Mutations in feline immunodeficiency (FIV) virus envelope gene V3-V5 regions in FIV-infected cats.Vet Microbiol. 2005 Mar 20; 106(1-2):33-40.VM
The envelope (Env) gene V3-V5 regions of the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) encode the neutralizing epitopes. Since mutations in these regions induce resistance to viral neutralizing antibodies, they may influence the effects of vaccines. To examine the in vivo mutation rate in these regions, we cloned cDNA for the Env gene V3-V5 regions from the PBMC of experimentally FIV-infected cats, and compared the deduced amino acid sequences. Blood or plasma from an FIV Shizuoka strain-infected cat was inoculated into a second group of SPF cats, and their blood or plasma was inoculated into the third group. The amino acid sequence encoded by the viral gene of the first cat was compared with those encoded by the viral genes of a total of eight cats in the second and third groups (two and six cats, respectively). The amino acid sequences in two cats in the second and third groups were 100% homologous and in one cat in the third group was 98.3% homologous to that in the first infected cat. Five cats had the same sequence, which was 97.8% homologous to that in the first infected cat. Three kittens, born 2 months after the inoculation of the FIV Aomori-2 strain into the mother cat, were anti-FIV negative at 4 weeks after birth, but became seropositive at 33 weeks after birth, confirming FIV infection. Comparison of the encoded amino acid sequences of the viral gene in two cats at 48 weeks after birth showed 100% homology to that of the virus inoculated into the mother cat, and the remaining one cat had a single residue substitution, resulting in 99.4% homology. These results suggest that the FIV Env gene V3-V5 regions are stably maintained for at least 1-2 years after infection.