Deletions in the 7a ORF of feline coronavirus associated with an epidemic of feline infectious peritonitis
A population of Persian cats experienced an epidemic of feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) over 2 years. Twelve cases of FIP occurred in litters born during this period. Cats contracting FIP were all genetically related through the sire. Feline coronavirus (FCoV) genomic RNA was detected consistently in this study in biologic samples from adult cats, kittens suffering from FIP, and their siblings. Analysis of viral 7a/7b open reading frame (ORFs) were analyzed and revealed two distinct virus variants circulating in the population, one with an intact 7a ORF and one with two major deletions in the 7a ORF. The 7b ORFs were intact and similar among all virus isolates, although point mutations resulting in amino acid changes were present. The sire was determined to be infected with both variants, and was persistently virus-infected. We speculate the deletion variant arose from the non-deletion variant during viral replication in this population, possibly in the sire.
Melissa A. Kennedy, N Boedeker, P Gibbs, and Stephen Kania. "Deletions in the 7a ORF of feline coronavirus associated with an epidemic of feline infectious peritonitis" Veterinary microbiology 81.3 (2001): 227-234.
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