Generation and characterization of koi herpesvirus recombinants lacking viral enzymes of nucleotide metabolism
Koi herpesvirus (KHV) causes a fatal disease in koi and common carp, but no reliable and genetically characterized vaccines are available up to now. Therefore, we generated KHV recombinants possessing deletions within the viral ribonucleotide reductase (RNR), thymidine kinase (TK), dUTPase, or TK and dUTPase genes, and their corresponding rescuants. All KHV mutants were replication competent in cultured cells. Whereas plaque sizes and titers of RNR-negative KHV were reduced, replication of the other mutants was not affected. Experimental infection of carp indicated attenuation of TK- or dUTPase-deleted KHV, and PCR analysis of tissue samples permitted differentiation of mutant from wild-type virus.