In recent research on African horse sickness virus (AHSV) of the genus Orbivirus (family of Reoviridae), it was demonstrated for the first time that a structural protein of orbivirus is not essential for virus replication. This is even more remarkable, since the dispensable structural protein is the major target for the neutralizing immune response. This discovery opens new insights for research on all members of the Reoviridae family.
Members of the Reoviridae, such as orbiviruses (African horse sickness virus (AHSV), bluetongue virus and epizootic haemorrhagic disease virus) and rotavirus, cause major economic losses in livestock by orbiviruses to health problems worldwide by rotaviruses, including in humans.
Previously, it has been shown that non-structural proteins NS3/NS3a and NS4 are not essential for virus replication in vitro, whereas structural proteins VP1-7 of these non-enveloped architectural complex virus particles have been assumed to be all essential.
The recent findings that structural protein VP2 of AHSV is not essential for virus replication in vitro are very important for virologists working in the field of these non-enveloped viruses.