Our previous genetic characterization of chicken anemia virus (CAV) in commercial broiler chickens in Alabama revealed a previously undetected polymorphism: a glutamine codon at VP1 position 22, in 7 of the 14 sequences. The novel glutamine codon was always found in association with a VP1 “hypervariable region” identical to CAV field isolates that replicate poorly in culture. The complete genome of CAV73, representative of the sequences with the novel polymorphism, was generated from cloned polymerase chain reaction (PCR) fragments amplified directly from naturally infected tissues. CAV73 had been detected in 31-day-old broilers submitted for examination for reasons unrelated to anemia. After electroporation of the cloned genomes into MDCC-CU147 lymphoblastoid cells, the regenerated CAV caused the culture to fail within 9 days, and the medium contained 5 × 106 TCID50 CAV/ml. Use of MDCC-CU147 cells was essential, as identical electroporation of MDCC-MSB1 cells failed to generate CAV able to destroy the culture within 8 wk. Regenerated CAV73 produced anemia and severe lymphocytic depletion of the thymus when inoculated into susceptible 3-day-old chickens and was reisolated from these chickens. Furthermore, it replicated in low- and high-passage MDCC-MSB1 cells similarly to a low-passage CAV field isolate that contains a different VP1 “hypervariable region.” The regeneration of CAV from PCR products directly from naturally infected carcasses, as performed in this study, provides a tool for the evaluation of distinct genetic polymorphisms that may be detected in specimens where infective virions are no longer available. Our results also provide some insight into the differential susceptibility of cell lines for low-passage CAV field isolates.
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Vol. 51 • No. 1