Very virulent (vv) infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) Gx strain with high pathogenicity was attenuated through replication in specific-pathogen-free (SPF) chicken embryos and in chicken embryo fibroblast (CEF) cell cultures. The changes in VP2 nucleotide and the deduced amino acid sequences were obtained during attenuation of vvIBDV in CEF culture. Sequence analysis of selected passages from numbers 0 to 20 in CEFs (designated here Gx to CEF-20) showed that no changes were detectable in the VP2 gene before CEF-7. There were a few changes in the nucleotide sequence of the VP2 gene but no amino acid substitutions at CEF-8. The virus of CEF-9 was an intermediate with some amino acid changes that possibly were related to virulence. CEF-10 virus had become similar to CU-1 strain. The VP2 gene sequence remained the same from CEF-10 to CEF-20. The results of pathogenicity tests showed that the mortalities of Gx, CEF-5, CEF-8, and CEF-9 in 4-wk-old SPF chickens were 64%, 60%, 60%, and 32%, respectively; whereas CEF-10, CEF-15, and CEF-20 were nonpathogenic. Virus neutralization tests with Gx strain showed that the antigenicities are similar from Gx to CEF-20.
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Vol. 48 • No. 1