Assessing a respiratory toxic infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) strain: isolation, identification, pathogenicity, and immunological failure insights.

21 Jun 2024
Liu H, Wang C, He Y, Wei X, Cheng J, Yang W, Shi K, Si H
Infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) is caused by avian coronavirus and poses a global economic threat to the poultry industry. In 2023, a highly pathogenic IBV strain, IBV/CN/GD20230501, was isolated and identified from chickens vaccinated with IBV-M41 in Guangdong, China. This study comprehensively investigated the biological characteristics of the isolated IBV strain, including its genotype, whole genome sequence analysis of its S1 gene, pathogenicity, host immune response, and serum non-targeted metabolomics. Through the analysis of the S1 gene sequence, serum neutralization tests, and comparative genomics, it was proven that IBV/CN/GD20230501 belongs to the GI-I type of strain and is serotype II. One alanine residue in the S1 subunit of the isolated strain was mutated into serine, and some mutations were observed in the ORF1ab gene and the terminal region of the genome. Animal challenge experiments using the EID50 and TCID50 calculations showed that IBV/CN/GD20230501 possesses strong respiratory pathogenicity, with early and long-term shedding of viruses and rapid viral spread. Antibody detection indicated that chickens infected with IBV/CN/GD20230501 exhibited delayed expression of early innate immune genes, while those infected with M41 showed rapid gene induction and effective viral control. Metabolomics analysis demonstrated that this virus infection led to differential expression of 291 ions in chicken serum, mainly affecting the citric acid cycle (tricarboxylic acid cycle).IMPORTANCEThis study identified an infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) strain isolated from vaccinated chickens in an immunized population that had certain sequence differences compared to IBV-M41, resulting in significantly enhanced pathogenicity and host defense. This strain has the potential to replace M41 as a more suitable challenge model for drug research. The non-targeted metabolomics analysis highlighting the citric acid cycle provides a new avenue for studying this highly virulent strain.