The Pirbright Institute publication directory contains details of selected publications written by our researchers.

There were a total of 1433 results for your search.
Guinat C, Vergne T, Jurado-Diaz C, Sánchez-Vizcaíno J M, Dixon L, Pfeiffer D U (2016)

Effectiveness and practicality of control strategies for African swine fever: what do we really know?

Veterinary Record early view,


African swine fever (ASF) is a major pig health problem, and the causative virus is moving closer to Western European regions where pig density is high. Stopping or slowing down the spread of ASF requires mitigation strategies that are both effective and practical. Based on the elicitation of ASF expert opinion, this study identified surveillance and intervention strategies for ASF that are perceived as the most effective by providing the best combination between effectiveness and practicality. Among the 20 surveillance strategies that were identified, passive surveillance of wild boar and syndromic surveillance of pig mortality were considered to be the most effective surveillance strategies for controlling ASF virus spread. Among the 22 intervention strategies that were identified, culling of all infected herds and movement bans for neighbouring herds were regarded as the most effective intervention strategies. Active surveillance and carcase removal in wild boar populations were rated as the most effective surveillance and intervention strategies, but were also considered to be the least practical, suggesting that more research is needed to develop more effective methods for controlling ASF in wild boar populations.

Gao Y, Zhang Y, Yao Y, Guan X, Liu Y, Qi X, Wang Y, Liu C, Zhang Y, Gao H, Nair V, Wang X, Gao Y (2016)

Avian leukosis virus subgroup J induces VEGF expression via NF-kappaB/PI3K-dependent IL-6 production

Oncotarget early view,


Avian leukosis virus subgroup J (ALV-J) is an oncogenic virus causing hemangiomas and myeloid tumors in chickens. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a multifunctional pro-inflammatory interleukin involved in many types of cancer. We previously demonstrated that IL-6 expression was induced following ALV-J infection in chickens. The aim of this study is to characterize the mechanism by which ALV-J induces IL-6 expression, and the role of IL-6 in tumor development. Our results demonstrate that ALV-J infection increases IL-6 expression in chicken splenocytes, peripheral blood lymphocytes, and vascular endothelial cells. IL-6 production is induced by the ALV-J envelope protein gp85 and capsid protein p27 via PI3K- and NF-kappaB-mediated signaling. IL-6 in turn induced expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A and its receptor, VEGFR-2, in vascular endothelial cells and embryonic vascular tissues. Suppression of IL-6 using siRNA inhibited the ALV-J induced VEGF-A and VEGFR-2 expression in vascular endothelial cells, indicating that the ALV-J-induced VEGF-A/VEGFR-2 expression is mediated by IL-6. As VEGF-A and VEGFR-2 are important factors in oncogenesis, our findings suggest that ALV-J hijacks IL-6 to promote tumorigenesis, and indicate that IL-6 could potentially serve as a therapeutic target in ALV-J infections.

Matos A C D, Rosa J C C, Nomikou K, Guimarães L L B, Costa É A, Guedes M I M C, Driemeier D, Lobato Z I P, Mertens P P C (2016)

Genome sequence of bluetongue virus serotype 17 isolated in Brazil in 2014

Genome Announcements 4 (5), e01161-16


The complete genome sequence of bluetongue virus (BTV) serotype 17 strain 17/BRA/2014/73, isolated from a sheep in Brazil in 2014, is reported here. All segments clustered with western topotype strains and indicated reassortment events with other BTV from the Americas. The strain 17/BRA/2014/73 represents a novel reference strain for BTV-17 from South America.

Fowler V L, Ransburgh R H, Poulsen E G, Wadsworth J, King D P, Mioulet V, Knowles N J, Williamson S, Liu X, Anderson G A, Fang Y, Bai J (2016)

Development of a novel real-time RT-PCR assay to detect Seneca Valley virus associated with emerging cases of vesicular disease in pigs

Journal of Virological Methods 239, 34-37


Seneca Valley virus (SVV) can cause vesicular disease that is clinically indistinguishable from foot-and-mouth disease, vesicular stomatitis and swine vesicular disease. SVV-associated disease has been identified in pigs in several countries, namely USA, Canada, Brazil and China. Diagnostic tests are required to reliably detect this emerging virus, and this report describes the development and evaluation of a novel real-time reverse-transcription (RT) PCR assay (rRT-PCR), targeting the viral polymerase gene (3D) of SVV. This new assay detected all historical and contemporary SVV-1 isolates examined (n = 8), while no cross-reactivity was observed with nucleic acid template prepared from other vesicular disease viruses or common swine pathogens. The analytical sensitivity of the rRT-PCR was 0.79 TCID50/ml and the limit of detect was equivalent using two different RT-PCR master-mixes. The performance of the test was further evaluated using pig nasal (n = 25) and rectal swab samples (n = 25), where concordant results compared to virus sequencing were generated for 43/50 samples. The availability of this assay, will enable laboratories to rapidly detect SVV in cases of vesicular disease in pigs, negated for notifiable diseases, and could enable existing knowledge gaps to be investigated surrounding the natural epidemiology of SVV.

Martín-Jaular L, de Menezes-Neto A, Monguió-Tortajada M, Elizalde-Torrent A, Díaz-Varela M, Fernández-Becerra C, Borras F E, Montoya M, del Portillo H A (2016)

Spleen-dependent immune protection elicited by CpG adjuvanted reticulocyte-derived exosomes from malaria infection is associated with changes in T cell subsets' distribution

Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology 4, 131


Reticulocyte-derived exosomes (rex) are 30-100 nm membrane vesicles of endocytic origin released during the maturation of reticulocytes to erythrocytes upon fusion of multivesicular bodies with the plasma membrane. Combination of CpG-ODN with rex obtained from BALB/c mice infected with the reticulocyte-prone non-lethal P. yoelii 17X malaria strain (rexPy), had been shown to induce survival and long lasting protection. Here, we show that splenectomized mice are not protected upon rexPy+CpG inmunizations and that protection is restored upon passive transfer of splenocytes obtained from animals immunized with rexPy+CpG. Notably, rexPy immunization of mice induced PD1- memory T cell expansion with effector phenotype. Proteomics analysis of rexPy confirmed their reticulocyte origin and demonstrated the presence of parasite antigens. Our studies thus prove, for what we believe is the first time, that rex from reticulocyte-prone malarial infections are able to induce splenic long-lasting memory responses. To try extrapolating these data to human infections, in vitro experiments with spleen cells of human transplantation donors were performed. Plasma-derived exosomes from vivax malaria patients (exPv) were actively uptaken by human splenocytes and stimulated spleen cells leading to expansion of T-cells.

Fakri F, Embarki T, Parida S, Bamouh Z, Jazouli M, Mahapatra M, Tadlaoui K, Fassi-Fihri O, Richardson C D, Elharrak M (2016)

Re-emergence of peste des petits ruminants virus in 2015 in Morocco: molecular characterization and experimental infection in Alpine goats

Veterinary Microbiology 197, 137-141


Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) is a transboundary viral disease of small ruminants that causes huge economic losses in Africa, The Middle East and Asia. In Morocco, the first PPR outbreak was notified in 2008. Since then no cases were reported for seven years, probably due to three successive vaccination campaigns during 2008-2011 and close surveillance at the border areas. In June 2015, the disease re-emerged in Morocco, raising questions about the origin of the virus. The PPR virus was confirmed by qRT-PCR and virus was isolated from clinical samples on VeroNectin-4 cells. The disease was experimentally reproduced in Alpine goats using both sheep and goat derived outbreak isolates. Molecular characterization of the 2015 Moroccan PPR isolate confirmed the identity of the virus as lineage IV, closely related to the 2012 Algerian (KP793696) and 2012 Tunisian (KM068121) isolates and significantly distinct from the previous PPRV Morocco 2008 strain (HQ131927). Therefore this study confirms a new incursion of PPR virus in Morocco during 2015 and highlights the urgency of implementation of a common control strategy to combat PPR in Maghreb region in North Africa.

Lyons N, King D, Lyoo Y, Paton D (2016)

Challenges of generating and maintaining protective vaccine-induced immune responses for foot-and-mouth disease virus in pigs

Frontiers in Veterinary Science 3, 102


Vaccination can play a central role in the control of outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) by reducing both the impact of clinical disease and the extent of virus transmission between susceptible animals. Recent incursions of exotic FMD virus lineages into several East Asian countries have highlighted the difficulties of generating and maintaining an adequate immune response in vaccinated pigs. Factors that impact upon vaccine performance include: (i) the potency, antigenic payload and formulation of a vaccine; (ii) the antigenic match between the vaccine and the heterologous circulating field strain and (iii) the regime (timing, frequency and herd-level coverage) used to administer the vaccine. This review collates data from studies that have evaluated the performance of FMDV vaccines at the individual and population level in pigs, and identifies research priorities that could provide new insights to improve vaccination in the future.

Post J, Weesendorp E, Montoya M, Loeffen W L (2016)

Influence of age and dose of African swine fever virus infections on clinical outcome and blood parameters in pigs

Viral Immunology early view,


African swine fever (ASF) is a fatal disease for domestic pigs, leading to serious economic losses in countries where ASF is endemic. Despite extensive research, efficient vaccines against ASF are lacking. Since peripheral blood cells are important mediators for vaccines, we study the impact of ASF on blood parameters in pigs with different ages and infected with different doses of ASF virus. Four different groups were studied: (1) 12 weeks of age/low virus dose; (2) 12 weeks of age/high virus dose; (3) 18 weeks of age/low virus dose; and (4) 18 weeks of age/high virus dose. By varying in age and/or ASFV inoculation dose, we monitor blood parameters during different degrees of disease. Thirty percent of the pigs survived the infection with a moderately virulent strain of African swine fever virus (ASFV). Animals that did survive infection were generally older, independent from the inoculation dose used. A firm reduction in many different cell types at 3–5 days postinfection (DPI) was accompanied by an increase in body temperature, followed by clinical signs and mortality from day 6 PI. While blood parameters generally normalized in survivors, γδ T cells and IL-10 levels could be related to mortality. These conclusions should be considered in new approaches for protection against ASF.

Sutton E R, Yu Y, Shimeld S M, White-Cooper H, Alphey L (2016)

Identification of genes for engineering the male germline of Aedes aegypti and Ceratitis capitata

BMC Genomics 17 (1), 948


Synthetic biology approaches are promising new strategies for control of pest insects that transmit disease and cause agricultural damage. These strategies require characterised modular components that can direct appropriate expression of effector sequences, with components conserved across species being particularly useful. The goal of this study was to identify genes from which new potential components could be derived for manipulation of the male germline in two major pest species, the mosquito Aedes aegypti and the tephritid fruit fly Ceratitis capitata.

Lung O, Furukawa-Stoffer T, Burton Hughes K, Pasick J, King D P, Hodko D (2016)

Multiplex RT-PCR and automated microarray for detection of eight bovine viruses

Transboundary and Emerging Diseases early view,


Microarrays can be a useful tool for pathogen detection as it allow for simultaneous interrogation of the presence of a large number of genetic sequences in a sample. However, conventional microarrays require extensive manual handling and multiple pieces of equipment for printing probes, hybridization, washing and signal detection. In this study, a reverse transcription (RT)–PCR with an accompanying novel automated microarray for simultaneous detection of eight viruses that affect cattle [vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), bovine viral diarrhoea virus type 1 and type 2, bovine herpesvirus 1, bluetongue virus, malignant catarrhal fever virus, rinderpest virus (RPV) and parapox viruses] is described. The assay accurately identified a panel of 37 strains of the target viruses and identified a mixed infection. No non-specific reactions were observed with a panel of 23 non-target viruses associated with livestock. Vesicular stomatitis virus was detected as early as 2 days post-inoculation in oral swabs from experimentally infected animals. The limit of detection of the microarray assay was as low as 1 TCID50/ml for RPV. The novel microarray platform automates the entire post-PCR steps of the assay and integrates electrophoretic-driven capture probe printing in a single user-friendly instrument that allows array layout and assay configuration to be user-customized on-site.


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