Identification of Two Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus Variants Sharing High Genomic Homology but with Distinct Virulence.Viruses 2019; 11(9)V
Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) causes huge economic loss to the global swine industry. Even though several control strategies have been applied, PRRS is still not effectively controlled due to the continuous emergence of new variants and limited cross-protection by current vaccines. During the routine epidemiological investigation in 2017, two PRRSV variants were identified from a severe abortion farm and a clinically healthy farm, respectively. The viruses were isolated and denominated as XJ17-5 and JSTZ1712-12. Genomic sequencing indicated that their genomes are both 14,960 bp in length sharing 99.45% nucleotide identity. Sequence alignments identified a discontinuous 30-amino-acid deletion and a continuous 120-amino-acid deletion in nsp2 of both isolates. Genome-based phylogenetic analysis confirmed that XJ17-5 and JSTZ1712-12 belong to the HP-PRRSV subtype but form a new branch with other isolates containing the same 150-amino-acid deletion in nsp2. Pathogenic analysis showed that XJ17-5 is highly virulent causing 60% mortality, while JSTZ1712-12 is avirulent for piglets. Furthermore, fragment comparisons identified 34-amino-acid differences between XJ17-5 and JSTZ1712-12 that might be associated with the distinct virulence. The identification of highly homologous HP-PRRSV variants with new genetic feature and distinct virulence contributes to further analyze the pathogenesis and evolution of PRRSV in the field.