Influence of the Viral Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) Homologue on Lumpy Skin Disease Virus (LSDV) Growth, Histopathology and Pathogenicity

Lumpy skin disease is an important economic disease of cattle that is controlled by vaccination. This paper presents an investigation into the role of the lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV) superoxide dismutase (SOD) homologue on growth and histopathology of the virus both in vitro and in vivo. SOD homologue knock-out and knock-in recombinants (nLSDV∆SOD-UCT and nLSDVSODis-UCT, respectively) were constructed and compared to the Neethling vaccine (nLSDV) for growth in a permissive bovine cell line as well as on fertilized chick chorioallantoic membranes (CAMs). The infected CAMs were scored for histological changes. Deletion of the SOD homologue from LSDV reduced virus growth both in Madin-Darby bovine kidney (MDBK) cells as well as on CAMs. Furthermore, the knockout virus showed reduced inflammation in CAMs and more ballooning degeneration. A pilot experiment was performed in cattle to compare the lesions produced by the different LSDV constructs in the same animal. One animal developed a larger lesion to nLSDV∆SOD-UCT compared to both nLSDVSODis-UCT and nLSDV. Histological analysis of biopsies of these lesions shows less inflammation and necrosis associated with nLSDVSODis-UCT compared to nLSDV and nLSDV∆SOD-UCT. None of the vaccinated animals showed disseminated LSDV disease, indicating that the candidate vaccines are safe for further testing. Our results suggest that the SOD homologue may improve immunogenicity and reduce virulence.