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1 June 2010 Subgroup J Avian Leukosis Virus Neutralizing Antibody Escape Variants Contribute to Viral Persistence in Meat-Type Chickens
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We have previously demonstrated a high incidence of chickens with persistent viremia even in the presence of neutralizing antibodies (V A ) against the inoculated parental virus in commercial meat-type chickens inoculated at hatch with subgroup J avian leukosis virus (ALV J) field isolates. In this study, we used an ALV J molecular clone, ADOL pR5-4, to determine the role of neutralizing antibody (NAb) escape mutants in maintaining a high incidence of viral persistence, namely, V A infection profile in commercial meat-type chickens. Chickens were housed as a flock in a pen or housed in isolation in solitary Horsfall-Bauer units for testing for NAb escape variants. The emergence of NAb escape variants was evaluated by sequential autologous virus neutralization (VN) (between virus and antibody from the same sampling period) and heterologous VN (between virus and antibody from preceding and succeeding sampling periods). Sequential virus isolates and corresponding antisera from 18 chickens were examined by VN matrix. In all chickens, autologous virus isolates were not neutralized by corresponding antisera. However, some of these resilient autologous virus isolates were neutralized by antibodies from subsequent sampling intervals. Nucleotide sequence analysis of consecutive isolates from three individually housed chickens with V A infection profile revealed distinct changes within the envelope region, suggesting viral evolution to escape the host immune response. These results demonstrate that the emergence of antibody escape variants in commercial meat-type chickens contributes to ALV J persistence.

A. R. Pandiri, J. K. Mays, R. F. Silva, H. D. Hunt, W. M. Reed, and A. M. Fadly "Subgroup J Avian Leukosis Virus Neutralizing Antibody Escape Variants Contribute to Viral Persistence in Meat-Type Chickens," Avian Diseases 54(2), 848-856, (1 June 2010).
Received: 26 September 2009; Accepted: 1 December 2009; Published: 1 June 2010

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