Key Laboratory of Animal Epidemiology of the Ministry of Agriculture, College of Veterinary Medicine and State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology, China Agricultural University, Beijing, 100193, China. [Email]
Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) is characterized by its genetic variation and limited cross protection among heterologous strains. Even though several viral structural proteins have been regarded as inducers of neutralizing antibodies (NAs) against PRRSV, the mechanism underlying limited cross-neutralization among heterologous strains is still controversial. In the present study, examinations of NA cross reaction between a highly pathogenic PRRSV (HP-PRRSV) strain, JXwn06, and a low pathogenic PRRSV (LP-PRRSV) strain, HB-1/3.9, were conducted with viral neutralization assays in MARC-145 cells. None of the JXwn06-hyperimmuned pigs' sera could neutralize HB-1/3.9 in vitro and vice versa. To address the genetic variation between these two viruses that are associated with limited cross-neutralization, chimeric viruses with coding regions swapped between these two strains were constructed. Viral neutralization assays indicated that variations in nonstructural protein 2 (nsp2) and structural proteins together contribute to weak cross-neutralization activity between JXwn06 and HB-1/3.9. Furthermore, we substituted the nsp2-, glycoprotein2 (GP2)-, GP3-, and GP4-coding regions together, or nsp2-, GP5-, and membrane (M) protein-coding regions simultaneously between these two viruses to construct chimeric viruses to test cross-neutralization reactivity with hyperimmunized sera induced by their parental viruses. The results indicated that the swapped nsp2 and GP5-M viruses increased the neutralization reactivity with the donor strain antisera in MARC-145 cells. Taken together, these results show that variations in nsp2 and GP5-M correlate with the limited neutralization reactivity between the heterologous strains HP-PRRSV JXwn06 and LP-PRRSV HB-1/3.9.