We isolated a macropodid herpesvirus from a free-ranging eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteous) displaying clinical signs of respiratory disease and possibly neurologic disease. Sequence analysis of the herpesvirus glycoprotein G (gG) and glycoprotein B (gB) genes revealed that the virus was an alphaherpesvirus most closely related to macropodid herpesvirus 2 (MaHV-2) with 82.7% gG and 94.6% gB amino acid sequence identity. Serologic analyses showed similar cross-neutralization patterns to those of MaHV-2. The two viruses had different growth characteristics in cell culture. Most notably, this virus formed significantly larger plaques and extensive syncytia when compared with MaHV-2. No syncytia were observed for MaHV-2. Restriction endonuclease analysis of whole viral genomes demonstrated distinct restriction endonuclease cleavage patterns for all three macropodid herpesviruses. These studies suggest that a distinct macropodid alphaherpesvirus may be capable of infecting and causing disease in eastern grey kangaroos.
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Vol. 49 • No. 1