Nested reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for typing ruminant pestiviruses: bovine viral diarrhea viruses and border disease virus


A nested reverse transcription (RT) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay was evaluated for differentiating reference bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) strains, BVDV from diagnostic accessions, modified-live virus (MLV) BVDV strains in bovine viral vaccines, and a reference border disease virus (BDV). The detection level of this assay was compared to viral infection in cell culture. The PCR assay was used to distinguish 3 ruminant pestiviruses, types 1 and 2 BVDV, and type 3 BDV. The consensus (first) PCR assay detected all 3 ruminant pestiviruses, a result of the shared sequence homology. The consensus PCR product was subjected to a second (nested) PCR which used type-specific primers. The nested PCR was able to differentiate the 3 ruminant pestiviruses. Viral stocks of BVDV were diluted 10-fold and processed for the 2-step PCR assay. The sensitivity of this 2-step PCR assay was compared to viral infectivity in cell culture based on identical volumes of the system tested (cell culture assay and processing for RNA). The RT-PCR type-specific assay differentiated BVDV laboratory reference strains (12), diagnostic laboratory isolates (15), 2 MLV BVDV vaccine strains, and a BDV strain. The 30 ruminant pestiviruses typed included: (1) 27 reference strains and diagnostic laboratory isolates; 18 cytopathic (CP) type 1 strains, 3 CP type 2 strains, 3 noncytopathic (NCP) type 1 strains, and 3 NCP type 2 strains; (2) 2 MLV strains, type 1; and (3) 1 CP BDV type 3. The PCR assay had a detection limit of 10 TCID50/0.025 mL of virus when 3 separate BVDV were tested. This 2 step RT-PCR assay would be useful for the typing of ruminant pestiviruses, particularly BVDV isolates from the diagnostic laboratory.

Fulton RW, d’Offay JM, Saliki JT, Burge LJ, Helman RG, Confer AW, Bolin SR, and Ridpath JF. Can J Vet Res. 1999 October; 63(4): 276–281.