Comparative Functional Study of the Region 3 and Region 7 of Feline Coronaviruses
Period of the research activity:
Feline coronaviruses (FeCoVs) are present in two different pathotypes in the field. Feline enteric coronavirus (FECV) is more common and it causes mild or unapparent enteritis, while feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV) is responsible for a severe systemic granulomatous disease. FECV replication is mostly confined to the intestinal tract while FIPV replicates in monocytes and macrophages.
In the case of FECV/FIPV the shift of in vivo tissue tropism correlates with virulence and the shifting of the focus of viral replication from the intestinal tract toward macrophages and monocytes goes hand in hand with deletions in the accessory region 3 and 7. Scientific data of others and our own suggest that some ORFs (especially 3c and 7a) from these regions directly influence pathogenecity of the FeCoVs. Though there is an accumulation of direct and indirect scientific evidence that accessory proteins translated from these regions might play important roles in sustaining and restricting viral replication in the intestinal tract of the host, yet to date, our knowledge about their exact function and even about their physical properties (including their precise number and size) is still very limited.
Our main objective is to uncover the molecular mechanisms behind the operation of region 3 and 7 in feline coronaviruses and to clarify their role in the sustainment of FECV’s enterotropism, and in the development of systemic infection by FIPV.
To achieve this goal we aim to study the transcription and the translation of region 3 and 7 of the FECV/FIPV virus pair in vitro, as well as the localization and cellular interaction of the translated proteins in different tissues.
Researcher(s) of IVMR on the Project: