Submitted to: The Scientific World
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 14, 2002
Publication Date: May 22, 2002
Interpretive Summary: African swine fever (ASF) poses a serious threat to the swine industry. It is a highly lethal viral disease with mortality rates approaching 100%. All domestic pigs are susceptible to infection. There is a large natural reservoir of virus in the nature. Identification of critical virulence and host range genes of African swine fever virus revealed the complexity of virus-induced mechanisms in infected host. Although how these mostly novel viral genes mediate virulence, host range, and pathogenesis is not fully understood, it is likely that many of them perform essential function(s) during crucial ASFV-host interactions. Our recent progress in understanding the genetic basis of ASFV virulence and host range in the swine host has created opportunity for development of the first ASF vaccine.
A number of viruses have evolved antiapoptotic mechanisms to promote infected-cell survival, either to ensure efficient productive viral replication or to promote long-term survival of virus-infected cells. Recent studies identified critical African swine fever virus genes involved in the complex regulation of ASFV-host interactions. Here we review the present knowledge of the recently identified ASFV genes with special attention to those which affect viral virulence, host range, and pathogenesis by regulating viral-induced apoptotic mechanisms.