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Maedi-visna virus persistence: Antigenic variation and latency

TitleMaedi-visna virus persistence: Antigenic variation and latency
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsArnarson, H, Pálsson, A, Gudnadóttir, M, Andrésdóttir, V
JournalComparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Maedi-visna virus (MVV), a lentivirus of sheep, shares with other lentiviruses the ability to establish a lifelong infection. In this study five sheep were infected intravenously with MVV and housed together with a number of uninfected sheep for natural transmission. All virus isolates from ten sheep that had been infected naturally had multiple mutations in the principal neutralization domain in Env and were antigenic variants, while three of four isolates from the carrier sheep had identical sequences to the infecting strain and were not antigenic variants.
There was evidence of positive selection in the gene, particularly in amino acids comprising the neutralization epitope and some adjacent glycosylation sites. Together these results suggest that virus persistence is acquired by a reservoir of latent viruses, and that there is selection for antigenic variants of virus that is transmitted naturally.
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