of uncharacterized long open reading frames (LORF) and their role in viral pathogenesis has not been fully investigated. Among them, LORF9 (MDV069) and LORF10 (MDV071) are locate at the right terminus of the MDV genome unique long region (UL). To investigate their role in MDV pathogenesis, we generated LORF9 or LORF10 deletion and revertant viruses. In vitro growth kinetics results show that both LORF9 and LORF10 are not essential for virus growth in cell culture. However, LORF9, but not LORF10, is involved in MDV early cytolytic replication in vivo, as evidenced by limited viral antigen expression in lymphoid organs of LORF9 deletion virus inoculated chickens. MDV genome copy number data further confirmed that LORF9 is important for MDV replication in spleen during early cytolytic phase. Deletion of LORF9 also partially impairs the replication of MDV in feather follicle epithelium (FFE); however, it can still establish latency and transformation. In addition, pathogenesis studies show that deletion of LORF9, but not LORF10, result in significant reduction of MDV induced mortality and slightly reduce MDV associated tumors of inoculated chickens. Importantly, we confirmed these results with the generation of LORF9 and LORF10 revertant viruses that fully restore the phenotypes of parental MDV. In conclusion, our results show that deletion of LORF9, but not LORF10, significantly impair viral replication in lymphoid organs during early cytolytic phase and attenuate Marek's disease virus pathogenesis.

published proceedings

  • Vet Microbiol

author list (cited authors)

  • Liao, Y., Sun, A., Zhuang, G., Lupiani, B., & Reddy, S. M.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Liao, Yifei||Sun, Aijun||Zhuang, Guoqing||Lupiani, Blanca||Reddy, Sanjay M

publication date

  • December 2020