Isolation and characterization of subgroup J Avian Leukosis virus associated with hemangioma in commercial Hy-Line chickens

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There was an outbreak of hemangioma associated with avian leukosis virus subgroup J (ALV-J) between 2006 and 2010 in China in commercial layer chickens. Recently, severe hemangiomas broke out in Hy-Line layer chickens on a poultry farm in 2017 where ALV was eradicated earlier. Six isolates of ALV-J, named SDAU1701-SDAU1706, were characterized by virus isolation and sequence analysis of the complete proviral genomes. Avian leukosis virus subgroup J was identified by an immunofluorescence assay with monoclonal antibody JE9, whereas Marek's disease virus or reticuloendotheliosis virus was not detected. Sequence analysis of the complete proviral genome revealed that there was 96.0-99.6% identity between each other and had a homology of 94.6-96.0% when compared with the reference strain. The six isolates formed one distinct lineage separate from the reference sequences in a phylogenetic-tree, which suggested that there were several genetic differences between these groups. Homology analysis of the env, pol, and gag genes of the six isolates showed that the env gene was more variable, especially the gp85 protein, which shared only 88.2-91.9% identity with the reference strains. Sequence comparisons of the gp85 protein indicated that 19 sites were different from those in the NX0101 and HPRS-103 strains inducing myeloid leukosis; among our strains, five mutations were identical to those in the viruses causing hemangioma. Four other distinctive mutations were detected in our six isolates. This study reminds us that the surveillance of viral eradication should be conducted continuously on a farm where ALVs were eradicated. To prevent the prevalence of ALVs, more attention should be paid to daily monitoring.

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