Borna disease virus (BDV) infection produces a variety of clinical diseases, from behavioral illnesses to classical fatal encephalitis (i.e., Borna disease [BD]). Since the genomes of most BDV isolates differ by less than 5%, host factors are believed responsible for much of the reported variability in disease expression. The contribution of BDV genomic differences to variation in BD expression is largely unexplored. Here we compared the clinical outcomes of rats infected with one of two related BDV variants, CRP3 or CRNP5. Compared to rats inoculated with CRP3, adult and newborn Lewis rats inoculated with CRNP5 had more severe and rapidly fatal neurological disease, with increased damage to the hippocampal pyramidal neurons and rapid infection of brain stem neurons. To identify possible virus-specific contributions to the observed variability in disease outcome, the genomes of CRP3 and CRNP5 were sequenced. Compared to CRP3, there were four nucleotide changes in the CRNP5 variant, two each in the G protein and in the L polymerase, resulting in four amino acid changes. These results suggest that small numbers of genomic differences between BDV variants in the G protein and/or L polymerase can contribute to the variability in BD outcomes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science