Journal of virology

Interspecific recombination between two ruminant alphaherpesviruses, bovine herpesviruses 1 and 5.

PMID 15331717


Homologous recombination between different species of alphaherpesviruses has been described between herpes simplex viruses 1 and 2 but has not yet been observed between other alphaherpesviruses. In the present study we chose to assess to what extent in vitro recombination can occur between members of a well-defined group of closely related viruses such as ruminant alphaherpesviruses. At 24 h after infection of epithelial bovine kidney cells with a double-deleted mutant of bovine herpesvirus 1 (BoHV-1) (containing green fluorescent protein and red fluorescent protein genes) and different ruminant alphaherpesviruses, four types of progeny viruses were detected and distinguished according to their phenotype. Frequent recombination events between identical or different strains of BoHV-1 were observed (up to 30%), whereas only two BoHV-1/BoHV-5 recombinants were identified, and no recombinants between BoHV-1 and less closely related caprine and cervine herpesviruses were detected. Restriction analysis of the genomes of the two BoHV-1/BoHV-5 recombinants showed different genetic backgrounds. One possessed a restriction pattern close to BoHV-1, whereas the other one was close to BoHV-5. This exhaustive analysis of each combination of coinfection in a unique situation of five closely related alphaherpesviruses revealed the importance of a high degree of genetic relatedness and similar parental virus growth kinetics for successful interspecific recombination.