Meccanismi evolutivi dei parapoxvirus: caratterizzazione genomica di pseudocowpoxvirus e messa a punto di sistemi per lo studio delle ricombinazioni

Vaccari, Francesca (2009) Meccanismi evolutivi dei parapoxvirus: caratterizzazione genomica di pseudocowpoxvirus e messa a punto di sistemi per lo studio delle ricombinazioni, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Epidemiologia e controllo delle zoonosi, 21 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/1687.
Documenti full-text disponibili:
Documento PDF (Italiano) - Richiede un lettore di PDF come Xpdf o Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (14MB) | Anteprima


The Poxviruses are a family of double stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses that cause disease in many species, both vertebrate and invertebrate. Their genomes range in size from 135 to 365 kbp and show conservation in both organization and content. In particular, the central genomic regions of the chordopoxvirus subfamily (those capable of infecting vertebrates) contain 88 genes which are present in all the virus species characterised to date and which mostly occur in the same order and orientation. In contrast, however, the terminal regions of the genomes frequently contain genes that are species or genera-specific and that are not essential for the growth of the virus in vitro but instead often encode factors with important roles in vivo including modulation of the host immune response to infection and determination of the host range of the virus. The Parapoxviruses (PPV), of which Orf virus is the prototypic species, represent a genus within the chordopoxvirus subfamily of Poxviridae and are characterised by their ability to infect ruminants and humans. The genus currently contains four recognised species of virus, bovine papular stomatitis virus (BPSV) and pseudocowpox virus (PCPV) both of which infect cattle, orf virus (OV) that infects sheep and goats, and parapoxvirus of red deer in New Zealand (PVNZ). The ORFV genome has been fully sequenced, as has that of BPSV, and is ~138 kb in length encoding ~132 genes. The vast majority of these genes allow the virus to replicate in the cytoplasm of the infected host cell and therefore encode proteins involved in replication, transcription and metabolism of nucleic acids. These genes are well conserved between all known genera of poxviruses. There is however another class of genes, located at either end of the linear dsDNA genome, that encode proteins which are non-essential for replication and generally dictate host range and virulence of the virus. The non-essential genes are often the most variable within and between species of virus and therefore are potentially useful for diagnostic purposes. Given their role in subverting the host-immune response to infection they are also targets for novel therapeutics. The function of only a relatively small number of these proteins has been elucidated and there are several genes whose function still remains obscure principally because there is little similarity between them and proteins of known function in current sequence databases. It is thought that by selectively removing some of the virulence genes, or at least neutralising the proteins in some way, current vaccines could be improved. The evolution of poxviruses has been proposed to be an adaptive process involving frequent events of gene gain and loss, such that the virus co-evolves with its specific host. Gene capture or horizontal gene transfer from the host to the virus is considered an important source of new viral genes including those likely to be involved in host range and those enabling the virus to interfere with the host immune response to infection. Given the low rate of nucleotide substitution, recombination can be seen as an essential evolutionary driving force although it is likely underestimated. Recombination in poxviruses is intimately linked to DNA replication with both viral and cellular proteins participate in this recombination-dependent replication. It has been shown, in other poxvirus genera, that recombination between isolates and perhaps even between species does occur, thereby providing another mechanism for the acquisition of new genes and for the rapid evolution of viruses. Such events may result in viruses that have a selective advantage over others, for example in re-infections (a characteristic of the PPV), or in viruses that are able to jump the species barrier and infect new hosts. Sequence data related to viral strains isolated from goats suggest that possible recombination events may have occurred between OV and PCPV (Ueda et al. 2003). The recombination events are frequent during poxvirus replication and comparative genomic analysis of several poxvirus species has revealed that recombinations occur frequently on the right terminal region. Intraspecific recombination can occur between strains of the same PPV species, but also interspecific recombination can happen depending on enough sequence similarity to enable recombination between distinct PPV species. The most important pre-requisite for a successful recombination is the coinfection of the individual host by different virus strains or species. Consequently, the following factors affecting the distribution of different viruses to shared target cells need to be considered: dose of inoculated virus, time interval between inoculation of the first and the second virus, distance between the marker mutations, genetic homology. At present there are no available data on the replication dynamics of PPV in permissive and non permissive hosts and reguarding co-infetions there are no information on the interference mechanisms occurring during the simultaneous replication of viruses of different species. This work has been carried out to set up permissive substrates allowing the replication of different PPV species, in particular keratinocytes monolayers and organotypic skin cultures. Furthermore a method to isolate and expand ovine skin stem cells was has been set up to indeep further aspects of viral cellular tropism during natural infection. The study produced important data to elucidate the replication dynamics of OV and PCPV virus in vitro as well as the mechanisms of interference that can arise during co-infection with different viral species. Moreover, the analysis carried on the genomic right terminal region of PCPV 1303/05 contributed to a better knowledge of the viral genes involved in host interaction and pathogenesis as well as to locate recombination breakpoints and genetic homologies between PPV species. Taken together these data filled several crucial gaps for the study of interspecific recombinations of PPVs which are thought to be important for a better understanding of the viral evolution and to improve the biosafety of antiviral therapy and PPV-based vectors.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Vaccari, Francesca
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze veterinarie
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Data di discussione
28 Aprile 2009

Altri metadati

Statistica sui download

Gestione del documento: Visualizza la tesi