Pathogenic strains of Aleutian mink disease virus (AMDV) such as Utah-1 do not replicate in cell culture (e.g., Crandell Rees feline kidney cells) while the in vitro-adapted AMDV strain ADV-Gorham (ADV-G) is not pathogenic. Here, we constructed a full-length infectious clone (pADV-G). Alignment of the VP2 gene of ADV-G with that of other AMDV strains revealed many amino acid (a.a.) residues conserved among pathogenic isolates that differed in ADV-G. Four virulence-associated, conserved residues of pADV-G VP2 were studied by site-directed mutagenesis (H92A, Q94S, Y115F, and I116L). Mutation of residue 92 or 94 decreased viral-transcription and viral-infectivity levels, whereas mutation of residue 115 or 116 did not affect viral-infectivity in CRFK cells. These results indicated that VP2 residues 92 and 94, both located on the surface of the viral capsid, are critical for AMDV infectivity in vitro.
The genome of a highly pathogenic strain of Aleutian disease mink virus (AMDV-BJ) isolated from a domestic farm in North China has been determined and compared with other strains. Alignment analysis of the major structural protein VP2 revealed that AMDV-BJ is unique among 17 other AMDV strains. Compared with the nonpathogenic strain ADV-G, the 3' end Y-shaped hairpin was highly conserved, while a 4-base deletion in the 5' U-shaped terminal palindrome resulted in a different unpaired "bubble" group near the NS1-binding region of the 5' end hairpin which may affect replication efficiency in vivo. We also performed a protein analysis of the NS1, NS2, and new-confirmed NS3 of AMDV-BJ with some related AMDV DNA sequence published, providing information on evolution of AMDV genes. This study shows a useful method to obtain the full-length genome of AMDV and some other parvoviruses.