Submitted to: Acta Veterinaria
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary: Marek's disease (MD), a virus-induced, cancer-like disease of chickens, is considered a major disease problem in commercial poultry. Vaccination has dramatically reduced the incidence of disease, but very little is known about the viral products involved in the induction of disease. The objective of this research was to characterize the mechanisms by which MD virus cause disease in chickens. We have succeeded in identifying and characterizing a viral product, which is involved in the induction of this cancer-like disease of chickens. The information obtained from this research will be useful in developing genetically engineered MD vaccines that are more effective in protecting chickens against the disease.
Technical Abstract: DNA sequence analysis of the BamH I-C fragment of Marek's Disease Virus (MDV) reveals the presence of a 513 amino acid open reading frame (ORF). This ORF codes for a protein with an estimated Mr of 58,901. Comparison of the amino acid sequence with those available in the Swiss-Prot database indicates extensive homology with a protein kinase (PK) of herpes simplex virus (HSV), and Varicella-Zoster virus (VZV). In Northern blot hybridization, a transcript of 2.0 kb is detected in MDV (GA strain) infected duck embryo fibroblasts (DEF) cells. A portion of the ORF was expressed in E. coli as a TrpE-fusion protein and used to generate antiserum in New Zealand rabbits. This antiserum specifically detects a protein of 60 kDa in MDV serotype 1, 2 and 3 infected DEF or chicken embryo fibroblasts (CEF) cells by Western blot analysis. The ORF codes for a functional PK.