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Investigation of the replication capacity of lumpy skin disease virus in ticks

Investigation of the replication capacity of lumpy skin disease virus in ticks

Ahmed A. ElWakil1, Ausama A. Yousif2 , Adel A. Fayed3, Ibrahim M. elsabagh2, Mahmoud
El Gamal2, Omnia H. Refaei3


Background: Lumpy skin disease (LSD) is a highly contagious trans- boundary disease of cattle with
major economic losses. Lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV) belongs to the genus capripoxvirus of
Poxviridae. Blood-feeding arthropods like mosquitoes, flies and, African tick species play a role in
LSDV maintenance and transmission. Mechanical transmission of LSDV is well documented;
however, evidence of transovarian and transstadial transmission is a tick warrants an investigation into
the replication capacity of the virus in ticks. Transstadial occurs when virus remains with vector from
one life stage to the next and transovarian is transmission of virus from parent vector to its egg.
Objective: Investigation of LSDV replication capacity in ticks uses targeted detection of the viral
DNA polymerase mRNA and metagenomics analysis using MinIon technology.
Methods: A total of 34 adult female ticks were collected from three LSD clinically disease cattle that
were previously vaccinated using the Egyptian sheep pox (SPPV) vaccine, apparently healthy cattle in
contact with the diseased cattle, and one healthy animal located in a previously infected zone. LSDVspecific
PCR was used to detect LSDV in sampled ticks. PCR-positive tick samples were subject to a
modified RT-PCR assay to detect the polyadenylated LSDV DNA polymerase mRNA. Metagenomics
analysis using MinIon technology was used to generate LSDV sequences and to investigate relative
abundance of LSDV sequences in the sampled tick population compared to other known organisms
Results: Five ticks randomly selected from those collected were PCR positive for LSDV. 6 ticks
randomly selected from the collected ticks were pooled and this pool was also positive for LSDV
using PCR. The modified RT PCR gave inconclusive results. Metagenomics analysis indicated the
presence of a high genomic load of different known commensal and pathogenic microorganisms that
have been reported to replicate in ticks (e.g. Staphylococci, streptococci ) In addition, the analysis
revealed a LSDV sequence output that was nearly equal to sequence output of different bacteria
known to replicate in ticks.
Conclusion: The modified RT-PCR assay used to detect the polyadenylated LSDV DNA polymerase
mRNA in combination with data generated using metagenomics analysis provided additional support
to the hypothesis that LSDV can replicate in ticks and, warrants further investigation into the
replication capacity of LSDV in ticks.

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Journal of Virological Sciences


Vol. 8, Pages 1-27


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