Bovine herpesvirus 1 (BoHV-1) is an economically important pathogen of cattle associated with respiratory and reproductive disease. To further develop BoHV-1 as a vaccine vector, a study was conducted to identify the essential and non-essential genes required for in vitro viability. Randominsertion mutagenesis utilizing a Tn5 transposition system and targeted gene deletion were employed to construct gene disruption and gene deletion libraries, respectively, of an infectious clone of BoHV-1. Transposon insertion position and confirmation of gene deletion were determined by direct sequencing. The essential or non-essential requirement of either transposed or deleted open reading frames (ORFs) was assessed by transfection of respective BoHV-1 DNA into host cells. Of the 73 recognized ORFs encoded by the BoHV-1 genome, 33 were determined to be essential and 36 to be non-essential for virus viability in cell culture; determining the requirement of the two dual copy ORFs was inconclusive. The majority of ORFs were shown to conform to the in vitro requirements of BoHV-1 homologues encoded by human herpesvirus 1 (HHV-1). However, ORFs encoding glycoprotein K (UL53), regulatory, membrane, tegument and capsid proteins (UL54, UL49.5, UL49, UL35, UL20, UL16 and UL7) were shown to differ in requirement when compared to HHV-1-encoded homologues.
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