Genetic stability of pestivirus genomes cloned into BACs

Thomas Bruun Rasmussen, Ilona Reimann, Åse Uttenthal, Beer Martin

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    Infectious cDNA clones are a prerequisite for directed genetic manipulations of pestivirus genomes to obtain attenuated pestiviruses designed as new modified live DIVA vaccine candidates against classical swine fever. However, the construction of new infectious pestivirus cDNA clones has been hampered due to the large size of the pestivirus genome and due to genetic instability of the cloned cDNA, which in combination with plasmid vectors tend to be unstable and deleterious in the bacterial host. Therefore, new strategies are needed to facilitate construction of stable infectious cDNA clones of pestivirus strains. In a collaborative research project, between DTU Vet and FLI, on the establishment of genetically modified pestiviruses engineered specifically for the DIVA principle, we cloned a series of complete pestivirus genomes, obtained by full-length RT-PCR, directly into the bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) vector “pBeloBAC11”. This BAC vector provides a markedly higher stability of cloned sequences in E. coli compared to plasmids that form the basis for the existing pestivirus cDNA clones. In this study, two of the newly constructed BAC clones were analysed for genetic stability of the cloned pestivirus genomes to demonstrate the suitability of the BAC vector for harbouring pestivirus genomes. Two BAC clones, comprising the complete genomes of BDV Gifhorn (pBeloGif3) and CSFV Paderborn (pBeloPader10) were passaged 15 times in E.coli representing at least 360 bacteria generations. From 15th passage of the BAC clones, the entire 5’ and 3’ ends of the cloned genomes and parts of the open reading frame were sequenced and compared to the sequences of the parent BAC clones. The sequenced areas represent approximately 20 % of the cloned genome. No mutations were observed after the extensive passaging of the cDNA clones in the bacterial host, indicating a highly stable system for cloning and maintenance of complete pestivirus genomes. This work was supported by the by the Danish Research Council for Technology and Production Sciences (DRCTPS grant 274-07-0198) and the EU Network of Excellence, EPIZONE (Contract No FOOD-CT-2006-016236).
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2009
    Publication statusPublished - 2009
    Event3rd Annual Meeting of EPIZONE - Antalya, Turkey
    Duration: 12 May 200915 May 2009
    Conference number: 3


    Conference3rd Annual Meeting of EPIZONE
    Internet address


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