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Zimmermann, Vanessa; Rinder, Monika; Kaspers, Bernd; Staeheli, Peter and Rubbenstroth, Dennis (2014): Impact of antigenic diversity on laboratory diagnosis of Avian bornavirus infections in birds. In: Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic investigation, Vol. 26, No. 6: pp. 769-777 [PDF, 610kB]


Avian bornaviruses (ABVs) are a group of genetically diverse viruses within the Bornaviridae family that can infect numerous avian species and represent the causative agents of proventricular dilatation disease, an often fatal disease that is widely distributed in captive populations of parrots and related species. The current study was designed to assess the antigenic variability of the family Bornaviridae and to determine its impact on ABV diagnosis by employing fluorescent antibody assays. It was shown that polyclonal rabbit sera directed against recombinant bornavirus nucleoprotein, X protein, phosphoprotein, and matrix protein provided sufficient cross-reactivity for the detection of viral antigen from a broad range of bornavirus genotypes grown in cell culture. In contrast, a rabbit anti-glycoprotein serum and 2 monoclonal antibodies directed against nucleoprotein and phosphoprotein proteins reacted more specifically. Antibodies were readily detected in sera from avian patients infected with known ABV genotypes if cells persistently infected with a variety of different bornavirus genotypes were used for analysis. For all sera, calculated antibody titers were highest when the homologous or a closely related target virus was used for the assay. Cross-reactivity with more distantly related genotypes of other phylogenetic groups was usually reduced, resulting in titer reduction of up to 3 log units. The presented results contribute to a better understanding of the antigenic diversity of family Bornaviridae and further emphasize the importance of choosing appropriate diagnostic tools for sensitive detection of ABV infections.

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