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1.  The hemagglutinin envelope protein of canine distemper virus (CDV) confers cell tropism as illustrated by CDV and measles virus complementation analysis. 
Journal of Virology  1995;69(3):1661-1668.
Measles virus (MV) and canine distemper virus (CDV) are morbilliviruses that cause acute illnesses and several persistent central nervous system infections in humans and in dogs, respectively. Characteristically, the cytopathic effect of these viruses is the formation of syncytia in permissive cells. In this study, a vaccinia virus expression system was used to express MV and CDV hemagglutinin (HA) and fusion (F) envelope proteins. We found that cotransfecting F and HA genes of MV or F and HA genes of CDV resulted in extensive syncytium formation in permissive cells while transfecting either F or HA alone did not. Similar experiments with heterologous pairs of proteins, CDV-F with MV-HA or MV-F with CDV-HA, caused significant cell fusion in both cases. These results indicate that in this expression system, cell fusion requires both F and HA; however, the functions of these proteins are interchangeable between the two types of morbilliviruses. Human-mouse somatic hybrids were used to determine the human chromosome conferring susceptibility to either MV and CDV. Of the 12 hybrids screened, none were sensitive to MV. Two of the hybrids containing human chromosome 19 formed syncytia following CDV infection. In addition, these two hybrids underwent cell fusion when cotransfected with CDV-F and CDV-HA (but not MV-F and MV-HA) glycoproteins by using the vaccinia virus expression system. To discover the viral component responsible for cell specificity, complementation experiments coexpressing CDV-HA with MV-F or CDV-F with MV-HA in the CDV-sensitive hybrids were performed. We found that syncytia were formed only in the presence of CDV-HA. These results support the idea that the HA protein is responsible for cell tropism. Furthermore, while the F protein is necessary for the fusion process, it is interchangeable with the F protein from other morbilliviruses.
PMCID: PMC188765  PMID: 7853502
2.  Canine Distemper Virus Strains Circulating among North American Dogs▿  
Canine distemper virus (CDV) is a highly contagious virus that causes multisystemic disease in dogs. We received seven samples from dogs with CD from the United States during 2007. CDV isolates from these samples formed large, multinucleated syncytia in a Vero cell line expressing canine signaling lymphocyte activation molecule (SLAM). Based on the hemagglutinin gene sequences, the CDV isolates from three states (California, Missouri, and Oklahoma) formed two CDV genetic groups: group I (major; six of seven isolates) consisted of CDV isolates closely related to the European wildlife lineage of CDV, and group II (minor; one of seven isolates) was genetically related to the Arctic-like lineage of CDV. However, both CDV groups were genetically different from the current vaccine strains that belong to the American-1 lineage of the old (1930 to 1950) CDV isolates.
doi:10.1128/CVI.00005-08
PMCID: PMC2292659  PMID: 18256210
3.  Antibodies to CD9, a Tetraspan Transmembrane Protein, Inhibit Canine Distemper Virus-Induced Cell-Cell Fusion but Not Virus-Cell Fusion 
Journal of Virology  2000;74(16):7554-7561.
Canine distemper virus (CDV) causes a life-threatening disease in several carnivores including domestic dogs. Recently, we identified a molecule, CD9, a member of the tetraspan transmembrane protein family, which facilitates, and antibodies to which inhibit, the infection of tissue culture cells with CDV (strain Onderstepoort). Here we describe that an anti-CD9 monoclonal antibody (MAb K41) did not interfere with binding of CDV to cells and uptake of virus. In addition, in single-step growth experiments, MAb K41 did not induce differences in the levels of viral mRNA and proteins. However, the virus release of syncytium-forming strains of CDV, the virus-induced cell-cell fusion in lytically infected cultures, and the cell-cell fusion of uninfected with persistently CDV-infected HeLa cells were strongly inhibited by MAb K41. These data indicate that anti-CD9 antibodies selectively block virus-induced cell-cell fusion, whereas virus-cell fusion is not affected.
PMCID: PMC112276  PMID: 10906209
4.  Signal Peptide and Helical Bundle Domains of Virulent Canine Distemper Virus Fusion Protein Restrict Fusogenicity▿  
Journal of Virology  2007;81(20):11413-11425.
Persistence in canine distemper virus (CDV) infection is correlated with very limited cell-cell fusion and lack of cytolysis induced by the neurovirulent A75/17-CDV compared to that of the cytolytic Onderstepoort vaccine strain. We have previously shown that this difference was at least in part due to the amino acid sequence of the fusion (F) protein (P. Plattet, J. P. Rivals, B. Zuber, J. M. Brunner, A. Zurbriggen, and R. Wittek, Virology 337:312-326, 2005). Here, we investigated the molecular mechanisms of the neurovirulent CDV F protein underlying limited membrane fusion activity. By exchanging the signal peptide between both F CDV strains or replacing it with an exogenous signal peptide, we demonstrated that this domain controlled intracellular and consequently cell surface protein expression, thus indirectly modulating fusogenicity. In addition, by serially passaging a poorly fusogenic virus and selecting a syncytium-forming variant, we identified the mutation L372W as being responsible for this change of phenotype. Intriguingly, residue L372 potentially is located in the helical bundle domain of the F1 subunit. We showed that this mutation drastically increased fusion activity of F proteins of both CDV strains in a signal peptide-independent manner. Due to its unique structure even among morbilliviruses, our findings with respect to the signal peptide are likely to be specifically relevant to CDV, whereas the results related to the helical bundle add new insights to our growing understanding of this class of F proteins. We conclude that different mechanisms involving multiple domains of the neurovirulent A75/17-CDV F protein act in concert to limit fusion activity, preventing lysis of infected cells, which ultimately may favor viral persistence.
doi:10.1128/JVI.01287-07
PMCID: PMC2045578  PMID: 17686846
5.  Antagonistic Pleiotropy and Fitness Trade-Offs Reveal Specialist and Generalist Traits in Strains of Canine Distemper Virus 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e50955.
Theoretically, homogeneous environments favor the evolution of specialists whereas heterogeneous environments favor generalists. Canine distemper is a multi-host carnivore disease caused by canine distemper virus (CDV). The described cell receptor of CDV is SLAM (CD150). Attachment of CDV hemagglutinin protein (CDV-H) to this receptor facilitates fusion and virus entry in cooperation with the fusion protein (CDV-F). We investigated whether CDV strains co-evolved in the large, homogeneous domestic dog population exhibited specialist traits, and strains adapted to the heterogeneous environment of smaller populations of different carnivores exhibited generalist traits. Comparison of amino acid sequences of the SLAM binding region revealed higher similarity between sequences from Canidae species than to sequences from other carnivore families. Using an in vitro assay, we quantified syncytia formation mediated by CDV-H proteins from dog and non-dog CDV strains in cells expressing dog, lion or cat SLAM. CDV-H proteins from dog strains produced significantly higher values with cells expressing dog SLAM than with cells expressing lion or cat SLAM. CDV-H proteins from strains of non-dog species produced similar values in all three cell types, but lower values in cells expressing dog SLAM than the values obtained for CDV-H proteins from dog strains. By experimentally changing one amino acid (Y549H) in the CDV-H protein of one dog strain we decreased expression of specialist traits and increased expression of generalist traits, thereby confirming its functional importance. A virus titer assay demonstrated that dog strains produced higher titers in cells expressing dog SLAM than cells expressing SLAM of non-dog hosts, which suggested possible fitness benefits of specialization post-cell entry. We provide in vitro evidence for the expression of specialist and generalist traits by CDV strains, and fitness trade-offs across carnivore host environments caused by antagonistic pleiotropy. These findings extend knowledge on CDV molecular epidemiology of particular relevance to wild carnivores.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050955
PMCID: PMC3519774  PMID: 23239996
6.  Phylogenetic Characterization of Canine Distemper Viruses Detected in Naturally Infected Dogs in North America 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2005;43(10):5009-5017.
In 2004, six puppies and one adult dog from a total of four premises were subjected to necropsy evaluation. For five of the seven dogs, disease caused by canine distemper virus (CDV) infection was suspected based on clinical signs. In all of the dogs, a diagnosis of CDV infection was established by the presence of compatible gross and histologic lesions, immunohistochemical labeling for CDV antigen, and detection of CDV RNA by reverse transcription-PCR. To further characterize the CDV strains detected in the four cases, complete gene sequences were determined for the hemagglutinin (H) and fusion (F) protein genes, while partial gene sequencing was performed for the phosphoprotein gene. A total of 4,508 bases were sequenced for the CDV strains detected from each of the four cases. Two cases were found to have identical sequences except for 2 bases in the intergenic region of the F and H genes. Phylogenetic analysis strongly suggested an evolutionary relationship between sequences detected in these two cases and those of phocine distemper virus 2 and two other strains of CDV not previously detected in the continental United States. Clear phylogenetic relationships were not established for viruses detected in the two additional cases; however, one strain showed similarity to CDV strains detected in a panda from China. Importantly, the three CDV strains detected were demonstrated to be genetically distinct from known vaccine strains and strains previously reported in the continental United States.
doi:10.1128/JCM.43.10.5009-5017.2005
PMCID: PMC1248462  PMID: 16207955
7.  Syncytia inhibition by immune lymphocytes: in vitro test for immunity to canine distemper. 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1978;7(3):292-297.
A simple and rapid (24-h) assay for peripheral blood lymphocyte-associated immunity to canine distemper virus (CDV) is described. The test is based upon leukocyte-associated inhibition of CDV-induced syncytia formation in Vero cells. The technique quantitates the response morphologically, thereby eliminating the requirement for release of radiolabeled compounds. Positive results were determined from specific-pathogen-free and gnotobiotic dogs exposed to CDV via hyperimmunization, vaccination with a modified live virus vaccine, and after virulent virus infection. Preinoculation lymphocytes and lymphocytes from non-immune dogs did not inhibit CDV-induced syncytia formation. Maximum responses were observed 7 to 21 days after initial exposure and declined thereafter. The method can be used to further investigate the role of immune lymphocytes in the recovery from CDV infection.
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PMCID: PMC274917  PMID: 649763
8.  Propagation of Asian isolates of canine distemper virus (CDV) in hamster cell lines 
Backgrounds
The aim of this study was to confirm the propagation of various canine distemper viruses (CDV) in hamster cell lines of HmLu and BHK, since only a little is known about the possibility of propagation of CDV in rodent cells irrespective of their epidemiological importance.
Methods
The growth of CDV in hamster cell lines was monitored by titration using Vero.dogSLAMtag (Vero-DST) cells that had been proven to be susceptible to almost all field isolates of CDV, with the preparations of cell-free and cell-associated virus from the cultures infected with recent Asian isolates of CDV (13 strains) and by observing the development of cytopathic effect (CPE) in infected cultures of hamster cell lines.
Results
Eleven of 13 strains grew in HmLu cells, and 12 of 13 strains grew in BHK cells with apparent CPE of cell fusion in the late stage of infection. Two strains and a strain of Asia 1 group could not grow in HmLu cells and BHK cells, respectively.
Conclusion
The present study demonstrates at the first time that hamster cell lines can propagate the majority of Asian field isolates of CDV. The usage of two hamster cell lines suggested to be useful to characterize the field isolates biologically.
doi:10.1186/1751-0147-51-38
PMCID: PMC2774306  PMID: 19835588
9.  Biological properties of a canine distemper virus isolate associated with demyelinating encephalomyelitis. 
Infection and Immunity  1975;11(4):835-844.
A canine distemper virus (CDV), DESIGNATED R252, originally recovered from a dog with demyelinating encephalomyelitis was shown to reproduce this disease in gnotobiotic dogs with a high incidence as compared to other CDV strains, which produced an acute fatal infection. In this investigation, R252 was propagated for the first time in Vero cells and compared to two known strains of CDV, Snyder-Hill (SH) and Onderstepoort (Ond). The results of this study revealed that intracellular R252 accumulated more slowly than either SH or Ond. There was extensive destruction of Vero monolayers infected with either R252 or SH. Each virus induced the formation of intracytoplasmic and intranuclear inclusions. Ond infection resulted in minimal cytopathic changes and intracytoplasmic inclusions. Immunofluorescence studies indicated that the spread of R252 infection within the monolayers was intermediate between the rapidly spreading SH and slowly spreading Ond. R252-infected cells developed characteristic immunofluorescent cytoplasmic inclusions. Initially, each stained homogeneously and later appeared as a non fluorescent body surrounded by a fluorescent ring. This characteristic pattern of fluorescence was observed only infrequently in thelate stage of SH infection and was absent in Ond-infected cultures. Reciprocal neutralization studies indicated that the three strains are of one serotype. These findings suggest that R252-CDV has biological properties which differ from two other strains of CDV and which may have bearing upon the in vivo capability of this virus to produce demyelinating encephalomyelitis.
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PMCID: PMC415143  PMID: 47310
10.  Canine Distemper Virus DNA Vaccination Induces Humoral and Cellular Immunity and Protects against a Lethal Intracerebral Challenge 
Journal of Virology  1998;72(11):8472-8476.
We have studied the immune responses to the two glycoproteins of the Morbillivirus canine distemper virus (CDV) after DNA vaccination of BALB/c mice. The plasmids coding for both CDV hemagglutinin (H) and fusion protein (F) induce high levels of antibodies which persist for more than 6 months. Intramuscular inoculation of the CDV DNA induces a predominantly immunoglobulin G2a (IgG2a) response (Th1 response), whereas gene gun immunization with CDV H evokes exclusively an IgG1 response (Th2 response). In contrast, the CDV F gene elicited a mixed, IgG1 and IgG2a response. Mice vaccinated (by gene gun) with either the CDV H or F DNA showed a class I-restricted cytotoxic lymphocyte response. Immunized mice challenged intracerebrally with a lethal dose of a neurovirulent strain of CDV were protected. However, approximately 30% of the mice vaccinated with the CDV F DNA became obese in the first 2 months following the challenge. This was not correlated with the serum antibody levels.
PMCID: PMC110255  PMID: 9765383
11.  Establishment of a Rescue System for Canine Distemper Virus 
Journal of Virology  2000;74(22):10737-10744.
Canine distemper virus (CDV) has been rescued from a full-length cDNA clone. Besides Measles virus (MV) and Rinderpest virus, a third morbillivirus is now available for genetic analysis using reverse genetics. A plasmid p(+)CDV was constructed by sequential cloning using the Onderstepoort vaccine strain large-plaque-forming variant. The presence of a T7 promoter allowed transcription of full-length antigenomic RNA by a T7 RNA polymerase, which was provided by a host range mutant of vaccinia virus (MVA-T7). Plasmids expressing the nucleocapsid protein, the phosphoprotein, and the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, also under control of a T7 promoter, have been generated. Infection of HeLa cells with MVA-T7 and subsequent transfection of p(+)CDV plus the helper plasmids led to syncytium formation and release of infectious recombinant (r) CDV. Comparison of the rescued virus with the parental virus revealed no major differences in the progression of infection or in the shape and size of syncytia. A genetic tag, consisting of two nucleotide changes within the coding region of the L protein, has been identified in the rCDV genome. Expression by rCDV of all the major viral structural proteins has been demonstrated by immunofluorescence.
PMCID: PMC110948  PMID: 11044118
12.  Detection of Canine Distemper Virus Nucleoprotein RNA by Reverse Transcription-PCR Using Serum, Whole Blood, and Cerebrospinal Fluid from Dogs with Distemper 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1999;37(11):3634-3643.
Reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) was used to detect canine distemper virus (CDV) nucleoprotein (NP) RNA in serum, whole blood, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from 38 dogs with clinically suspected distemper. Results were correlated to clinical findings, anti-CDV neutralizing antibody titers, postmortem findings, and demonstration of CDV NP antigen by immunohistochemistry. The specificity of the RT-PCR was ensured by amplification of RNA from various laboratory CDV strains, restriction enzyme digestion, and Southern blot hybridization. In 29 of 38 dogs, CDV infection was confirmed by postmortem examination and immunohistochemistry. The animals displayed the catarrhal, systemic, and nervous forms of distemper. Seventeen samples (serum, whole blood, or CSF) from dogs with distemper were tested with three sets of primers targeted to different regions of the NP gene of the CDV Onderstepoort strain. Expected amplicons were observed in 82, 53, and 41% of the 17 samples, depending upon the primer pair used. With the most sensitive primer pair (primer pair I), CDV NP RNA was detected in 25 of 29 (86%) serum samples and 14 of 16 (88%) whole blood and CSF samples from dogs with distemper but not in body fluids from immunohistochemically negative dogs. Nucleotide sequence analysis of five RT-PCR amplicons from isolates from the field revealed few silent point mutations. These isolates exhibited greater homology to the Rockborn (97 to 99%) than to the Onderstepoort (95 to 96%) CDV strain. In summary, although the sensitivity of the RT-PCR for detection of CDV is strongly influenced by the location of the selected primers, this nucleic acid detection system represents a highly specific and sensitive method for the antemortem diagnosis of distemper in dogs, regardless of the form of distemper, humoral immune response, and viral antigen distribution.
PMCID: PMC85712  PMID: 10523566
13.  Multiplex Amplification Refractory Mutation System Polymerase Chain Reaction (ARMS-PCR) for diagnosis of natural infection with canine distemper virus 
Virology Journal  2010;7:122.
Background
Canine distemper virus (CDV) is present worldwide and produces a lethal systemic infection of wild and domestic Canidae. Pre-existing antibodies acquired from vaccination or previous CDV infection might interfere the interpretation of a serologic diagnosis method. In addition, due to the high similarity of nucleic acid sequences between wild-type CDV and the new vaccine strain, current PCR derived methods cannot be applied for the definite confirmation of CD infection. Hence, it is worthy of developing a simple and rapid nucleotide-based assay for differentiation of wild-type CDV which is a cause of disease from attenuated CDVs after vaccination. High frequency variations have been found in the region spanning from the 3'-untranslated region (UTR) of the matrix (M) gene to the fusion (F) gene (designated M-F UTR) in a few CDV strains. To establish a differential diagnosis assay, an amplification refractory mutation analysis was established based on the highly variable region on M-F UTR and F regions.
Results
Sequences of frequent polymorphisms were found scattered throughout the M-F UTR region; the identity of nucleic acid between local strains and vaccine strains ranged from 82.5% to 93.8%. A track of AAA residue located 35 nucleotides downstream from F gene start codon highly conserved in three vaccine strains were replaced with TGC in the local strains; that severed as target sequences for deign of discrimination primers. The method established in the present study successfully differentiated seven Taiwanese CDV field isolates, all belonging to the Asia-1 lineage, from vaccine strains.
Conclusions
The method described herein would be useful for several clinical applications, such as confirmation of nature CDV infection, evaluation of vaccination status and verification of the circulating viral genotypes.
doi:10.1186/1743-422X-7-122
PMCID: PMC2907576  PMID: 20534175
14.  Vaccination against Canine Distemper Virus Infection in Infant Ferrets with and without Maternal Antibody Protection, Using Recombinant Attenuated Poxvirus Vaccines 
Journal of Virology  2000;74(14):6358-6367.
Canine distemper virus (CDV) infection of ferrets is clinically and immunologically similar to measles, making this a useful model for the human disease. The model was used to determine if parenteral or mucosal immunization of infant ferrets at 3 and 6 weeks of age with attenuated vaccinia virus (NYVAC) or canarypox virus (ALVAC) vaccine strains expressing the CDV hemagglutinin (H) and fusion (F) protein genes (NYVAC-HF and ALVAC-HF) would induce serum neutralizing antibody and protect against challenge infection at 12 weeks of age. Ferrets without maternal antibody that were vaccinated parenterally with NYVAC-HF (n = 5) or ALVAC-HF (n = 4) developed significant neutralizing titers (log10 inverse mean titer ± standard deviation of 2.30 ± 0.12 and 2.20 ± 0.34, respectively) by the day of challenge, and all survived with no clinical or virologic evidence of infection. Ferrets without maternal antibody that were vaccinated intranasally (i.n.) developed lower neutralizing titers, with NYVAC-HF producing higher titers at challenge (1.11 ± 0.57 versus 0.40 ± 0.37, P = 0.02) and a better survival rate (6/7 versus 0/5, P = 0.008) than ALVAC-HF. Ferrets with maternal antibody that were vaccinated parenterally with NYVAC-HF (n = 7) and ALVAC-HF (n = 7) developed significantly higher antibody titers (1.64 ± 0.54 and 1.28 ± 0.40, respectively) than did ferrets immunized with an attenuated CDV vaccine (0.46 ± 0.59; n = 7) or the recombinant vectors expressing rabies glycoprotein (RG) (0.19 ± 0.32; n = 8, P = 7 × 10−6). The NYVAC vaccine also protected against weight loss, and both the NYVAC and attenuated CDV vaccines protected against the development of some clinical signs of infection, although survival in each of the three vaccine groups was low (one of seven) and not significantly different from the RG controls (none of eight). Combined i.n.-parenteral immunization of ferrets with maternal antibody using NYVAC-HF (n = 9) produced higher titers (1.63 ± 0.25) than did i.n. immunization with NYVAC-HF (0.88 ± 0.36; n = 9) and ALVAC-HF (0.61 ± 0.43; n = 9, P = 3 × 10−7), and survival was also significantly better in the i.n.-parenteral group (3 of 9) than in the other HF-vaccinated animals (none of 18) or in controls immunized with RG (none of 5) (P = 0.0374). Multiple routes were not tested with the ALVAC vaccine. The results suggest that infant ferrets are less responsive to i.n. vaccination than are older ferrets and raises questions about the appropriateness of this route of immunization in infant ferrets or infants of other species.
PMCID: PMC112142  PMID: 10864646
15.  Nectin4 Is an Epithelial Cell Receptor for Canine Distemper Virus and Involved in Neurovirulence 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(18):10207-10210.
Canine distemper virus (CDV) uses signaling lymphocyte activation molecule (SLAM), expressed on immune cells, as a receptor. However, epithelial and neural cells are also affected by CDV in vivo. Wild-type CDV strains showed efficient replication with syncytia in Vero cells expressing dog nectin4, and the infection was blocked by an anti-nectin4 antibody. In dogs with distemper, CDV antigen was preferentially detected in nectin4-positive neurons and epithelial cells, suggesting that nectin4 is an epithelial cell receptor for CDV and also involved in its neurovirulence.
doi:10.1128/JVI.00824-12
PMCID: PMC3446623  PMID: 22761370
16.  Experimental Adaptation of Wild-Type Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) to the Human Entry Receptor CD150 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e57488.
Canine distemper virus (CDV), a close relative of measles virus (MV), is widespread and well known for its broad host range. When the goal of measles eradication may be achieved, and when measles vaccination will be stopped, CDV might eventually cross the species barrier to humans and emerge as a new human pathogen. In order to get an impression how fast such alterations may occur, we characterized required adaptive mutations to the human entry receptors CD150 (SLAM) and nectin-4 as first step to infect human target cells. Recombinant wild-type CDV-A75/17red adapted quickly to growth in human H358 epithelial cells expressing human nectin-4. Sequencing of the viral attachment proteins (hemagglutinin, H, and fusion protein, F) genes revealed that no adaptive alteration was required to utilize human nectin-4. In contrast, the virus replicated only to low titres (102 pfu/ml) in Vero cells expressing human CD150 (Vero-hSLAM). After three passages using these cells virus was adapted to human CD150 and replicated to high titres (105 pfu/ml). Sequence analyses revealed that only one amino acid exchange in the H-protein at position 540 Asp→Gly (D540G) was required for functional adaptation to human CD150. Structural modelling suggests that the adaptive mutation D540G in H reflects the sequence alteration from canine to human CD150 at position 70 and 71 from Pro to Leu (P70L) and Gly to Glu (G71E), and compensates for the gain of a negative charge in the human CD150 molecule. Using this model system our data indicate that only a minimal alteration, in this case one adaptive mutation, is required for adaptation of CDV to the human entry receptors, and help to understand the molecular basis why this adaptive mutation occurs.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057488
PMCID: PMC3595274  PMID: 23554862
17.  Canine distemper virus persistence in the nervous system is associated with noncytolytic selective virus spread. 
Journal of Virology  1995;69(3):1678-1686.
Canine distemper virus (CDV), a negative-strand RNA morbillivirus, causes a progressive demyelinating disease in which virus persistence plays an essential role. The antiviral immune response leads to virus clearance in the inflammatory lesions. However, CDV can replicate and persist outside these inflammatory lesions within the brain. How CDV is capable of persisting in the presence of an effective antiviral immune response is poorly understood. In the present investigation, we studied several aspects of virus replication in primary dog brain cell cultures (DBCC), comparing an attenuated CDV strain and a virulent CDV strain. Confluent DBCC were infected with either virulent A75/17-CDV or attenuated Onderstepoort-CDV and monitored for 60 days. Persistence was not associated with defective virus production, because all mRNAs and corresponding proteins were continuously expressed in the noncytolytic infection. Quantitative measurements did not detect a difference between the two types of infection in the rate of virus transcription and protein synthesis at the level of the single cell. However, electron microscopy and virus titration experiments showed that in the persistent CDV infection virus budding is strongly limited compared with that of the attenuated virus. Morphometry and immunocytochemistry showed profound differences in the way the two viruses spread in the culture. The attenuated CDV spread randomly to immediately adjacent cells, whereas persistent CDV spread selectively to more-distant cells by way of cell processes. In conclusion, the present study supports a mechanism of CDV persistence through selective spread by way of cell processes, enabling virulent CDV to invade the central nervous system without the need of releasing much virus into the extracellular space.
PMCID: PMC188767  PMID: 7853504
18.  Recombinant Canine Distemper Virus Strain Snyder Hill Expressing Green or Red Fluorescent Proteins Causes Meningoencephalitis in the Ferret 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(14):7508-7519.
The propensity of canine distemper virus (CDV) to spread to the central nervous system is one of the primary features of distemper. Therefore, we developed a reverse genetics system based on the neurovirulent Snyder Hill (SH) strain of CDV (CDVSH) and show that this virus rapidly circumvents the blood-brain and blood-cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) barriers to spread into the subarachnoid space to induce dramatic viral meningoencephalitis. The use of recombinant CDVSH (rCDVSH) expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) or red fluorescent protein (dTomato) facilitated the sensitive pathological assessment of routes of virus spread in vivo. Infection of ferrets with these viruses led to the full spectrum of clinical signs typically associated with distemper in dogs during a rapid, fatal disease course of approximately 2 weeks. Comparison with the ferret-adapted CDV5804P and the prototypic wild-type CDVR252 showed that hematogenous infection of the choroid plexus is not a significant route of virus spread into the CSF. Instead, viral spread into the subarachnoid space in rCDVSH-infected animals was triggered by infection of vascular endothelial cells and the hematogenous spread of virus-infected leukocytes from meningeal blood vessels into the subarachnoid space. This resulted in widespread infection of cells of the pia and arachnoid mater of the leptomeninges over large areas of the cerebral hemispheres. The ability to sensitively assess the in vivo spread of a neurovirulent strain of CDV provides a novel model system to study the mechanisms of virus spread into the CSF and the pathogenesis of acute viral meningitis.
doi:10.1128/JVI.06725-11
PMCID: PMC3416283  PMID: 22553334
19.  Pathogenesis and phylogenetic analyses of canine distemper virus strain ZJ7 isolate from domestic dogs in China 
Virology Journal  2011;8:520.
A new isolate of canine distemper virus (CDV), named ZJ7, was isolated from lung tissues of a dog suspected with CDV infection using MDCK cells. The ZJ7 isolate induced cytopathogenic effects of syncytia in MDCK cell after six passages. In order to evaluate pathogenesis of ZJ7 strain, three CDV sero-negative dogs were intranasally inoculated with its virus suspension. All infected dogs developed clinical signs of severe bloody diarrhea, conjunctivitis, ocular discharge, nasal discharge and coughing, fever and weight loss at 21 dpi, whereas the mock group infected with DMEM were normal. The results demonstrated that CDV-ZJ7 strain isolated by MDCK cell was virulent, and the nucleotide and amino acid sequences of strain ZJ7 had no change after isolation by MDCK cell when compared with the original virus from the fresh tissues. Molecular and phylogenetic analyses for the nucleocapsid (N), phosphoprotein (P) and receptor binding haemagglutinin (H) gene of the ZJ7 isolate clearly showed it is joins to the Asia 1 group cluster of CDV strains, the predominant genotype in China.
doi:10.1186/1743-422X-8-520
PMCID: PMC3229531  PMID: 22087872
Canine distemper virus (CDV); MDCK; Genotype; Phylogenetic analysis; Pathogenesis; Virulence
20.  Phylogenetic analysis of the haemagglutinin gene of canine distemper virus strains detected from giant panda and raccoon dogs in China 
Virology Journal  2013;10:109.
Background
Canine distemper virus (CDV) infects a variety of carnivores, including wild and domestic Canidae. In this study, we sequenced and phylogenetic analyses of the hemagglutinin (H) genes from eight canine distemper virus (CDV) isolates obtained from seven raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) and a giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) in China.
Results
Phylogenetic analysis of the partial hemagglutinin gene sequences showed close clustering for geographic lineages, clearly distinct from vaccine strains and other wild-type foreign CDV strains, all the CDV strains were characterized as Asia-1 genotype and were highly similar to each other (91.5-99.8% nt and 94.4-99.8% aa). The giant panda and raccoon dogs all were 549Y on the HA protein in this study, irrespective of the host species.
Conclusions
These findings enhance our knowledge of the genetic characteristics of Chinese CDV isolates, and may facilitate the development of effective strategies for monitoring and controlling CDV for wild canids and non-cainds in China.
doi:10.1186/1743-422X-10-109
PMCID: PMC3636003  PMID: 23566727
Canine distemper virus; Haemagglutinin (H) gene; Genotype; Phylogenetic analysis
21.  Canine distemper virus (CDV) infection of ferrets as a model for testing Morbillivirus vaccine strategies: NYVAC- and ALVAC-based CDV recombinants protect against symptomatic infection. 
Journal of Virology  1997;71(2):1506-1513.
Canine distemper virus (CDV) infection of ferrets causes an acute systemic disease involving multiple organ systems, including the respiratory tract, lymphoid system, and central nervous system (CNS). We have tested candidate CDV vaccines incorporating the fusion (F) and hemagglutinin (HA) proteins in the highly attenuated NYVAC strain of vaccinia virus and in the ALVAC strain of canarypox virus, which does not productively replicate in mammalian hosts. Juvenile ferrets were vaccinated twice with these constructs, or with an attenuated live-virus vaccine, while controls received saline or the NYVAC and ALVAC vectors expressing rabies virus glycoprotein. Control animals did not develop neutralizing antibody and succumbed to distemper after developing fever, weight loss, leukocytopenia, decreased activity, conjunctivitis, an erythematous rash typical of distemper, CNS signs, and viremia in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (as measured by reverse transcription-PCR). All three CDV vaccines elicited neutralizing titers of at least 1:96. All vaccinated ferrets survived, and none developed viremia. Both recombinant vaccines also protected against the development of symptomatic distemper. However, ferrets receiving the live-virus vaccine lost weight, became lymphocytopenic, and developed the erythematous rash typical of CDV. These data show that ferrets are an excellent model for evaluating the ability of CDV vaccines to protect against symptomatic infection. Because the pathogenesis and clinical course of CDV infection of ferrets is quite similar to that of other Morbillivirus infections, including measles, this model will be useful in testing new candidate Morbillivirus vaccines.
PMCID: PMC191207  PMID: 8995676
22.  Differentiation of canine distemper virus isolates in fur animals from various vaccine strains by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism according to phylogenetic relations in china 
Virology Journal  2011;8:85.
In order to effectively identify the vaccine and field strains of Canine distemper virus (CDV), a new differential diagnostic test has been developed based on reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP). We selected an 829 bp fragment of the nucleoprotein (N) gene of CDV. By RFLP analysis using BamHI, field isolates were distinguishable from the vaccine strains. Two fragments were obtained from the vaccine strains by RT-PCR-RFLP analysis while three were observed in the field strains. An 829 nucleotide region of the CDV N gene was analyzed in 19 CDV field strains isolated from minks, raccoon dogs and foxes in China between 2005 and 2007. The results suggest this method is precise, accurate and efficient. It was also determined that three different genotypes exist in CDV field strains in fur animal herds of the north of China, most of which belong to Asian type. Mutated field strains, JSY06-R1, JSY06-R2 and JDH07-F1 also exist in Northern China, but are most closely related to the standard virulent strain A75/17, designated in Arctic and America-2 genetype in the present study, respectively.
doi:10.1186/1743-422X-8-85
PMCID: PMC3056815  PMID: 21352564
23.  Canine Distemper Virus Infects Canine Keratinocytes and Immune Cells by Using Overlapping and Distinct Regions Located on One Side of the Attachment Protein▿  
Journal of Virology  2011;85(21):11242-11254.
The morbilliviruses measles virus (MeV) and canine distemper virus (CDV) both rely on two surface glycoproteins, the attachment (H) and fusion proteins, to promote fusion activity for viral cell entry. Growing evidence suggests that morbilliviruses infect multiple cell types by binding to distinct host cell surface receptors. Currently, the only known in vivo receptor used by morbilliviruses is CD150/SLAM, a molecule expressed in certain immune cells. Here we investigated the usage of multiple receptors by the highly virulent and demyelinating CDV strain A75/17. We based our study on the assumption that CDV-H may interact with receptors similar to those for MeV, and we conducted systematic alanine-scanning mutagenesis on CDV-H throughout one side of the β-propeller documented in MeV-H to contain multiple receptor-binding sites. Functional and biochemical assays performed with SLAM-expressing cells and primary canine epithelial keratinocytes identified 11 residues mutation of which selectively abrogated fusion in keratinocytes. Among these, four were identical to amino acids identified in MeV-H as residues contacting a putative receptor expressed in polarized epithelial cells. Strikingly, when mapped on a CDV-H structural model, all residues clustered in or around a recessed groove located on one side of CDV-H. In contrast, reported CDV-H mutants with SLAM-dependent fusion deficiencies were characterized by additional impairments to the promotion of fusion in keratinocytes. Furthermore, upon transfer of residues that selectively impaired fusion induction in keratinocytes into the CDV-H of the vaccine strain, fusion remained largely unaltered. Taken together, our results suggest that a restricted region on one side of CDV-H contains distinct and overlapping sites that control functional interaction with multiple receptors.
doi:10.1128/JVI.05340-11
PMCID: PMC3194989  PMID: 21849439
24.  Genetically distant American Canine distemper virus lineages have recently caused epizootics with somewhat different characteristics in raccoons living around a large suburban zoo in the USA 
Virology Journal  2004;1:2.
Background
Mortality rates have differed during distemper outbreaks among free-ranging raccoons (Procyon lotor) living around a large Chicago-area zoo, and appeared higher in year 2001 than in 1998 and 2000. We hypothesized that a more lethal variant of the local Canine distemper virus (CDV) lineage had emerged in 2001, and sought the genetic basis that led to increased virulence. However, a more complex model surfaced during preliminary analyses of CDV genomic sequences in infected tissues and of virus isolated in vitro from the raccoons.
Results
Phylogenetic analyses of subgenomic CDV fusion (F) -, phosphoprotein (P) -, and complete hemagglutinin (H) – gene sequences indicated that distinct American CDV lineages caused the distemper epizootics. The 1998 outbreak was caused by viruses that are likely from an old CDV lineage that includes CDV Snyder Hill and Lederle, which are CDV strains from the early 1950's. The 2000 and 2001 viruses appear to stem from the lineage of CDV A75/17, which was isolated in the mid 1970's. Only the 2001 viruses formed large syncytia in brain and/or lung tissue, and during primary isolation in-vitro in Vero cells, demonstrating at least one phenotypic property by which they differed from the other viruses.
Conclusions
Two different American CDV lineages caused the raccoon distemper outbreaks. The 1998 viruses are genetically distant to the 2000/2001 viruses. Since CDV does not cause persistent infections, the cycling of different CDV lineages within the same locale suggests multiple reintroductions of the virus to area raccoons. Our findings establish a precedent for determining whether the perceived differences in mortality rates are actual and attributable in part to inherent differences between CDV strains arising from different CDV lineages.
doi:10.1186/1743-422X-1-2
PMCID: PMC524033  PMID: 15507154
25.  Virulence of tissue culture-propagated canine distemper virus. 
Infection and Immunity  1980;29(3):940-944.
Virulence of canine distemper virus (CDV) adapted to in vitro growth in Vero or bovine cells was determined by inoculation into CDV-susceptible neonatal gnotobiotic dogs. When compared with dogs given virulent R252-CDV, Vero R252-CDV was attenuated at passage level 14. In contrast, dogs inoculated with bovine R252-CDV at the same passage level experienced rapid fatal neurological disease. Virulence was not linked to ability to infect or replicate in canine pulmonary macrophage cultures. Retention of virulence by bovine R252-CDV is unique and worthy of further study.
PMCID: PMC551221  PMID: 7429639

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