A novel bromodeoxyuridine-resistant wild boar lung cell line facilitates generation of African swine fever virus recombinants

Manipulation of African swine fever virus (ASFV) genomes, in particular those from field strains, is still a challenge. We have shown recently that generation of a green-fluorescent-protein-expressing, thymidine-kinase-negative (TK−) mutant of the low-pathogenic African swine fever virus field strain NHV was supported by a TK− Vero cell line. Since NHV, like other ASFV field strains, does not replicate well in Vero cells, a bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU)- resistant cell line derived from wild boar lung (WSL) cells, named WSL-Bu, was selected. WSL cells were used because they are suitable for productive replication of NHV and other ASFV field strains. Here, we show that WSL-Bu cells enable positive selection of both TK− and TK+ ASFV recombinants, which allows for novel strategies for construction of ASFV mutants. We further demonstrate for a low-pathogenic ASFV strain that TK expression is required for infectious replication in macrophages infected at low multiplicity and that vaccinia TK fully complements ASFV TK in this respect.

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