Hiroho Ishida, Shin Murakami, Haruhiko Kamiki, Hiromichi Matsugo, Akiko Takenaka-Uema, Taisuke Horimoto


Influenza D virus (IDV) was initially isolated in the United States in 2011. IDV is distributed worldwide and is one of the causative agents of the bovine respiratory disease complex (BRDC), which causes high morbidity and mortality in feedlot cattle. The molecular mechanisms of IDV pathogenicity are still unknown. Reverse genetics systems are vital tools not only for studying the biology of viruses, but also for use in applications such as recombinant vaccine viruses. Here, we report the establishment of a plasmid-based reverse genetics system for IDV. We first verified that the 3′-terminal nucleotide of each 7-segmented genomic RNA contained uracil (U), contrary to previous reports, and we were then able to successfully generate recombinant IDV by cotransfecting 7 plasmids containing these genomic RNAs along with 4 plasmids expressing polymerase proteins and nucleoprotein into human rectal tumor 18G (HRT-18G) cells. The recombinant virus had a growth deficit compared to the wild-type virus, and we determined the reason for this growth difference by examining the genomic RNA content of the viral particles. We found that the recombinant virus incorporated an unbalanced ratio of viral RNA segments into particles compared to that of the wild-type virus, and thus we adjusted the amount of each plasmid used in transfection to obtain a recombinant virus with the same replicative capacity as the wild-type virus. Our work here in establishing a reverse genetics system for IDV will have a broad range of applications, including uses in studies focused on better understanding IDV replication and pathogenicity, as well as in those contributing to the development of BRDC countermeasures.

Paper Information

: Journal of Virology
: 10.1128/JVI.01767-19