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Proteome Analysis of Swine Macrophages after Infection with Two Genotype II African Swine Fever Isolates of Different Pathogenicity

Since the introduction of a highly pathogenic genotype II isolate of the African swine fever virus (ASFV) into Georgia in 2007, African swine fever (ASF) has gone panzootic. Outbreaks have been reported in Europe, Asia and, more recently, Latin America. Thus, ASFV has become a major threat to the pig industry worldwide, as broadly applicable vaccines are not available. While the majority of ASFV strains show high virulence in domestic pigs and wild boar, variations within the ASFV genome have resulted in the emergence of attenuated strains with low or moderate virulence. However, the molecular basis of the differences in virulence has not yet been discovered. To reveal virulence-associated protein expression patterns, we analysed the proteomes of the natural target cells of ASFV, primary porcine macrophages, after infection with two genotype II ASFV strains displaying high (Armenia 2008) and moderate (Estonia 2014) virulence using quantitative mass spectrometry. Very similar expression patterns were observed for the viral genes, and any differences were limited to the deletions within the Estonia 2014 genome. In addition to the canonical ASFV proteins, twelve novel protein products from recently described transcripts were confirmed in both isolates. Pathway analyses showed that both isolates evoked a similar host proteome response, despite their difference in virulence. However, subtle differences in the manipulation of the proteins involved in the proinflammatory response mediated by the MAPK14/p38 signalling cascade were observed.



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