Metagenomic sequencing determines complete infectious bronchitis virus (avian Gammacoronavirus) vaccine strain genomes and associated viromes in chicken clinical samples

This article was originally published here

Virus Genes. 2021 Oct 9. doi: 10.1007/s11262-021-01872-7. Online ahead of print.


Infectious bronchitis virus (IBV, genus Gammacoronavirus) causes an economically important and highly contagious disease in chicken. Random primed RNA sequencing was applied to two IBV positive clinical samples and one in ovo-passaged virus. The virome of a cloacal swab pool was dominated by IBV (82% of viral reads) allowing de novo assembly of a GI-13 lineage complete genome with 99.95% nucleotide identity to vaccine strain 793B. In addition, substantial read counts (16% of viral reads) allowed the assembly of a near-complete chicken astrovirus genome, while lower read counts identified the presence of chicken calicivirus and avian leucosis virus. Viral reads in a respiratory/intestinal tissue pool were distributed between IBV (22.53%), Sicinivirus (Picornaviridae, 24%), and avian leucosis virus (37.04%). A complete IBV genome with 99.95% nucleotide identity to vaccine strain H120 (lineage GI-1), as well as a near-complete avian leucosis virus genome and a partial Sicinivirus genome were assembled from the tissue sample data. Lower read counts identified chicken calicivirus, Avibirnavirus (infectious bursal disease virus, assembling to 98.85% of segment A and 69.66% of segment B closely related to D3976/1 from Germany, 2017) and avian orthoreovirus, while three avian orthoavulavirus 1 reads confirmed prior real-time RT-PCR result. IBV sequence variation analysis identified both fixed and minor frequency variations in the tissue sample compared to its in ovo-passaged virus. Metagenomic methods allow the determination of complete coronavirus genomes from clinical chicken samples while providing additional insights in RNA virus sequence diversity and coinfecting viruses potentially contributing to pathogenicity.

PMID:34626348 | DOI:10.1007/s11262-021-01872-7