Nucleic acid probes were developed to differentiate VP4 (P) types among porcine rotaviruses. These probes were then used to determine the relative prevalence of P types 6 (Gottfried-like) and 7 (OSU-like) in cultivated rotaviruses and field specimens. The variable regions between bases 205-551 of the VP4 gene of rotavirus strains OSU and Gottfried were amplified by the polymerase chain reaction and radiolabeled with 32P by random primer extension. Radiolabeled probes were tested in a dot blot hybridization assay. The subgenomic probes prepared from VP4 gene detected as little as 5 ng of rotavirus RNA and were specific for differentiating the two porcine rotavirus P types. The probes were used to determine the P type of several reference rotavirus strains and recently cultivated porcine rotavirus strains. Eight of the 10 cultivated, previously untyped, rotaviruses isolates tested were of P type 7 (OSU-like). Two rotavirus strains neither reacted with OSU nor with the Gottfried probe, therefore, their P type could not be determined. Several out of thue 26 rotavirus (65.4%) field samples tested had a P type 6 (Gottfried-like) whereas 5 out of 26 (19.2%) had a P type 7 (OSU-like). Four of the 26 samples (15.4%) reacted neither with the OSU nor with the Gottfried probe and possibly represent previously unrecognized P types in swine. Data in this study suggests that (1) rotaviruses with P type 7 are most common among the cultivated rotaviruses, (2) rotaviruses with P type 6 are the most abundant type of rotavirus in natural infections and (3) rotaviruses with additional P types are also associated with diarrheic swine.
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