Emergence of a novel highly pathogenic recombinant virus from three lineages of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus 2 in China 2017.
A novel porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus 2 (PRRSV2) was isolated from diseased piglets in Shandong, China in 2017 and denominated as SD17-38. ORF5 sequencing showed that SD17-38 contains a unique serine/asparagine deletion at position 33 and an asparagine insertion at position 60 of GP5, which has never been described. The SD17-38 complete genome was then determined, and genome-based phylogenetic analysis showed that SD17-38 is clustered with NADC30-like isolates. Sequence alignment and recombination analyses by RDP4 and SimPlot all indicated that SD17-38 is a recombinant virus from NADC30 (lineage 1), BJ-4 (lineage 5) and TJ (lineage 8) isolates. Animal challenge study in 4-week piglets showed that SD17-38 causes high fever (≥41°C), 100% morbidity and 40% mortality. In addition, significantly lower weight gain and severe histopathological lung lesions could be observed in SD17-38-infected pigs. In particular, the unique deletion and insertion in GP5 were stable during the challenge study. This study provides direct evidence for the natural occurrence of recombination events among three lineages of PRRSV2 in Chinese swine herds, resulting in the emergence of novel PRRSV variant with unique genetic property and high pathogenicity.