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Open Access Kinetics of Transmission, Infectivity, and Genome Stability of Two Novel Mouse Norovirus Isolates in Breeding Mice

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Murine noroviruses are a recently discovered group of viruses found within mouse research colonies in many animal facilities worldwide. In this study, we used 2 novel mouse norovirus (MNV) wildtype isolates to examine the kinetics of transmission and tissue distribution in breeding units of NOD.CB17-Prkdcscid/J and backcrossed NOD.CB17-Prkdcscid/J × NOD/ShiLtJ (N1) mice. Viral shedding in feces and dissemination to tissues of infected offspring mice were monitored by RT-PCR over a 6-wk period postpartum. Histologic sections of tissues from mice exposed to MNV were examined for lesions and their sera monitored for the presence of antibodies to MNV. Viruses shed in feces of parental and offspring mice were compared for sequence homology of the Orf2 gene. Studies showed that the wildtype viruses MNV5 and MNV6 behaved differently in terms of the kinetics of transmission and distribution to tissues of offspring mice. For MNV5, virus transmission from parents to offspring was not seen before 3 wk after birth, and neither isolate was transmitted between cages of infected and control mice. Susceptibility to infection was statistically different between the 2 mouse strains used in the study. Both immunodeficient NOD.CB17-Prkdcscid/J mice and NOD.CB17-Prkdcscid/J × NOD/ShiLtJ offspring capable of mounting an immune response shed virus in their feces throughout the 6-wk study period, but no gross or histologic lesions were present in infected tissues. Progeny viruses isolated from the feces of infected offspring showed numerous mutations in the Orf2 gene for MNV5 but not MNV6. These results confirm previous studies demonstrating that the biology of MNV in mice varies substantially with each virus isolate and mouse strain infected.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Laboratory Animal Health Services Department, The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine 2: Comparative Pathology Laboratory, University of California, Davis, California 3: Computational Services, The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine 4: Maine Medical Research Institute, Scarborough, Maine

Publication date: February 1, 2009

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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