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1. A study was undertaken to characterise the oncogene Meq at the molecular level for three serotype 1 Marek's disease virus (MDV) field isolates from vaccinated poultry flocks which had encountered a Marek's disease outbreak in the southern part of India. The isolates were named Ind/TN/11/01, Ind/KA/12/02 and Ind/TN/12/03. The oncogene Meq was amplified by PCR and sequenced. 2. The isolates were shown to have a homology for the Meq gene of 99.1-99.8% with various isolates from China and 98.5-99.2% with isolates from Europe and the USA. Alignment analysis of the nucleotide sequences showed that nucleotide mutations at 5 different positions in the Meq gene displayed perfect regularity in MDVs circulating in the southern part of India, which could be considered as features of field MDVs recently prevalent in this area. 3. In addition, the mutation in the Meq gene at positions 251, 260 and 437 was unique and coincides with very virulent strains from China GX0101, GXY2 and a Hungarian strain ATE. The mutation at positions 283 and 300 was unique and coincides with the very virulent strain ATE of Hungary. There were also single nucleotide mutations at positions 155 (A-T), 369 (A-C), 462 (C-A) and 548 (C-T) observed in the isolate Ind/TN/12/03. 4. Phylogenetic analysis of Meq sequences revealed that field MDVs in this area evolved independently but have similarities with very virulent strains from China, and that Meq has more similarities with the very virulent Hungarian strain.


P Suresh, J Johnson Rajeswar, K Sukumar, T J Harikrishnan, P Srinivasan. Complete nucleotide sequence analysis of the oncogene "Meq" from serotype 1 Marek's disease virus isolates from India. British poultry science. 2017 Apr;58(2):111-115

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PMID: 28043157

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