Publications

Rapid Generation of a Recombinant Genotype VIII Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV) Using Full-Length Synthetic cDNA

Murulitharan, Kavitha; Yusoff, Khatijah; Omar, Abdul Rahman; Peeters, Ben P.H.; Molouki, Aidin

Summary

Rescue of (−)ssRNA viruses involves the sequential assembly and cloning of the full-length cDNA, which is often a challenging and time-consuming process. The objective of this study was to develop a novel method to rapidly clone the full-length cDNA of a very virulent NDV by only one assembly step. A completely synthetic 15 kb cDNA of a Malaysian genotype VIII NDV known as strain AF2240-I with additional flanking BsmBI sites was synthesised. However, to completely follow the rule-of-six, the additional G residues that are traditionally added after the T7 promoter transcription initiation site were not synthesised. The synthetic fragment was then cloned into low-copy number transcription vector pOLTV5-phiX between the T7 promoter and HDV Rz sequences through digestion with BbsI. The construct was co-transfected with helper plasmids into BSRT7/5 cells. A recombinant NDV called rAF was successfully rescued using transfection supernatant harvested as early as 16 h post-transfection. Virus from each passage showed an intracerebral pathogenicity index (ICPI) and a mean death time (MDT) similar to the parent strain AF2240-I. Moreover, rAF possessed an introduced mutation which was maintained for several passages. The entire rescue using the one-step assembly procedure was completed within a few weeks, which is extremely fast compared to previously used methods.