The coronavirus infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), which primarily affects chickens, causes an acute, contagious respiratory disease. It is a highly contagious avian pathogen that affects the respiratory tracts, digestive tracts, kidneys, and reproductive systems of chickens. IBV has also been shown to infect other avian species, though only chickens appear to become ill. IBV is a type of Coronavirus in the Coronaviridae family. This virus, the first coronavirus discovered, was discovered in the 1930s. In the 1950s, vaccines were first used to help reduce chicken losses. The transcription error rate in the IBV genome is high, and recombination events are frequent, resulting in the emergence of multiple IBV variants. Cross-protection between serotypes, however, is poor due to extensive antigenic variation.
IBV virus has a round structure with long, petal-shaped spikes on the virus surface that is often 100 to 160 nm in diameter. The virus's genome is a single copy of positive-sense single-stranded RNA that is approximately 27.6 kb in size. The IBV genome encodes nine functional genes, four of which are known as main structural proteins, namely spike (S), membrane (M), small envelope (E), and nucleocapsid (N), and five of which are known as nonstructural proteins (Nsps). The S protein is further degraded to produce the outer S1 and membrane-bound S2 proteins. The S1 subunit binds to host receptors specifically, while the S2 subunit is in charge of virus-cell and cell-cell fusion. The S1 contains neutralizing epitopes and cell attachment determinants.
Fig.2 An IBV particle (Collisson, et al., 2000) and genomic structure (Peng, et al., 2022).
This virus's genome is highly variable, resulting in constant changes in surface antigens related to the surface S protein gene. Deletions, insertions, point mutations, and, in some cases, recombination are examples of these changes. Control and prevention can be difficult due to their variability. Coinfection of host cells with live attenuated IB vaccines and wild-type IBV can result in genomic recombination, which can contribute to virus evolution.
Fig.3 IBV evolution. (Lin & Shen, 2017)
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