Comparative sequence analysis of the South African vaccine strain and two virulent field isolates of Lumpy skin disease virus.
Kara PD., Afonso CL., Wallace DB., Kutish GF., Abolnik C., Lu Z., Vreede FT., Taljaard LCF., Zsak A., Viljoen GJ., Rock DL.
The genomic sequences of 3 strains of Lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV) (Neethling type) were compared to determine molecular differences, viz. the South African vaccine strain (LW), a virulent field-strain from a recent outbreak in South Africa (LD), and the virulent Kenyan 2490 strain (LK). A comparison between the virulent field isolates indicates that in 29 of the 156 putative genes, only 38 encoded amino acid differences were found, mostly in the variable terminal regions. When the attenuated vaccine strain (LW) was compared with field isolate LD, a total of 438 amino acid substitutions were observed. These were also mainly in the terminal regions, but with notably more frameshifts leading to truncated ORFs as well as deletions and insertions. These modified ORFs encode proteins involved in the regulation of host immune responses, gene expression, DNA repair, host-range specificity and proteins with unassigned functions. We suggest that these differences could lead to restricted immuno-evasive mechanisms and virulence factors present in attenuated LSDV strains. Further studies to determine the functions of the relevant encoded gene products will hopefully confirm this assumption. The molecular design of an improved LSDV vaccine is likely to be based on the strategic manipulation of such genes.