Fig.1 The PRRSV particle. (Music & Gagnon, 2010)
Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), also known as blue ear disease, is a crippling viral disease that first appeared in the late 1980s. The PRRS virus (PRRSV) was first isolated in Europe and North America in the early 1990s. Since then, it has become a major pathogen in swine herds all over the world. PRRS causes reproductive impairment or failure in breeding animals, as well as respiratory disease in pigs of any age. In the PRRSV genome, deletions, insertions, and recombinations have occurred frequently, resulting in a wide range of viral strains.
Because of inherent errors in RNA transcription, the genome of the PRRS virus has significant heterogeneity. Comparisons of prototype isolates from Europe and North America revealed significant genetic differences, which were supported by antigenic data. As a result, PRRSV isolates are divided into two genotypes: North American (NA) or PRRSV-2 and European (EU) or PRRSV-1, with only 65% sequence identity.
PRRSV is a member of the Arteriviridae family in the Nidovirales order. The virion of PRRSV is pleiomorphic. It has a diameter of 50 to 74 nm and is round or egg-shaped. PRRSV is a single-stranded positive-sense RNA virus with an envelope. The viral genome is 15 kb in size and has ten open reading frames (ORFs): ORF1a, ORF1b, ORF2a, ORF2b, ORF3, ORF4, ORF5a, ORF5b, ORF6, ORF7. ORF1a and ORF1b encode two long non-structural polyproteins, pp1a and pp1ab, which are then processed into many functional nonstructural proteins (nsps) required for virus replication, genomic transcription, viral pathogenesis, and virulence. Other ORFs encode structural proteins such as glycoprotein 2 (GP2), envelope protein (E), GP3, GP4, GP5/5a, membrane protein (M), and nucleocapsid protein (N). GP2a, GP3, and GP4 form a hetero-trimer complex that aids virus entry. Both virion formation and viral infectivity require GP5, M protein, and N protein.
Fig.2 Genome structure and mature viral particle of PRRSV virus. (Ludwig-Begall, et al., 2021)
|Structural Proteins||ORF2a||Glycoprotein 2 (GP2)|
|ORF2b||Envelope protein (E)|
|ORF3||Glycoprotein 3 (GP3)|
|ORF4||Glycoprotein 4 (GP4)|
|ORF5||Glycoprotein 5 (GP5)|
|ORF5a||Glycoprotein 5a (GP5a)|
|ORF6||Membrane (M) protein|
|ORF7||Nucleocapsid protein (N)|
Table 1. PRRSV genome and its proteins.
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