Veterinary microbiology

Effects of the nuclear localization of the N(pro) protein of classical swine fever virus on its virulence in pigs.

PMID 25457365


The N(pro) protein of classical swine fever virus (CSFV) is localized in the cytoplasm and nucleus. However, it is unknown whether the nuclear localization of N(pro) correlates with the virulence of CSFV in the host. Previously, we showed that the N(pro) protein fused with interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF3) was present only in the cytoplasm. Here, we generated and evaluated a recombinant CSFV vSM-IRF3 harboring the IRF3 gene inserted into the N(pro) gene of the highly virulent CSFV Shimen strain. Compared to the even nuclear and cytoplasmic distribution of the enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP)-N(pro) fusion expressed by the recombinant CSFV EGFP-CSFV, vSM-IRF3 expressed an IRF3-N(pro) fusion protein that only was localized in the cytoplasm. vSM-IRF3 was markedly attenuated in vitro and in vivo, and the inoculated pigs were completely protected from lethal CSFV challenge, whereas the parental virus as well as EGFP-CSFV exhibited a typical virulent phenotype. Taken together, the nuclear localization of N(pro) plays a significant role in the CSFV replication and virulence.