Neuropathogenic isolates of lactate dehydrogenase virus (LDV) differ from non-neuropathogenic isolates in their unique ability to cause a paralytic disease (age-dependent poliomyelitis, ADPM) in immunosuppressed C58 and AKR mice by cytocidally infecting their anterior horn neurons. We have recently reported that an original neuropathogenic LDV isolate, LDV-C-BR, contained a low level of a coexisting non-neuropathogenic LDV which, in a mixed infection of mice, rapidly outcompeted the former resulting in apparent loss of neuropathogenicity of the reisolated LDV. This correlated with an impaired ability of the neuropathogenic LDV to establish a viremic persistent infection. In the present study we identified the presence of three different quasispecies in another original neuropathogenic LDV by sequence analysis of cDNA clones of ORF 5 (encoding the primary envelope glycoprotein VP-3P) obtained from the isolate. Successful development of differential reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction assays allowed us to biologically clone all three quasispecies through repeated end point dilutions. Only one of the quasispecies (LDV-v) was neuropathogenic. The other two, LDV-vP (probably the same as LDV-P) and LDV-vx (a novel LDV quasispecies that had not been previously identified), were non-neuropathogenic and found to be the common LDV quasispecies associated with almost all LDVs originally isolated from mice carrying various other transplantable tumors. The neuropathogenic LDV-v became selectively amplified in the spinal cords of paralyzed mice, but possessed an impaired ability to establish a persistent viremic infection and was rapidly out-competed by LDV-vP and LDV-vx in mixed infections, just as reported previously for LDV-C-BR. The results further support our hypothesis that neuropathogenicity and impaired capability for viremic persistence of LDV are determined by the same molecular feature. The only consistent and biologically relevant molecular difference we have observed between neuropathogenic and non-neuropathogenic LDVs is the number of polylactosaminoglycan chains associated with the ectodomain of VP-3P.
- LDV variants
- Lactate dehydrogenase-elevating virus
- Neuropathogenic LDV