Proteolytic enzymes in embryonated chicken eggs sustain the replication of egg-grown low-pathogenicity avian influenza viruses in cells in the absence of exogenous proteases

Journal of Virological Methods
Ahmed KandeilGhazi Kayali

Abstract

Low pathogenic influenza viruses grow readily in embryonated chicken eggs but require the addition of exogenous proteases to grow in MDCK cell culture. In this study, we found that the influenza viruses propagated previously in eggs, can grow for up to two passages in cell culture without the addition of exogenous proteolytic enzymes. These results indicate that the reason for virus propagation in cells during the first two passages may be due to proteases from egg allantoic fluid carried over from egg culture. The ability of influenza viruses to grow in cells in the absence of trypsin is currently considered as a hallmark of highly pathogenic influenza viruses. Our data indicate that differentiating between high and low pathogenicity using cell culture only is not appropriate and other indicators such as sequence analysis and in vitro pathogenicity index should be performed.

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