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Title: A reverse genetics approach to study the pathogenesis of pneumonia virus of mice
Author: Sadigh, Yashar Mohammadzadeh
ISNI:       0000 0004 2709 4377
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2011
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Human and bovine respiratory syncytial viruses (HRSV and BRSV), along with pneumonia virus of mice (PVM) are the members of the genus Pneumovirus in the subfamily Pneumovirinae of the family Paramyxoviridae. Although both HRSV and BRSV have been associated with important diseases in human and livestock, there is no clearcut description of the molecular aspects of their pathogenesis. For HRSV, the lack of a suitable study model is one of the main reasons hampering the study of aspects of pathogenesis of the virus. HRSV infects a wide range of animal models, however most of the common laboratory animal models are not sufficiently permissive to study the infectivity of the virus. PVM naturally infects mice and causes a disease indistinguishable from that of HRSV in humans. Two strains of PVM have been described: strain 15 (Warwick) which is not pathogenic and strain J3666 which is highly pathogenic. The main difference between these two strains lies in the organisation of the gene encoding the attachment (G) glycoprotein. The G gene in strain J3666 has two ORFs. The larger second ORF codes for the G glycoprotein and is located downstream of the first ORF which has no known function. The strain 15 G gene also contains two ORFs but in this case both the first and main ORFs overlap each other. The aim of the project was to investigate the molecular basis for pathogenesis of PVM as a model for pneumoviruses. As a first step, the pathogenesis of PVM strain J3666 was revaluated and the effect of consecutive tissue culture passages on the pathogenicity of the virus was examined. It was shown that consecutive passages of PVM strain J3666 caused attenuation of the virus. To investigate the possible mutations causing the attenuation the majority of the virus genome was sequenced from three passage stocks where the transition from pathogenic to non-pathogenic occurred. No differences in the genome sequences for the three passage stocks were found. However, sequence analysis of individual clones of the SH and G genes of the viruses showed evidence that the stocks contained a mixed population of sequences. A robust reverse genetics system was established to rescue recombinant PVM from cDNA using co-transfection of plasmids coding for the ribonucleoprotein complex of the virus (N, L, M2-1 and P proteins) and a cDNA copy of the virus genome cloned under the control of the bacteriophage T7 RNA polymerase. Using this system, four viruses differing in their G gene organisation were generated and used to infect mice to study the effect of mutations on pathogenicity. It was shown that the viruses with the G gene of strain 15 (Warwick) lacking the first ORF manifest a modest increase in their pathogenicity compared to the non-pathogenic PVM strain 15(Warwick) parent. The recombinant viruses containing the G gene organisation of strain J3666 showed the highest level of pathogenicity. The reverse genetics system was used to study the role of the first ORF in G glycoprotein expression. Using a dicistronic minigenome construct, the effect of the presence or absence of the first ORF in both the strain 15 and strain J3666 G gene organisation was studied. It was shown that the presence of the first ORF of the G gene in the strain 15 (Warwick) suppressed the expression of the G protein, while the first ORF in the strain J3666 did not have any significant effect on G protein expression.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Iran. Vizārat-i Bihdāsht, Darmān va Āmūzish-i Pizhishkī [Ministry of Health and Medical Education]
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QL Zoology ; QR355 Virology