A real-time RT-PCR assay for molecular identification and quantitation of feline morbillivirus RNA from biological specimens

Publication date: August 2018
Source:Journal of Virological Methods, Volume 258
Author(s): Eliana De Luca, Paolo Emidio Crisi, Marco Di Domenico, Daniela Malatesta, Giacomo Vincifori, Morena Di Tommaso, Giovanni Di Guardo, Gabriella Di Francesco, Antonio Petrini, Giovanni Savini, Andrea Boari, Alessio Lorusso
The aim of this study was to develop a real-time RT-PCR to detect and quantitate feline morbillivirus (FeMV) RNA in biological samples. Primers and probe were targeted on a conserved region of FeMV P/V/C gene. To validate the assay with field samples, a total number of specimens of cats have been recruited including 264 urine and blood samples and compared with a generic RT-PCR targeting the L protein encoding gene of morbilliviruses. In addition, 385 tissue samples from 35 carcasses of cats have been also employed. RNA titres were low in all tested samples. Results also indicated the absence of cross-reaction with related morbilliviruses and existing pathogens of cats. In tissues with low levels of FeMV RNA, the presence of viral antigen was also evidenced by immunohistochemistry targeting the N viral protein. This newly described assay allows for a rapid, accurate and reliable quantitative detection of FeMV RNA that can be applied for diagnostics and research studies.