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Cattle connection: molecular epidemiology of BVDV outbreaks via rapid nanopore whole-genome sequencing of clinical samples

Background As a global ruminant pathogen, bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) is responsible for the disease Bovine Viral Diarrhea with a variety of clinical presentations and severe economic losses worldwide. Classified within the Pestivirus genus, the species Pestivirus A and B (syn. BVDV-1, BVDV-2) are genetically differentiated into 21 BVDV-1 and four BVDV-2 subtypes. Commonly, the 5’ untranslated region and the Npro protein are utilized for subtyping. However, the genetic variability of BVDV leads to limitations in former studies analyzing genome fragments in comparison to a full-genome evaluation. Results To enable rapid and accessible whole-genome sequencing of both BVDV-1 and BVDV-2 strains, nanopore sequencing of twelve representative BVDV samples was performed on amplicons derived through a tiling PCR procedure. Covering a multitude of subtypes (1b, 1d, 1f, 2a, 2c), sample matrices (plasma, EDTA blood and ear notch), viral loads (Cq-values 19–32) and species (cattle and sheep), ten of the twelve samples produced whole genomes, with two low titre samples presenting 96 % genome coverage. Conclusions Further phylogenetic analysis of the novel sequences emphasizes the necessity of whole-genome sequencing to identify novel strains and supplement lacking sequence information in public repositories. The proposed amplicon-based sequencing protocol allows rapid, inexpensive and accessible obtainment of complete BVDV genomes.

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