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Open AccessArticle

FCoV Viral Sequences of Systemically Infected Healthy Cats Lack Gene Mutations Previously Linked to the Development of FIP

1
Clinical Laboratory, Department of Clinical Diagnostics and Services and Center for Clinical Studies, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, CH 8057 Zurich, Switzerland
2
Institute of Veterinary Pathology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, CH 8057 Zurich, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Pathogens 2020, 9(8), 603; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9080603
Received: 31 May 2020 / Revised: 19 July 2020 / Accepted: 20 July 2020 / Published: 24 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feline Infectious Peritonitis)
Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)—the deadliest infectious disease of young cats in shelters or catteries—is induced by highly virulent feline coronaviruses (FCoVs) emerging in infected hosts after mutations of less virulent FCoVs. Previous studies have shown that some mutations in the open reading frames (ORF) 3c and 7b and the spike (S) gene have implications for the development of FIP, but mainly indirectly, likely also due to their association with systemic spread. The aim of the present study was to determine whether FCoV detected in organs of experimentally FCoV infected healthy cats carry some of these mutations. Viral RNA isolated from different tissues of seven asymptomatic cats infected with the field strains FCoV Zu1 or FCoV Zu3 was sequenced. Deletions in the 3c gene and mutations in the 7b and S genes that have been shown to have implications for the development of FIP were not detected, suggesting that these are not essential for systemic viral dissemination. However, deletions and single nucleotide polymorphisms leading to truncations were detected in all nonstructural proteins. These were found across all analyzed ORFs, but with significantly higher frequency in ORF 7b than ORF 3a. Additionally, a previously unknown homologous recombination site was detected in FCoV Zu1. View Full-Text
Keywords: healthy FCoV carriers; FIP; mutations; S gene; ORF3; ORF7; experimental infection healthy FCoV carriers; FIP; mutations; S gene; ORF3; ORF7; experimental infection
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Lutz, M.; Steiner, A.R.; Cattori, V.; Hofmann-Lehmann, R.; Lutz, H.; Kipar, A.; Meli, M.L. FCoV Viral Sequences of Systemically Infected Healthy Cats Lack Gene Mutations Previously Linked to the Development of FIP. Pathogens 2020, 9, 603.

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