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Viruses 2016, 8(9), 262; doi:10.3390/v8090262

Zebra Alphaherpesviruses (EHV-1 and EHV-9): Genetic Diversity, Latency and Co-Infections

1
Leibniz-Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Alfred-Kowalke-Strasse 17, Berlin 10315, Germany
2
Institut für Virologie, Freie Universität Berlin, Robert-von-Ostertag-Str. 7-13, Berlin 14163, Germany
3
School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
4
Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde, Am Tierpark 125, Berlin 10307, Germany
5
Department of Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universität Berlin, Oertzenweg 19, Berlin 14163, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Joanna Parish
Received: 21 July 2016 / Revised: 12 September 2016 / Accepted: 14 September 2016 / Published: 20 September 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Viruses)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1572 KB, uploaded 20 September 2016]   |  

Abstract

Alphaherpesviruses are highly prevalent in equine populations and co-infections with more than one of these viruses’ strains frequently diagnosed. Lytic replication and latency with subsequent reactivation, along with new episodes of disease, can be influenced by genetic diversity generated by spontaneous mutation and recombination. Latency enhances virus survival by providing an epidemiological strategy for long-term maintenance of divergent strains in animal populations. The alphaherpesviruses equine herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1) and 9 (EHV-9) have recently been shown to cross species barriers, including a recombinant EHV-1 observed in fatal infections of a polar bear and Asian rhinoceros. Little is known about the latency and genetic diversity of EHV-1 and EHV-9, especially among zoo and wild equids. Here, we report evidence of limited genetic diversity in EHV-9 in zebras, whereas there is substantial genetic variability in EHV-1. We demonstrate that zebras can be lytically and latently infected with both viruses concurrently. Such a co-occurrence of infection in zebras suggests that even relatively slow-evolving viruses such as equine herpesviruses have the potential to diversify rapidly by recombination. This has potential consequences for the diagnosis of these viruses and their management in wild and captive equid populations. View Full-Text
Keywords: EHV-1; EHV-9; zebra; latency; diversity; co-occurrence EHV-1; EHV-9; zebra; latency; diversity; co-occurrence
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Abdelgawad, A.; Damiani, A.; Ho, S.Y.W.; Strauss, G.; Szentiks, C.A.; East, M.L.; Osterrieder, N.; Greenwood, A.D. Zebra Alphaherpesviruses (EHV-1 and EHV-9): Genetic Diversity, Latency and Co-Infections. Viruses 2016, 8, 262.

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