Culicoides-borne orbiviruses, such as bluetongue virus (BTV) and African horse sickness virus (AHSV), are important pathogens that cause animal epidemic diseases leading to significant loss of domestic animals. This study was conducted to identify Culicoides-borne arboviruses and to investigate the associated infections in local livestock in Yunnan, China.
Culicoides were collected overnight in Mangshi City using light traps during August 2013. A virus was isolated from the collected Culicoides and grown using baby hamster kidney (BHK-21), Vero, Madin-Darby bovine kidney (MDBK) and Aedes albopictus (C6/36) cells. Preliminary identification of the virus was performed by polyacrylamide gel (PAGE) analysis. A full-length cDNA copy of the genome was amplified and sequenced. Serological investigations were conducted in local cattle, buffalo and goat using plaque-reduction neutralization tests.
We isolated a viral strain (DH13C120) that caused cytopathogenic effects in BHK-21, Vero, MDBK and C6/36 cells. Suckling mice inoculated intracerebrally with DH13C120 showed signs of fatal neurovirulence. PAGE analysis indicated a genome consisting of 10 segments of double-stranded RNA that demonstrated a 3-3-3-1 pattern, similar to the migrating bands of Tibet orbivirus (TIBOV). Phylogenetic analysis of the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (Pol), sub-core-shell (T2, and outer core (T13) proteins revealed that DH13C120 clustered with TIBOV, and the amino acid sequences of DH13C120 virus shared more than 98% identity with TIBOV XZ0906. However, outer capsid protein VP2 and outer capsid protein VP5 shared only 43.1 and 79.3% identity, respectively, indicating that the DH13C120 virus belongs to TIBOV, and it may represent different serotypes with XZ0906. A serosurvey revealed the presence of neutralizing antibodies with 90% plaque-reduction neutralization against TIBOV DH13C120 in local cattle (44%), buffalo (20%), and goat (4%). Four-fold or higher levels of TIBOV-2-neutralizing antibody titers were detected between the convalescent and acute phases of infection in local livestock.
A new strain of TIBOV was isolated from Culicoides. This study provides the first evidence of TIBOV infection in livestock in Yunnan, China, and suggests that TIBOV could be a potential pathogen in livestock.