Shuaijie Li #,Kui Guo #,Xuefeng Wang #,Yuezhi Lin,Jinhui Wang,Yaoxin Wang,Cheng Du,Zhe Hu,Xiaojun Wang
Microbiol Spectr.2023 Oct 9:e0259923.doi: 10.1128/spectrum.02599-23. Online ahead of print.
Equine infectious anemia (EIA) has a worldwide distribution and causes severe economic losses to the equine industry. The EIA virus (EIAV) genome sequences from different countries are highly diverse, which poses a great challenge for pathogen identification with PCR. Phylogenetic analysis showed that although gag is the most conserved structural gene, it still has great genome variability. Currently, most existing PCR methods are designed based on the gag gene sequence and therefore do not cover all the viral strains, especially Asian EIAV strains. In this study, we developed a tat-gag-based real-time quantitative PCR (TG-qPCR) for the detection of EIAV by targeting the fragment between the tat and gag genes, which was relatively conserved in all the known EIAV strains. The performance of the TG-qPCR was evaluated against that of the standard qPCR (recommended by WOAH) by testing viral RNA extracted from viral supernatants of EIAVDLV2-6 and EIAVUK3, proviral DNA from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of artificially immunized horses, and virus nucleic acid from EIAV positive serum samples. The TG-qPCR assay had high specificity, sensitivity, and reproducibility. The detection limit of the TG-qPCR assay was 1 copy/reaction for both viral RNA and proviral DNA based on the Poisson distribution. Compared to the qPCR, the TG-qPCR has better inclusivity and can detect not only Asian EIAV strains but also almost all the representative EIAV strains from other continents. The above results show that the TG-qPCR assay could serve as an effective tool for the early diagnosis of clinical EIA disease.IMPORTANCEEquine infectious anemia (EIA) has a worldwide distribution and causes significant losses to the equine industry worldwide. A reliable detection method is necessary to control the transmission of EIA virus (EIAV). Currently, most of the available real-time PCR assays, including the qPCR of recommended by WOAH, are developed according to the sequences of European or American EIAV strains; however, the primers and probe sequences have low homology with Asian EIAV strains. To the best of our knowledge, no qPCR method capable of the well detection of Asian EIAV strains, especially Chinese EIAV strains, has been published to date. The development of a sensitive, specific, and rapid qPCR assay for the detection of the EIAV strains is therefore of great importance.
Keywords: equine infectious anemia; gag gene; real-time quantitative PCR; tat gene.