We have established that in the Becker strain of pseudorabies virus (PRV), the glycoprotein gIII gene is not essential for growth in cell culture. This was accomplished by construction and analysis of viral mutants containing two defined deletion mutations affecting the gIII gene. These mutations were first constructed in vitro and introduced into Escherichia coli expression plasmids to verify structure and protein production. Each mutation was then crossed onto PRV by cotransfection of plasmid DNA and parenteral viral DNA by using gIII-specific monoclonal antibodies as selective and screening reagents. One resultant virus strain, PRV-2, contained an in-frame deletion of a 402-base-pair (bp) SacI fragment contained within the gIII gene. Another virus strain, PRV-10, contained a deletion of a 1,480-bp XhoI fragment removing 230 bp of the upstream, putative transcriptional control sequences and 87% of the gIII coding sequence. The deletion mutants were compared with parental virus by analysis of virion DNA, gIII specific RNA, and proteins reacting with gIII specific antibodies. Upon infection of PK15 cells, the deletion mutants did not produce any proteins that reacted with two gIII specific monoclonal antibodies. However, two species of truncated glycosylated proteins were observed in PRV-2 infected cells that reacted with antiserum raised against bacterially produced gIII protein. PRV-10 produced no detectable gIII-specific RNA or protein. PRV-10 could be propagated without difficulty in tissue culture. Virus particles lacking gIII were indistinguishable from parental PRV virus particles by analysis of infected-cell thin sections in the electron microscope. We therefore conclude that expression of the gIII gene was not absolutely essential for PRV growth in tissue culture.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science