Bluetongue is a non-contagious infectious viral disease spread by insects that is caused by the Bluetongue virus (BTV). BTV is the most common orbivirus in the Reoviridaefamily. It is capable of infecting all wild and domestic ruminants, including sheep, goats, cattle, buffaloes, deer, and the majority of African antelope and camel species. The vast majority of animals are immune to BTV, but it only causes serious disease in sheep. Bluetongue disease was discovered in southern Africa in the 1800s. This virus has spread rapidly over the last few decades, with 27 serotypes identified to date. The severity of the disease depends on the serotype and species involved.
The BTV particles have a non-enveloped, icosahedral, double-capsid structure with a 75 nm inner core and a 90 nm outer capsid. BTV's genome is a linear double-strand RNA that is 19kb in length. The genome is divided into ten segments, each of which encodes seven structural proteins (VP1-VP7) and five nonstructural proteins (NS1, NS2, NS3/3a, and NS4). The viral particle's outer shell contains 60 triskelion-like VP2 spikes surrounded by 120 globular trimers of VP5, the membrane penetration protein. VP2 and VP5 are highly variable among serotypes, implying that mutations may have played a significant role in the evolution of multiple serotypes. The intermediate layer is made up of 260 trimers of the major immunodominant VP7 structural protein. The inner capsid core is made up of VP3 monomers as well as VP1, VP4, and VP6.
Fig.2 Schematic of BTV particle. (Rodríguez-Martín, et al., 2013)
|Structural Proteins||Outer Shell||Segment 2||VP2||Cell attachment and virus entry|
|Segment 6||VP5||Cell attachment and virus entry|
|Middle Shell||Segment 7||VP7||Attachment and penetration|
|Inner Shell||Segment 3||VP3||Viral RNA replication and virion assembly|
|Segment 1||VP1||RNA-dependent RNA polymerase|
|Segment 4||VP4||Guanylyltransferase or transmethylase|
|Segment 9||VP6||RNA helicase|
|Non-structural Proteins||Core||Segment 5||NS1||Promotes viral protein expression|
|Segment 8||NS2||RNA binding protein|
|Segment 10||NS3/NS3a||Virion egress and IFN antagonism|
|Segment 9||NS4||Promotes viral replication|
Table 1 The BTV proteins and functions.
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