Molecular and serologic characterization, pathogenicity, and protection studies with infectious bronchitis virus field isolates from California

Mark W. Jackwood, Deborah A. Hilt, Susan M. Williams, Peter Woolcock, Carol Cardona, Robert O'Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


In this study, we characterized three variant infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) strains isolated in 2003 and 2004 from broiler chickens in California and compared them to previously isolated California variant viruses and to common vaccine serotypes used in the United States. We conducted genetic, serologic, and pathogenicity studies on all three isolates, then tested different vaccines against one of the viruses. Genetically the three variant IBV strains, designated CA557/03, CA706/03, and CA1737/04, were not related to each other. GenBank BLAST database search and phylogenetic analysis of the hypervariable region of the S1 subunit of the spike gene to determine the most closely related viruses to the three variants showed the CA557/03 variant to be 81.8% similar to the CAV/CA56b/91 whereas the CA706/03 and CA1737/04 variant viruses were only distantly related to Dutch/D1466/81 (72.2%), a vaccine strain used in Europe, and Korea/K142/02 (72.7%), a Korean field isolate, respectively. Cross virus-neutralization testing showed that none of the 2003-04 California IBV variant viruses were serologically related to each other or to Ark, Conn, or Mass vaccine strains. In addition the CA1737/04 isolate was also tested against DE072 and found not to be serologically related. All three variant viruses were pathogenic in 1-wk-old broilers and vaccination with Mass/Conn followed by Holland/Conn provided 80% protection against the CA1737/04 virus. The 2003-04 California variant viruses were not compared with variants isolated in California during 1970s and 1980s because, to our knowledge, no genetic information is available and those viruses are no longer obtainable. This study shows that the CA557/03 virus was distantly related to the CAV-type viruses isolated in California in the early 1990s, but that none of the 2003-04 viruses were similar genetically or serologically to the CAL99-type viruses, indicating that new IBV variants continue to emerge and cause disease in commercial chickens in California.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-533
Number of pages7
JournalAvian diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • California variant
  • Infectious bronchitis virus
  • Pathogenicity
  • Serotype
  • Vaccination and challenge

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