Genome sequence analysis of a distinctive Italian infectious bursal disease virus

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In a recent study, an emerging infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) genotype (ITA) was detected in IBDV-live vaccinated broilers without clinical signs of infectious bursal disease (IBD). VP2 sequence analysis showed that strains of the ITA genotype clustered separately from vaccine strains and from other IBDV reference strains, either classic or very virulent. In order to obtain a more exhaustive molecular characterization of the IBDV ITA genotype and speculate on its origin, genome sequencing of the field isolate IBDV/Italy/1829/2011, previously assigned to the ITA genotype, was performed, and the sequences obtained were compared to the currently available corresponding sequences. In addition, phylogenetic and recombination analyses were performed. Interestingly, multiple amino acid (AA) sequence alignments revealed that the IBDV/Italy/1829/2011 strain shared several AA residues with very virulent IBDV strains as well as some virulence markers, especially in the VP1 protein. Nevertheless, sequence analysis demonstrated the presence of several residues typical of IBDV strains at a low degree of virulence in the IBDV/Italy/1829/2011 strain. Although homologous recombination and reassortant phenomena may occur naturally among different IBDV strains, no evidence of those events was found in the genome of the IBDV/Italy/1829/2011 strain, which was confirmed to be a genetically distinctive IBDV genotype.

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