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, 13:9

First Online: 03 February 2016Received: 03 November 2015Accepted: 18 January 2016


BackgroundThe equine infectious anemia virus EIAV vaccine is the only attenuated lentiviral vaccine applied on a large scale that has been shown to be effective in controlling the prevalence of EIA in China. This vaccine was developed by successive passaging of a field-isolated virulent strain in different hosts and cultivated cells. To explore the molecular basis for the phenotype alteration of this vaccine strain, we systematically analyzed its genomic evolution during vaccine development.

ResultsSequence analysis revealed that the genetic distance between the wild-type strain and six representative strains isolated from key development stages gradually increased with the number of passages. Env gene, but not gag and pol, showed a clear evolutionary flow similar to that of the whole genomes of different generations during the attenuation. Stable mutations were identified in multiple regions of multiple genes along with virus passaging. The adaption of the virus to the growth environment of cultured cells with accumulated genomic and genetic variations was positively correlated with the reduction in pathogenicity and rise of immunogenicity. Statistical analyses revealed significant differences in the frequency of the most stable mutations between in vivo and ex vivo-adapted strains and between virulent and attenuated strains.

ConclusionsThese data indicate that EIAV evolution during vaccine development generated an accumulation of mutations under the selective drive force, which helps to better understand the molecular basis of lentivirus pathogenicity and immunogenicity.

KeywordsEIAV Genetic Evolution Lentiviral vaccine Xue-Feng Wang and Yue-Zhi Lin contributed equally to this work

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-s12977-016-0240-6 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Xue-Feng Wang - Yue-Zhi Lin - Qiang Li - Qiang Liu - Wei-Wei Zhao - Cheng Du - Jie Chen - Xiaojun Wang - Jian-Hua Zhou


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