The SAS proposals for participation in FP6 projects
are listed in blocks according to the FP6 priority theme structure

FP6 priority
1.1.5   Food Quality and Safety
Title of the proposal

Principles of pathogenesis of newly-emerging hypervirulent Marek’s disease viruses

Slovak Academy of Sciences, Institute of Virology
Dubravska cesta 9, 842 45 Bratislava, Slovak Republic
Vladimir Zelnik, PhD
+421 2 59302 439

Research subject for a potential FP6 project

Highly-virulent and newly-emerged Marek\'s disease viruses (MDV) threaten the European poultry industry. Reasons for increased virulence of recently isolated MDV strains are unclear, but the process appears to be driven by the widespread use of increasingly-aggressive vaccine regimes. This proposal focusses on the molecular mechanisms underlying the evolution of pathogens to increasing viru- lence. Routes of entry, cellular tropism and distribution of MDV within its host will be determined by quantitative PCR, DNA microarray analysis, proteomics and use of \'labelled\' viruses. The project also aims at the development of fast and reliable diagnostic tools for detecting MDV pathotypes. The principles of patho- genesis of highly-virulent MDV will be compared with those of moderately or aviru- lent viruses. The role(s) of initial target organs, the respiratory tract and the bronchiolar-associated lymphoid tissue in MDV pathogenesis also will be determined. The interaction of MDV with other immunosuppressive agents such as chicken infectious anaemia virus, in the induction of early mortality syndromes, vaccine failures and enhanced tumourigenesis will be assessed.

Recent international cooperation of the research team

Federal Research Centre for Virus Diseases of Animals, Insel Riems, Germany; Institute for Animal Health BBSRC, Compton, UK; Kimron Veterinary Institute, Bet Dagan, Israel; L.V.M., INRA, Nouzilly, France; Biological Research Centre, Hungarian Acdemy of Sciences, Szeged Hungary; Institute for Animal Physiology, Ludwig- Maximilians-University, Muenchen, Germany; Lohmann Animal Health, Cuxhaven, Germany; Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, Freiburg, Germany.

Proposer´s relevant publications related to the research subject

Majerciak,V., Valkova, A., Szabova, D., Geerligs, H., and Zelnik, V. (2001) Increased virulence of Marek’s disease virus type 1 vaccine strain CVI988 after adaptation to QT35 cells. Acta Virologica 45, 101-108.
Kingham, B.F., Zelnik, V., Kopacek, J., Majerciak, V., Ney, E., and Schmidt, C.J. 2001. The genome of herpesvirus of turkeys: comparative analysis with Marek\'s disease viruses. J Gen Virol. 82:1123-1135.
Kopacek, J., Klucar, L., Koptidesova, D., Turna, J., Pastorek, J. and Zelnik, V. (2000) Nucleotide sequence of the gene encoding the major capsid protein of herpesvirus of turkey. Virus Genes 20, 107-115.
Zelnik, V., Majerciak, V., Szabova, D., Geerligs, H., Kopacek, J., Ross, L.J.N., and Pastorek, J. (1999) Glycoprotein gD of MDV lacks functions typical for a-herpesvirus gD homologues. Acta Virologica 43, 164-168.