Targeted modification of the foot-and-mouth disease virus genome for quick cell culture adaptation
Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) causes the highly contagious foot-and-mouth disease, which is characterized by the appearance of vesicles in and around the mouth and feet of cloven-hoofed animals. BHK-21 cells are the cell line of choice for the propagation of FMDV for vaccine production worldwide but vary in their susceptibility for different FMDV strains. Previous studies showed that the FMDV resistance of a certain BHK cell line can be overcome by using a closely related but permissive cell line for the pre-adaptation of the virus, but the adapted strains were found to harbor several capsid mutations. In this study, these adaptive mutations were introduced into the original Asia-1 Shamir isolate individually or in combination to create a panel of 17 Asia-1 mutants by reverse genetics and examine the effects of the mutations on receptor usage, viral growth, immunogenicity and stability. A single amino acid exchange from glutamic acid to lysine at position 202 in VP1 turned out to be of major importance for productive infection of the suspension cell line BHK-2P. In consequence, two traditionally passage-derived strains and two recombinant viruses with a minimum set of mutations were tested in vivo. While the passaged-derived viruses showed a reduced particle stability, the genetically modified viruses were more stable but did not confer a protective immune response against the original virus isolate.