- Open Access
Molecular investigation of bovine viral diarrhea virus infection in yaks (Bos gruniens) from Qinghai, China
© Gong et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2014
Received: 21 November 2013
Accepted: 11 February 2014
Published: 14 February 2014
Bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) is a pestivirus which infects both domestic animals and wildlife species worldwide. In China, cattle are often infected with BVDV of different genotypes, but there is very limited knowledge regarding BVDV infection in Chinese yaks and the genetic diversity of the virus. The objectives of this study were to detect viral infection in yaks in Qinghai, China and to determine the genotypes of BVDV based on analysis of the 5′untranslated region (5′UTR) and N-terminal protease (Npro) region.
Between 2010 and 2012, 407 blood samples were collected from yaks with or without clinical signs in six counties of Qinghai Province. Ninety-eight samples (24%) were found to be positive by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) targeting a conserved region of BVDV-1 and BVDV-2. The nucleotide sequences of the 5′UTR and complete Npro region were determined for 16 positive samples. Phylogenetic reconstructions demonstrated that all 16 samples belong to subgenotypes BVDV-1b, BVDV-1d and BVDV-1q.
This study provides, for the first time, molecular evidence for BVDV infection in yaks in Qinghai involving multiple subgenotypes of BVDV-1. This may have occurred under three possible scenarios: interspecies transmission, natural infection, and the use of vaccines contaminated with BVDV. The results have important implications for yak production and management in China, and specifically indicate that unscientific vaccination practices should be stopped and bio-security increased.
Bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) is one of the most important viral pathogens of cattle worldwide. BVDV is classified into two species, namely BVDV-1 and BVDV-2, within the genus Pestivirus, which also includes border disease virus (BDV) and classical swine fever virus (CSFV) . In addition, an atypical bovine pestivirus, or BVDV-3 , has recently been detected in cattle in South America, Asia and Europe and in contaminated Madin-Darby bovine kidney (MDBK) cells [3–7]. Based on comparisons of the sequences of 5′UTR, Npro and E2 regions, BVDV-1 can be divided into 17 subgenotypes (1a-1q), and BVDV-2 into four subgenotypes (2a-2d) [8–13]. BVDV exists as two biotypes, designated cytopathic (CP) or noncytopathic (NCP) according to their ability to cause cytopathic effects in cell cultures . The host range of BVDV is extensive, including cattle, sheep, goats, swine, yaks, deer and members of the Camelidae family [15, 16]. Although cattle are generally believed to be the main source of BVDV infection, the prevalence of BVDV in the Chinese pig population has increased in recent years . Bactrian camels have also been found to be infected with BVDV in western China . Currently, nine subgenotypes are circulating among multiple hosts in China: BVDV-1a, BVDV-1b, BVDV-1c, BVDV-1d, BVDV-1 m, BVDV-1o, BVDV-1p, BVDV-1q and BVDV-2a [9, 10, 18–21].
The yak (Bos grunniens) is a unique bovine species that lives at high altitude (above 3,000 m) in China, Mongolia, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Russia, and other countries . The yak population is estimated at around 14.2 million in total, of which 13.3 million yaks live in the Chinese territories and 5 million in Qinghai province alone. The ecosystem involving yaks in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is thought to be complex, because yaks share pastures and water with cattle, sheep, goats, camels, and even wild animals. This creates a great potential for interspecies transmission of pathogens such as BVDV. Indeed, a recent study has demonstrated infection of Bactrian camels with a BVDV strain that is closely related to the virus found in cattle . Routine vaccination of yaks against bovine viral diarrhea using the CSFV C-strain live vaccine has been applied on some farms in this region since the early 1980s [23, 24]. Such a practice might have introduced more problems for the prevention and control of diseases in the yak.
Since the first serological detection of BVDV infection in yaks in Qinghai, China , numerous investigations have documented a seroprevalence of BVDV antibodies ranging from 0.56% to 72.14% [26–29]. While a molecular epidemiological survey of BVDV in yaks has been conducted in the Himalayan region , it is unclear if a similar situation of BVDV infections in the Chinese yaks. The objectives of this study were to gain knowledge and to better understand the complex nature of BVDV infection in yaks in western China.
Results and discussion
A 230-bp fragment of the 5′UTR and the entire 504-bp Npro coding region were amplified by RT-PCR from RNA extracted from blood samples. A total of 98 (24%) out of 407 blood samples were BVDV positive. The percentages of BVDV-positive samples were 20.5% (16/78) in Yushu, 18.8% (13/69) in Zhiduo, 35.5% (16/45) in Zeku, 35.2% (30/85) in Dari, 16.9% (10/59) in Xinghai, and 18.3% (13/71) in Dulan.
In western China, BVD has been reported previously in cattle and Bactrian camels with a prevalence of 43% and 46.4%, respectively [10, 18]. Given that yaks, cattle and even camels live close together, they may have direct and indirect contact each other, allowing easy transmission of BVDV among them. However, serological tests may not reflect BVDV infection in yaks reliably because of unscientific use of CSFV C-strain live vaccine in yaks in these regions. Therefore, molecular investigation within the BVDV-infected herds, nucleotide sequencing and phylogenetic analysis will contribute to a better understanding of the evolutionary pathways of BVDV infection.
Seven yaks from three counties were infected with BVDV-1q. Unexpectedly, the viral sequences from five yaks in Yushu and Zhiduo counties shared a close relationship with BVDV strain SD0803 of porcine origin in Shandong province and 11N94 of cattle origin in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region (Figure 2). SD0803 was isolated from a diseased pig in China , and five other closely related viruses were found in three provinces of China . It has been suggested that vaccination of pigs with a BVDV-contaminated C-strain live vaccine might be an important route of infection in pigs, as BVDV contamination in the C-strain vaccine has been reported in China . There are no accurate data on the cattle from which the BVDV 11N94 was detected, and therefore it cannot be established definitively whether the 11N94 infection occurred naturally or through contaminated biological products. Clustering of the two viruses with camel-6 of camel origin and 11X80 of bovine origin indicated interspecies transmission; however, the direction of transmission is unknown.
BVDV-1b is considered to be a predominant BVDV-1 subgenotype circulating in Chinese cattle [9, 18]. Surprisingly, four yaks from two counties were infected with BVDV-1b strains that were closely related to sequences from a BVDV vaccine Vedevac, with strong support in both the 5′UTR and Npro phylogenies. Vedevac was found as the main virus strain in batches of BVDV vaccine Oregon C24V in Hungary, and it was likely to have been picked up accidently during passages of the original Oregon C24V for vaccine development between the 1960s and 1990s . In China, the Oregon C24V vaccine has been distributed to different laboratories as a reference strain for BVDV, but it has never been used for vaccination against BVDV in yaks in this region. The 16 samples in this study had not been passaged in cell culture. Therefore cell culture contamination is unlikely to be the origin of the viruses found. The phyologenetic positioning of Vedevac among the four yak BVDV strains and additional cattle BVDV sequences in the 5′UTR tree suggests that BVDV strains circulating in yaks and other animal species in Western Asia/Eastern Europe may represent gene pools where the Vedevac derived from.
Yaks in Yushu and Dulan counties were infected with BVDV-1d, which further demonstrates the complex nature of BVDV infection in the Chinese yaks. BVDV-1d infection in cattle has been reported previously in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region , and also in cell cultures contaminated with a virus named “cell-con-1” (GenBank no. KC695816). In addition, BVDV-1d is common in central European countries including Poland, Austria, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Turkey, and East Asian countries such as Japan [13, 34–40].
This report has demonstrated that yaks in the western China are infected with multiple subgenotypes of BVDV-1 under several possible scenarios such as interspecies transmission, vaccination with contaminated CSFV C-strain vaccine and natural infection. The BVDV circulating in yaks and other animal species in Western Asia/Eastern Europe may be the genetic source for viruses found in the BVDV vaccine strain Oregon C24V. Further studies are required to elucidate the exact origins of BVDV transmission in yaks. Finally, the results suggested the importance of urgently correcting unscientific vaccination practices in yak production in China.
Materials and methods
Before blood samples collection, we contacted local veterinary practitioners and the owners of the animals and obtained their permission. All the experimental protocols were approved by the Animal Ethics Committee of Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Lanzhou, China.
Blood samples from 407 yaks in six counties of Qinghai Province (31°45′-36°10′N, 89°27′-97°39′E), namely Yushu, Zhiduo, Dari, Zeku, Xinghai and Dulan, were used for this study (Figure 1). The samples were collected by local veterinary practitioners and transported to our veterinary diagnostic laboratory at low temperatures during August 2010 to January 2012. The yak population of these regions represents 25% of all yaks in Qinghai. According to local veterinarians, routine vaccination with CSFV live vaccine was performed in about 15%-20% of the yaks in the sampled areas, and there were no precise data available on the use of other live vaccines. A total of 13 tested animals from Zeku county exhibited clinical signs of diarrhea, while the rest were clinically healthy at the time of sampling.
RNA extraction and cDNA synthesis
RNA was extracted from whole blood using a QIAamp viral RNA mini kit (Qiagen, USA). Virus cDNA was constructed by reverse transcription performed using an M-MLV first strand kit (Invitrogen, Shanghai, China) with random primer in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. The cDNA samples were cooled to 4°C, and then either used directly for PCR or stored at -20°C.
RT-PCR and nucleotide sequencing
In order to determine the nucleotide sequences of the BVDV samples, two sets of common primers for BVDV-1 and BVDV-2 (F1 5′-GCCATGCCCTTAGTAGGACT-3′, and R1 5′-CACCCTATCAGGCTGTRTYC-3′, F2 5′-CTCTGCTGTACATGGCACAT-3′ and R2 5′-GAGCAGCTKGTGACCCATAR-3′) were designed on the basis of the conserved regions of reference strains. The primer pair F1/R1 resulted in a 230-bp fragment of the 5′UTR after amplification whereas the primer pair F2/R2 amplified the product containing entire Npro region. The PCR amplification was conducted in a total volume of 25 μl containing 12.5 μl Premix Ex Taq (TaKaRa, Dalian, China), 2 μl cDNA, 9.5 μl sterilized H2O, and 0.5 μM each of the primers. The PCR cycling involved 94°C for 5 min, followed by 30 cycles at 94°C for 45 s, 61°C for 45 s and 72°C for 1 min, with a final elongation step at 72°C for 10 min. The amplified products were analyzed by 1.5% agarose gel electrophoresis. Sixteen samples which represented six counties in Qinghai were chosen from among the 98 positive samples for sequencing. The PCR products were purified with the TaKaRa Agarose Gel DNA Purification Kit Ver.2.0 and were cloned into the pMD-18 T vector (TaKaRa, Dalian, China). The recombinant plasmids were sequenced with the primers M13F and M13R at the Nanjing GenScript Biotech Co., Ltd., Nanjing, China.
Sequence data were assembled and analyzed using the DNAStar version 7.0 package (DNAStar Inc., USA). Multiple sequences were aligned using the CLUSTALW program with the corresponding regions of BVDV-1, BVDV-2, atypical BVDV and CSFV reference sequences retrieved from GenBank. Phylogenetic reconstructions for genotyping were compiled using the 230-bp fragment of the 5′UTR and the entire 504-bp Npro coding region, and phylogenetic trees were constructed under Kimura two-paramer model using MEGA version 4.1. The reliability of the neighbor-joining tree was estimated by boostrap analysis with 1,000 replicates.
This work was supported by the grants from NBCITS, MOA (CARS-38).
- Pletnev A, Gould E, Heinz FX, Meyers G, Thiel H-J, Bukh J, Stiasny K, Collett MS, Becher P, Simmonds P, Rice CM, Monath TP: Flaviviridae. Virus Taxonomy. Edited by: King AMQ, Adams MJ, Carstens EB, Lefkowitz EJ. 2011, Oxford: Academic, 1003-1020. 9Google Scholar
- Liu L, Xia H, Wahlberg N, Belák S, Baule C: Phylogeny, classification and evolutionary insights into pestiviruses. Virology. 2009, 385: 351-357. 10.1016/j.virol.2008.12.004.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Stalder HP, Meier PH, Pfaffen G, Wageck-Canal C, Rüfenacht J, Schaller P, Bachofen C, Marti S, Vogt HR, Peterhans E: Genetic heterogeneity of pestiviruses of ruminants in Switzerland. Prev Vet Med. 2005, 72: 37-41. 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2005.01.020.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Ståhl K, Kampa J, Alenius S, Persson Wadman A, Baule C, Aiumlamai S, Belák S: Natural infection of cattle with an atypical ‘HoBi’-like pestivirus-implications for BVD control and for the safety of biological products. Vet Res. 2007, 38: 517-523. 10.1051/vetres:2007012.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Liu L, Kampa J, Belák S, Baule C: Virus recovery and full-length sequence analysis of atypical bovine pestivirus Th/04 KhonKaen. Vet Microbiol. 2009, 138: 62-68. 10.1016/j.vetmic.2009.03.006.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Decaro N, Lucente MS, Mari V, Cirone F, Cordioli P, Camero M, Sciarretta R, Losurdo M, Lorusso E, Bunoavoglia C: Atypical pestivirus and severe respiratory disease in calves, Europe. Emerg Infect Dis. 2011, 17: 1549-1552.PubMedPubMed CentralView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Mao L, Li WL, Zhang WW, Yang LL, Jiang JY: Genome sequence of a Novel Hobi-Like Pestivirus in China. J Virol. 2012, 86: 12444-10.1128/JVI.02159-12.PubMedPubMed CentralView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Jackova A, Novackova M, Pelletier C, Audeval C, Gueneau E, Haffar A, Petit E, Rehby L, Vilcek S: The extended genetic diversity of BVDV-1: typing of BVDV isolates from France. Res Commun. 2008, 32: 7-11. 10.1007/s11259-007-9012-z.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Xue F, Zhu YM, Li J, Zhu LC, Ren XG, Feng JK, Shi HF, Gao YR: Genotyping of bovine viral diarrhea viruses from cattle in China between 2005 and 2008. Vet Microbiol. 2010, 143: 379-383. 10.1016/j.vetmic.2009.11.010.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Gao S, Luo J, Du J, Lang Y, Cong G, Shao J, Lin T, Zhao F, Belák S, Liu L, Chang H, Yin H: Serological and molecular evidence for natural infection of Bactrian camels with multiple subgenotypes of bovine viral diarrhea virus in Western China. Vet Microbiol. 2013, 163: 172-176. 10.1016/j.vetmic.2012.12.015.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Becher P, Orlich M, Kosmidou A, König M, Baroth M, Thiel HJ: Genetic diversity of pestiviruses: identification of novel groups and implications for classification. Virology. 1999, 262: 64-71. 10.1006/viro.1999.9872.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Flores EF, Ridpath JF, Weiblen R, Vogel FS, Gil LH: Phylogenetic analysis of Brazilian bovine viral diarrhea virus type 2 (BVDV-2) isolates: evidence for a subgenotype within BVDV-2. Virus Res. 2002, 87: 51-60. 10.1016/S0168-1702(02)00080-1.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Tajima M, Frey HR, Yamato O, Maede Y, Moennig V, Scholz H, Greiser-Wilke I: Prevalence of genotypes 1 and 2 of bovine viral diarrhea virus in Lower Saxony, Germany. Virus Res. 2001, 76: 31-42. 10.1016/S0168-1702(01)00244-1.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Nettleton PF, Entrican G: Ruminant pestiviruses. Br Vet J. 1995, 151: 615-642. 10.1016/S0007-1935(95)80145-6.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Walz PH, Grooms DL, Passler T, Ridpath JF, Tremblay R, Step DL, Callan RJ, Givens MD: Control of bovine viral diarrhea virus in ruminants. J Vet Intern Med. 2010, 24: 476-486. 10.1111/j.1939-1676.2010.0502.x.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Wernery U, Kaaden OR: Infectious Diseases in Camelids. 2002, Boston: Blackwell Wissenschafts-Verlag, pp. 161-pp. 236. 2View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Tao J, Liao J, Wang Y, Zhang X, Wang J, Zhu G: Bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) infections in pigs. Vet Microbiol. 2013, 65: 185-189.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Zhong F, Li N, Huang X, Guo Y, Chen H, Wang X, Shi C, Zhang X: Genetic typing and epidemiologic observation of bovine viral diarrhea virus in Western China. Virus Genes. 2011, 42: 204-207. 10.1007/s11262-010-0558-4.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Deng Y, Sun C, Cao S, Lin T, Yuan S, Zhang H, Zhai S, Huang L, Shan T, Zheng H, Wen X, Tong G: High prevalence of bovine viral diarrhea virus 1 in Chinese swine herds. Vet Microbiol. 2012, 159: 490-493. 10.1016/j.vetmic.2012.04.023.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Gong X, Cao X, Zheng F, Chen Q, Zhou J, Yin H, Liu L, Cai X: Identification and characterization of a novel subgenotype of bovine viral diarrhea virus isolated from dairy cattle in Northwestern China. Virus Genes. 2013, 46: 375-376. 10.1007/s11262-012-0861-3.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Zhu LQ, Lin YQ, Ding XY, Ren M, Tao J, Wang JY, Zhang GP, Zhu GQ: Genomic sequencing and characterization of a Chinese isolate of Bovine viral diarrhea virus 2. Acta Virol. 2009, 53: 197-202. 10.4149/av_2009_03_197.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Liu J, Cai JZ, Zhang W, Liu Q, Chen D, Han JP, Liu QR: Seroepidemiology of Neospora caninum and Toxoplasma gondii infection in yaks (Bos grunniens) in Qinghai, China. Vet Parasitol. 2008, 152: 330-332. 10.1016/j.vetpar.2007.12.010.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Qun J: The preventive effect of CSFV live vaccine against bovine viral diarrhea virus in yaks. J Qinghai Anim Husb Vet Med. 2003, 2: 49-(In Chinese)Google Scholar
- Deng YH: Seroprevalence of bovine viral diarrhea infection in Yaks (Bos grunniens) in Zaduo county of Qinghai. Chin Anim Health. 2012, 9: 35-(In Chinese)Google Scholar
- Tang S, Xiao L, Wang R, ZhuoMa J, Guo B: The detection of bovine viral diarrhea virus infected with yak in Qinghai Province. Chin Qinghai J Anim Vet Sci. 1987, 4: 55-(In Chinese)Google Scholar
- Dong C, Lin D, Guan L: Epidemiolgical investigation on bovine viral diarrhea-mucosal disease of yaks in Guoluo region. Chin Qinghai J Anim Vet Sci. 1991, 5: 23-24. (In Chinese)Google Scholar
- Han Z, Juan H, He X, Wei K, E er de ni Z: Serological survey of viral diarrhea / mucosal disease and infectious rhino tracheitis in yaks. Chin J Anim Infect Dis. 2010, 6: 56-59. (In Chinese)Google Scholar
- He X, Han Z: Serological investigation on infectious bovine rhinotracheitis and bovine viral diarrhea in Qinghai province. J Tradit Chin Vet Med. 2011, 1: 29-31. (In Chinese)Google Scholar
- Gao J, Liu M, Meng X, Han Z, Zhang D, Hou B, Zhang K, Sizhu S, Li J: Seroprevalence of bovine viral diarrhea infection in Yaks (Bos grunniens) on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau of China. Trop Anim Health Prod. 2013, 45: 791-793. 10.1007/s11250-012-0290-2.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Mishra N, Vilcek S, Rajukumar K, Dubey R, Tiwari A, Galav V, Pradhan HK: Identification of bovine viral diarrhea virus type 1 in yaks (Bos poephagus grunniens) in the Himalayan region. Res Vet Sci. 2007, 84: 507-510.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Deng Y, Sun C, Zhang H, Lin T, Zhang R, Long J, Huang L, Cao S, Yuan S, Wen X, Zheng H: Isolation and identification of a pig bovine viral diarrhea virus. Acta Veterinaria et Zootechnica Sinica. 2012, 43: 416-423. (In Chinese)Google Scholar
- Fan X, Ning Y, Wang Q, Xu L, Shen Q: Detection of bovine viral diarrhea virus as contaminant in classical swine fever virus live vaccine with RT-PCR. Chin J Vet Med. 2010, 46: 8-10. (In Chinese)Google Scholar
- Bálint A, Baule C, Pálfi V, Belák S: Retrospective genome analysis of a live vaccine strain of bovine viral diarrhea virus. Vet Res. 2005, 36: 89-99. 10.1051/vetres:2004053.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Kuta A, Polak MP, Larska M, Zmudzinski JF: Predominance of bovine viral diarrhea virus 1b and 1d subtypes during eight years of survey in Poland. Vet Microbiol. 2013, Doi:10.1016/j.vetmic.2013.07.002. [Epub ahead of print]Google Scholar
- Vilcek S, Paton DJ, Durkovic B, Strojny L, Ibata G, Moussa A, Loitsch A, Rossmanith W, Vega S, Scicluna MT, Paifi V: Bovine viral diarrhoea virus genotype 1 can be separated into at least eleven genetic groups. Arc Virol. 2001, 146: 99-115. 10.1007/s007050170194.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Falcone E, Cordioli P, Tarantino M, Muscillo M, La Rosa G, Tollis M: Genetic heterogeneity of bovine viral diarrhoea virus in Italy. Vet Res Commun. 2003, 27: 485-494. 10.1023/A:1025793708771.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Robesova B, Kovarcik K, Vilcek S: Genotyping of bovine viral diarrhoea isolates from the Czech Republic. Vet Med. 2009, 54: 393-398.Google Scholar
- Toplak I, Sandvik T, Barlic-Maganja D, Grom J, Paton DJ: Genetic typing of bovine viral diarrhoea virus: most Slovenian isolates are of genotypes 1d and 1f. Vet Microbiol. 2004, 99: 175-185. 10.1016/j.vetmic.2003.12.004.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Kadir Y, Christine F, Barbara BW, Zeki Y, Feray A, Aykut O, Ibrahim B, Sibilina Cedillo R, Heinz-Jürgen T, Matthias K: Genetic heterogeneity of bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) isolates from Turkey: identification of a new subgroup in BVDV-1. Vet Microbiol. 2008, 130: 258-267. 10.1016/j.vetmic.2008.01.016.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Tajima M: The prevalent genotypes of bovine viral diarrhea virus in Japan, Germany and the United States of America. Jpn J Vet Res. 2006, 54: 129-134.PubMedGoogle Scholar
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.