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1. (WO2017040672) PESTIVIRUS VACCINES FOR CONGENITAL TREMORS
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PESTIVIRUS VACCINES FOR CONGENITAL TREMORS

RELATED APPLICATION

The present application claims the benefit of U.S. Application No. 62/212,124, filed on August 31, 2015, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

A. Technical Field

The present invention relates to a pestivirus vaccine, which is capable of reducing clinical signs of congenital tremor (CT) or myoclonia congenita. The condition is informally known as shaking piglets, shaker piglets, or trembling piglets.

Pestivirus is a genus of viruses, in the family Flaviviridae. Viruses in the genus Pestivirus infect mammals, including members of the family Suidae (which includes various species of swine).

CT is a sporadic disease seen in newborn pigs. Usually more than one pig is affected in a litter. If the tremors are too great for the piglets to find a teat and suckle then mortality may be high. Mortality in an affected litter or in a herd outbreak could increase above the norm by 3-10%. The condition decreases as the affected piglets grow.

CT is classified into five types. Types AI, AIII, AIV and AV are related to exposure to classical swine fever virus, genetic traits, or exposure to trichlorfon. As these causes are known and therefore avoided, type All, is hypothesized to be the most common cause. Type All is thought to be associated with a viral infection. The causal virus in group 2, is widespread among most if not all pig populations, yet little disease is seen in most herds, presumably because an immunity is established in the sow herd. In new gilt herds however, there can be major outbreaks involving up to 80% of all litters during the first parity. This is an unquantifiable risk in any new gilt herd.

The reason that pigs are bom trembling is secondary to the primary lesion of hypomyelination or demyelination of the brain and spinal cord. There is no specific treatment for this condition. However, assisted suckling and provision of an environment where chilling and overlaying can be avoided will allow more pigs to recover with time, although weaning weights may be depressed by 1 kg or more.

B. Description of the Related Art

While there were early reports that porcine circovirus type 1 and type 2 infections (See, Burnborg et al, "Association of myocarditis with high viral load of porcine circovirus type 2 in several tissues in cases of fetal death and high mortality in piglets. A case study." J Vet Diagn Invest. 19(4):368-375, 2007), or astrovirus (See Blomstrom et al, "Astrovirus as a possible cause of congenital tremor type All in piglets?"Acta Vet Scand. 56(1):82, 2014) were the cause of CT, this has since been disproved (See Ha et al, "Lack of evidence of porcine circovirus type 1 and type 2 infection in piglets with congenital tremors in Korea", Vet Rec. (2005) 156:383-384; Kennedy et al, "Absence of evidence of porcine circovirus infection in piglets with congenital tremors" J ' Vet Diagn Invest. 2003 Mar; 15(2): 151-156). Thus, there is no clear pathogenic source of type All CT in piglets and therefore, no effective treatment of this condition.

SUMMARY

The solution to the above technical problem is achieved by the description and the embodiments characterized in the claims. Thus, the invention in its different aspects is implemented according to the claims.

The present invention provides immunogenic compositions, vaccines, and related methods that overcome deficiencies in the art. The compositions and methods provide treatment for congenital tremors in piglets.

In one aspect, the present compositions can include an inactivated pestivirus comprising a nucleic acid sequence that has at least about 95% identity to SEQ ID NO: 1, e.g., at least about 96%, 97%, 98%, or at least about 99%, e.g., 100% identity. In another aspect, the present disclosure provides compositions that include an inactivated pestivirus comprising an amino acid sequence that has at least about 95% identity to SEQ ID NO:2, e.g., at least about 96%, 97%, 98%, or at least about 99%, e.g., 100% identity.

In some embodiments of the present compositions, the pestivirus is a chemically inactivated pestivirus, e.g., a pestivirus inactivated by treatment with an inactivating agent such as binary ethyleneimine, ethyleneimine, acetylethyleneimine, beta-ethyleneimine, beta-propiolactone, glutaraldehyde, ozone, and/or formaldehyde.

In some embodiments, the pestivirus is a physically inactivated pestivirus, e.g., a pestivirus inactivated by treatment with UV radiation, X-ray radiation, gamma-radiation, freeze-thawing, and/or heating.

In another aspect, the compositions provided herein can include an attenuated pestivirus comprising a nucleic acid sequence that has at least about 95% identity to SEQ ID NO: 1 , e.g., at least about 96%, 97%, 98%, or at least about 99%, e.g., 100% identity. In another aspect, the compositions can include compositions that include an attenuated pestivirus comprising an amino acid sequence that has at least about 95% identity to SEQ ID NO:2, e.g., at least about 96%, 97%, 98%, or at least about 99%, e.g., 100% identity.

In some embodiments, a pestivirus described herein can be in freeze-dried form. In one embodiment, a composition has at least about 104 virus particles, e.g., at least about 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, or at least about 1010 virus particles.

In some embodiments, compositions disclosed herein can include a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier and/or excipient, e.g., an adjuvant, e.g., an oil-in- water emulsion-based adjuvant.

In some embodiments, a composition can include a mixture of inactivated and attenuated pestiviruses described herein. The present disclosure also features compositions that include a mixture of inactivated pestiviruses, attenuated pestiviruses, and vectors described herein.

In yet another aspect, the present disclosure provides compositions that include a vector, e.g., a baculovirus expression vector or a canine adenovirus vector, that comprises at least one nucleic acid sequence that has at least about 95% (e.g., at least about 96%, 97%, 98%, or 99%) identity to SEQ ID NO:3, 5, 7, 9, 11 , 13, 15, 17, 19, or 21, e.g., at least one nucleic acid sequence that has 100% identity to SEQ ID NO:3, 5, 7, 9, 11 , 13, 15, 17, 19, or 21. In another aspect, the present disclosure features compositions that include a vector comprising at least one sequence encoding an amino acid sequence that has at least about 95% (e.g., at least about 96%, 97%, 98%, or 99%) identity to SEQ ID NO:4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, or 22, e.g., at least one sequence encoding an amino acid sequence that has 100% identity to SEQ ID NO:4,

6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, or 22. In some embodiments, the compositions may include a mixture of vectors described above.

Methods for protecting a piglet against a disease associated with pestivirus, e.g., congenital tremors, are also provided. The methods can include administering to a pregnant sow or gilt, or to a sow or gilt prior to breeding, or to a newborn piglet, any of the compositions described herein in an amount sufficient to protect the piglet.

In some embodiments, the methods include administering the composition to the sow or gilt intramuscularly, subcutaneously, intravenously, orally, intraarterially, intranasally (e.g., with or without inhalation), intracardially, intraspinally, intrathoracically, intraperitoneally, intraventricularly, sublingually, trans dermally, and/or via inhalation. In one embodiment, the administering is a first administration, and the methods include a second administration one to three weeks after the first administration.

In some aspects, the present disclosure provides any of the compositions described herein, e.g., compositions that include inactivated pestivirus, attenuated pestivirus, and/or vectors, for use as a medicament or for use in manufacturing a medicament. In some embodiments, the compositions described herein are for protecting a piglet against a disease associated with pestivirus, e.g., congenital tremors.

The present invention is related to inactivated or modified live pestivirus vaccines of the present invention are phylogenetically closest to the Chinese bat pestivirus. FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 identify the phylogenetic tree of the pestivirus of the present invention. The amino acid neighbor-joining tree is based on the 212 amino acids of NS3 which were overlapping between the partial and complete genome sequences among the pestiviruses. The level of diversity is consistent with a novel species of pestivirus. The pestiviruses at nucleotide level are between 83-98 percent conserved among the isolates identified, as shown in FIG. 3.

The pestiviruses of the present invention can be used for the manufacture of such vaccines. In particular, the invention provides improved pestivirus isolates that have been identified below, or any descendant or progeny of one of the aforementioned isolates.

The pestiviruses of the present invention can be characterized in that the virus can be attenuated by passaging at least four times in cell culture such that when the modified virus is administered to a swine or other mammal prone to CT it fails to cause clinical signs of CT disease but is capable of inducing an immune response that immunizes the mammal against pathogenic forms of the pestivirus.

Pestivirus isolates of the present invention can be passaged more than 10, preferably at least 20, still more preferably at least 30, even more preferably at least 40, still more preferably, at least 50, even more preferably at least 55, still more preferably at least 60, even more preferably at least 70, still more preferably, at least 80, even more preferably at least 90, still more preferably at least 95, and most preferably at least 100 times in vitro in cell culture.

It is contemplated that the vaccine may comprise a carrier that is suitable for intradermal or intramuscular application. In some embodiments, the vaccine is in freeze-dried form. In specific embodiments, the vaccine comprises at least about 104 virus particles. The present invention provides immunogenic compositions, vaccines, and related methods that overcome deficiencies in the art. The present invention relates to immunogenic compositions which include an inactivated or modified live, attenuated pestivirus. Additional immunogenic compositions include a vaccine comprised of subgenomic antigen either recombinantly expressed or delivered as part of a vector platform. In particular, the application provides a vaccine for protecting swine and especially piglets against diseases associated with isolates of the pestivirus of the present invention.

Another aspect of the invention relates to a pestivirus comprising a nucleotide sequence that has at least about 95% identity, e.g., at least 96%, 97%, 98%, 99%, or 100% identity with a sequence set forth in SEQ ID NO: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 , 13, 15, 17, 19, or 21.

Another aspect of the invention relates to a pestivirus comprising an amino acid sequence that has at least about 95% identity, e.g., at least 96%, 97%, 98%, 99%, or 100% identity with a sequence set forth in SEQ ID NO: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, or 22.

Another aspect of the invention relates to a method for the preparation of an inactivated or live attenuated vaccine for combating congenital tremors, comprising admixing an inactivated or live attenuated pestivirus described herein with a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier.

Immunogenic compositions and vaccines of the invention comprise inactivated or modified live pestiviruses and may also include an adjuvant. The vaccine may also include other components, such as preservative(s), stabilizer(s) and antigens against other swine pathogens.

Those of skill in the art will understand that the compositions used herein may incorporate known injectable, physiologically acceptable sterile solutions. For preparing a ready-to-use solution for parenteral injection or infusion, aqueous isotonic solutions, e.g., saline or plasma protein solutions, are readily available. In addition, the immunogenic and vaccine compositions of the present invention can include pharmaceutical- or veterinary-acceptable carriers, diluents, isotonic agents, stabilizers, or adjuvants.

Methods of the invention may also comprise admixing a composition of the invention with a veterinarily acceptable carrier, adjuvant, or combination thereof. Those of skill in the art will recognize that the choice of carrier, adjuvant, or combination will be determined by the delivery route, personal preference, and animal species among others.

Another aspect of the invention contemplates a vaccine for the protection of swine against pestivirus infection, comprising an inactivated or live attenuated pestivirus of the present invention and a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier.

Such a vaccine may advantageously further comprise one or more non-pestivirus or pestiviruses that differ from the pestivirus of the present invention, attenuated or inactivated pathogens or antigenic material thereof. For example, the non-pestivirus pathogens may be selected from Pseudorabies virus, Porcine influenza virus, Porcine parvovirus, Transmissible gastroenteritis virus, Escherichia coli, Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae, Bordetella bronchiseptica, Salmonella choleraesuis , Haemophilus parasuis, Pasteurella multocida, Streptococcus suis, Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae Porcine Circovirus, including but not limited to Porcine Circovirus Type 2 (PCV2), Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), and Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae.

Methods for the treatment or prophylaxis of infections caused by a pestivirus are also disclosed. The method comprises administering an effective amount of the immunogenic composition of the present invention to an animal, specifically a pregnant sow or gilt, wherein said treatment or prophylaxis is thereby provided to the piglets. The treatment or prophylaxis is selected from the group consisting of reducing signs of CT infection, reducing the severity of or incidence of clinical signs of CT infection, reducing the mortality of animals from CT infection, and combinations thereof.

Herein, suitable subjects and subjects in need to which compositions of the invention may be administered include animals in need of either prophylactic or treatment for a viral, microbial, parasitic, protozoan, bacterial, or fungal associated infection, disease, or condition. Animals in which the immune response is stimulated by use of compositions or methods of the invention include livestock, such as swine, bovines, goats, and sheep. Preferred animals include porcines, murids, equids, lagomorphs, and bovids. Most preferably, an immune response is stimulated in swine and especially sows, gilts, and piglets.

The invention provides a method of reducing the incidence of or severity of one or more clinical signs associated with or caused by a pestivirus infection, comprising the step of administering an immunogenic composition of the invention as provided herein, such that the incidence of or the severity of a clinical sign of the pestivirus infection is reduced by at least 10%, preferably at least 20%, even more preferred at least 30%, even more preferred at least 50%, even more preferred at least 70%, most preferred at least 100% relative to a subject that has not received the immunogenic composition as provided herewith. Such clinical signs include whole body trembling and shaking to a variable extent. Piglets are usually bom shaking, trembling and nodding, and active stimulation will often exaggerate the shaking. The shaking tends to stop when the piglets fall asleep. In addition, there may be muscle tremors when piglets are walking around, nervous symptoms, lack of coordination, "dog sitting" and increased mortality. In some cases, the trembling may not become apparent until 24-48 hours of age. The effect on the piglet includes affecting suckling, where in severe cases, physical holding of the piglet onto the teat is required. Depending upon the severity of the outbreak, mortality levels can be 15-20% and up to 30-40% in more severe outbreaks. Other measures of clinical severity include reduction in average daily weight gain and neurological damage.

Preferred routes of administration include intranasal, oral, intradermal, and intramuscular. Administration intramuscularly or intravaginally, most preferably in a single dose, is preferred. Skilled practitioners will recognize that compositions of the invention may also be administered in multiple (e.g., two or more) doses, as well as by other or multiple routes of administration. For example, such other routes include subcutaneously, intracutaneously, intravenously, intravascularly, intraarterially, intraperitnoeally, intrathecally, intratracheally, intracutaneously, intracardially, intralobally, intramedullarly, or intrapulmonarily. Depending on the desired duration and effectiveness of the treatment, the compositions according to the invention may be administered once or several times, also intermittently, for instance on a daily basis for several days, weeks or months and in different dosages.

Also contemplated is a method for the preparation of the live attenuated pestiviruses to non-mammalian cells.

The new vaccines of this invention are not restricted to any particular type or method of preparation. These vaccines are prepared by standard methods known in the art. The most preferred delivery of the pestivirus vaccine is to inoculate gilts or pregnant sows against the virulent pestivirus, with maternal immunity transferring to the piglets.

Other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description. It should be understood, however, that the detailed description and the specific examples, while indicating preferred embodiments of the invention, are given by way of illustration only, since various changes and modifications within the spirit and scope of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from this detailed description.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The following drawings form part of the present specification and are included to further demonstrate certain aspects of the present invention. The invention may be better understood by reference to one or more of these drawings in combination with the detailed description of specific embodiments presented herein.

FIGs. 1 and 2 illustrate the phylogenetic trees identifying the novel pestiviruses of the invention.

FIG. 3 is a comparison of the amino acid identity (percent identity) of the pestivirus sequences of the invention.

FIG. 4 shows the cycle of viremia in the piglets tested in Example 1.

FIGs. 5A and 5B show the phylogenetic association of pestiviruses. Neighbor-joining phylogenetic trees generated with 1,000 bootstrap samplings (MEGA 6.0) for pestivirus NS3 (5 A) and Npro (5B) amino acids aligned by ClustalW multiple alignment. GenBank accession numbers for each sample indicated in name. Circles indicate sequences described from this study and triangle indicates the sequence from the virus described in this study used for inoculation.

FIG. 6 is a bar graph showing percent positive and average RT-qPCR Cq by sample type. Pestivirus RNA detected by RT-qPCR targeting the NS3 gene. Viral RNA was not detected in PBS-inoculated piglets.

FIG. 7 is a graph that shows inactivated pestivirus induced a pestivirus specific serological response in vaccinated piglets.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The invention provides an inactivated pestivirus, attenuated pestivirus, and subunit vaccines or immunogenic compositions that can be administered to sows or gilts to reduce the clinical effects of congenital tremors in their piglets. In addition, there are methods of administration, methods of making the vaccine, assays, and other aspects of this invention described.

Preferably, the pestivirus according to the invention is an inactivated pestivirus and/or a modified-live pestivirus and/or an attenuated pestivirus having a nucleic acid sequence that has at least about 95% identity to SEQ ID NO: l , e.g., at least about 96%, 97%, 98%, 99%, or 100% identity to SEQ ID NO: l, or having an amino acid sequence that has at least 95% identity to SEQ ID NO:2, e.g., at least about 96%, 97%, 98%, 99%, or 100% identity to SEQ ID NO:2.

CATAATGCTTTAATTGGCCGCATTATGT GTGGGACATCCTAAATATTTATGAGCCCTGCGGTGAGTGGGGGAAAG AGGTTAACCAGGCCTCTAGTACCACAGGCACCAATGGACAGGGCAACTCAAACCTGAGAGAGAGGTACCGAACTC TTAAGCCCCGAGTACGGGGCAGACGTCACCGAGTAGTACACCCAAAGACCACCACTTCTAGGT GTAGGGTCTACT GAGGCTCGGGTGGACGTGGGCGCGCCCAAAGAGAAATCGGTGGTGGACCTGGGGGTCGGGGCCACCATGCCCCTT TACGGGGTAGACCTTACTGCTTGATAGAGTGCCGGCGGATGCCTCAGGTAAGAGTATAAAATCCGTTGTTCATTA ACATGGAAAAACAGATTGCATATTACTTAAAAAAAGAAAAACAAAGAAATGGGTGGACGGAACTGGTGGTAGGAG AAAGTCATACAAAAATAACCACGCTTTCTGGAAAGACCTATCGAGGCACCTGGGAAATGGAGAAACGGCCAAATC CTTATGGAACCTATCTCCCCAGACCTAGTCCCCAACAGCTTACAGCCCTACACCCCCACCCAGTGGTGAATTGTA AGGTGGTTGAGTACAAGGAGATGGACCCTAATTATGGTGATTGCCCAAATACGAACGGGGTGTTTGTTGACGAAA AGGGTAGAAGGCTGAGCAGCCCTCCATTAGGCATTTGGAAGATAAGATTGGACTATAGTGACTTGGTAAACATAA GCAGACCAACCCCCGCTAGTGGGAAAAACTCTTACCAAGTTGAGACCTGCAGTGGGGAGCTGGCTACAGTGACAC TGGTACACAATAGGGTGCTCGTGGAAGATTGCAGGGGGCTATACCAATGGAAACCCAACTGTGAAGGAATTGTGC TCTATGTGAAAACTTGTTCTGACTGGGCAGATCAGGTAGAAAAACAGGAGAAAGAAAGCCCCCCAAAACCACAGC GGCCACCAAGGCGAGACCCACGAAAAGGGTTACAACCACAAGTCCCCAAAGAGACTGAGGTCACAGAAAAGAAGA GACAACCTAGTGTCACCTTAGTATCGGGGGGGCAGAAGGCCCAAGTCATCTACAAAGGCAGGACCAAAAACAAAA AGACCCCGGATGGAGTCTATAGATACCCAGGAGCTAAAGAAGGGGACGTAGTAAAGGTCAGGAAGATGCTGAAGA ATTGGCATATAGCCTTAGTGATGTACCTGATACATATCATAACTCCAGGCCTTGCCAAGGTCCAGTGGTTCTTAA AAGATGAAAACTCGACGGGGATCAACCAGATACTGTGGCAAAGACAGATCAACAGATCCTTACATGGAGAATGGC CTAACCAGATCTGCCACGGTATGCCCAATGAAACTATCACGGATGAGGAATTACGCAGTCTGGGAATGGTAGATA

CAAGCCCTAGAACAAACTACACCTGTTGCCAGTTGCAATATCATGAGTGGAAGAAACATGGTTGGTGCAACTATC CACAAAAACAGGCGTGGATCACGAGGATAACGGCCCTACAAGCTAACCTTACCGGGCCTTATGAGGGACCTGAGT GCGCCGTCATCTGCCGATTTAACGGCAGCTACAACATCGTAAAACAGGCCAGAGATGAGGTGAGTCCACTGACAG GGTGCAAGGAAGGGCATCCTTTTCTATTCTCTGGTGAAAGATCCGACACCTCATGCCTAAGGCCCCCTTCCACTA GTTGGGTAAGACCAGTGAAAATGGACGAGGCATCAATGGCCGATGGCTTTGCCCATGGGGTTGATAAGGCGATAA TACTAATCAGGAAGGGGGCATCAGGAATAATCAATTTCCTAGACACTATTGGGAGGTGGCTACCGGTAGCTGAAG CAACTATAGTACCATATTGTGATACTTACACTGTGACAGGGATGTATGTCCATGTAAAGAATTGCCTCCCTAGAG GGTTACCTAAGCATTCAAAAATAATCTCCCCGACAATGATATATCTGGGAGAAGGAGACCCGGCCCATAATATCC AGCACTTATTTGGCTCAGGTATAGCAAAGTGGGTCCTAGTTCTACTCGGGATTCTGGGTGAGTGGTATGGAGAAT TGGCTTCCACAATATACTTACTACTAGAATACGGGTCTGAGTGGTTGGAACATGAAAGCCTGGTCACGGAAGGGT TGATTCCTGGCATTAATATTACAATAGAACTCCCAGCTAGTCATACAGTGCCTGGTTGGGTGTGGGTCGCAGGCC AGTGGGTATGCGTGAAGCCAGACTGGTGGCCTACACAGATTTGGATTGAAACCGTGGTGGCAGAGACCTGGCATA TACTAAAAATATTGGCGTCAGCCCTGGTGAACATAGTTGCAGCGTTCGTAAACCTGGAATTGGTTTATCTGGTCA TAATACTAGTCAAAATATCAAAAGGGAACCTGATAGGTGCCATATTATGGTGCTTGTTACTGTCAGGCGCTGAAG GCTCGTGCTACAAAAGACAAGACTATTACAACACCCAACTAGTCGTCGAAGAAAAAACAGGCGTAGAAAAACGAT CTATAATGGGCAAGTGGACCGTGATAACCAGGGAAGGTCGGGAGCCAAGATTAATGGAGCAAATAAATATGGTAT TGAATGATAGCCTGTCAGAAACCTACTGCTATAATAGGCTAAACACCAGCACTTGGGGGCGGCAACCGGCAAGAC AAAGAGGGTGTGGTCAAACCGTGCCCTATTGGCCTGGTGACAATGTTCTAGAAGAACAATACTACAGCACAGGTT ACTGGGTGAATGTAACAGGCGGTTGCCAGCTGAGAGAAGGCGTATGGCTATCAAGAAAGGGTAACGTACAGT GTC AGCGTAACGGCTCATCCTTGATGCTGCAATTGGCGATAAAAGAAGAGAATGACACTATGGAAATACCATGTGACC CAGTGGAAACTGAAAGTATGGGTCCAGTTGCACAGGGCACTTGTGTGTACAGCTGGGCATTCGCCCCAAGAGGGT GGTACTATAACAGGAAGGATGGTTATTGGCTCCAGTACATAAAGAAAAACGACTACCAGTATTGGACAAAAATGC CTACTGCCTCGTCCGCCGCAACCATGTACCGCCACTTGCTCCCCTTACTGGTGGCCTGCCTCATGGGCGGTAGGA TATCGGTGTGGTTTGTGGCAATGCTCCTGTCTCTACAGGTGGAAGCTAGTGAAGTAGGCACTAAACAACTGGCTG TCACGCTAACCCTGTGGAAAATGGACTGGACAGAACTACTTTTCTATATTGTCTTGATGCTAGCCGTTAAGGAAG AACTTATAAAAAAAATTGTGACCGCTAGCCTTGTGGCCTTAAAAAATAGTCCAGTAGCCTTGAGTTTTCTTATTG TACTCAGACTTGTGGGGGGCAGTGAAGCACTCCCAGTAGGTTTATTATTAGAAAAAATGTGCATAGACCAACCGG AGTTTGGAACTCCTTTCCTGATCTACCTATGGGACAACTGGAAGTGGACTGTGTTAGTCAGCTTCTCCGCACTGA ACCATGAAAAAACTATAAAACTGGCAAGAAAACTGTTGTTGGCAACACATATAACAGCGCTCACATTGACTGGCT TGAGTGATTCAATCTTCTATATGATGCTTATAACAACAAATTTGTTAATAAAGACATTCATATACTTGCTGGGGG CTAGTATGAATT GGGT CGAGAGAGAAAAAAAGAAATT GCTAGT GAAGAGGAGACTAATATACAAGAAAGCCGTTA CTTGCAGTCAGGATGAGAATGTATTGGAGAATAAATTCAACAAGATAACTGTAAACGCGGATTTCACCCCATGCA AGCTTGAACTTCTACAATTACTTAGGGCTTTTTTAGTCTCTTTGT GTTTTTCCTACTACAAACCTCTCCTGTATG CAGAGACTACCTTAACTGTAATAGTAATTGGCGTACAAGAGTACAACGTAGCCATGGCCCGCGGGCGAAGTGTGG TCCACAGGCTACTAGCCATGGCCTATTACATATACGGCCGCATACAGGGTGACATGTTCCAGCTCGCCACTATCC AGTGCCTGCTGTCGAGTCCGAGGAAAATTATGAAACACATGGTAGAGAATCCAACTCTCAAGAAGCTCTGGCAAG GCGAAACAGAACTCTTCAACCAGGGT GTTAGTCAATCCAAGATAGTGAATCCAAAGAAAATTGGGCTGGAAGAAT TACACAAGGGCATGTGTGGCCTCCCAACAGTAGTGCAAAATTTGGTCATATATGCAAAGAAGAATGACTCTCTTA TTTTAGGAGAGCTGGGTTACCCCCCTGGGGATCTCACCAGTGATGGGTGGGAAATTTTAGGTCCTGGCAGAATCC CAAAGATCACTAACGTCGAGTCTGCTAAGATGGACTTACTCTCCAAACTTATGACCTTTCTGGGGATTGAAAGCT CGAGGGTCCCCAGGACCCCAGTCCACTCAACAAGGAAATTATTGAAGATAGTAAGGGGCTTGGAAACAGGATGGG GGTACACTCACGCAGGGGGGATAAGTAGCGCAAAACACGTTACAGGTGAAAAGAACTTAATGACCCACATGGAGG GTAGGAAGGGAAAATATATCCTACAATCTCAAGAACATGGTGCTGACGAGGTAGAGTACGGAGTAAAAACTGATC AAAAAGCTCCCGACAATGCCTTATGCTACTGTTTTAACCCTGAAGCTACAAACATAAAAGGAGAGACGGGAGCCA TGGTGTTCATGAAGAAGATAGGAAAAAAGTGGACTCTCGTAACATCAGACGGCAATAAAGCCTATTATAATGTAA ACAATTTGAAAGGGTGGTCTGGACTACCAATAATGCTGCACTCCACCGGGGCCATAGTGGGGAGGATTAAATCAG CGTATTCAGATGAAAACGACCTGGTGGAGGAACTTATTGACTCTAGAACTATTAGTAAGAGCAATGAGACAAACC TGGACCACCTTATCAAGGAATTGGCAGACATGCGGAGGGGGGAGTTCCGCTCAATTACCCTTGGAACGGGAGCCG GGAAAACCACAGAACTGCCTAGGCAATACCTCACAACAGTAGGTGCCCATAAATCCGTGCTGGTCTTAGTCCCCT TAAAAGCACCTGCTGAAAGT GTTTGCCGCTTTATGAGGTCTAAATACCCTACCATCAACTTTTCCTTAAGAGTGG GGGAACGGAAAGAGGGAGATGTGAGCAGCGGCATCACCTACGCTACTTACGGATTTTGCTGCCAGCTAAACCTAG TCCAACTTAAAGAATGGATATCCAGGTACTCAATGGTTTTTTTTGATGAATATCACACAGCAACTCCAGAACAAA TAGCCATAATAAGCAAGATTCATGCACTGAAAGTTAAGACCAGGATAGTGGCTATGTCAGCAACCCCCCCGGGTA CCGTGACGACTGAAGGCAGGAAGTTTGACATTGAAGAGGTAGGGGTTGCTACCATAGAGAAAGGAGAGGAACCAA AAAGGGGGCGCATAGCGGTCGCTGGTATGCAGGTCCCATTAGAAGACTTAACAGGAAAGAACTGCCTGGT GTTCG TGGCAACCAAAGAAGCCGCGGAGACGGAGGCTAAAGAACTGCGCACCAGAGGAATTAACGCCACCTACTACTATT CAGGTATAGACCCTAAGACTCTGGAACATGGGATGACCAATCAGCCATACTGTATTGTAGCTACCAATGCCATTG AATCAGGTATAACCTGTCCTGACTTGGATGTGGTCATAGACACCATGCAGAAGTACGAAAAAGTAGTGAATTTCT CGGCAAAGATGCCCTTGATTGTCACTTCATTAGTAAAGAAAAAAATCACCAGGGAAGAACAGGGCCAGAGGAAAG GTCGAGTGGGCAGGCAAAAGAAAGGAAAATACTACTACCCCTCGGGGGTGGTACCGAATGGGTCAAAAGACCTAA GCTATTTAATCCTACAGGCCCAAGAATATGGTGTCTTGGAACAAGTCAATATAACAGAGTACTTCATCATAATGA ATGAGGACTGGGGTCTCTATGACGTAGATGAAGTAGAAGTGAGAATACTTGAGAGAATGAACAAGGAAATCTTGC TACCACTAGGTATTGTGGAGAAGCAAATCTTGGAAAGAAGTACTCACCCGGAAAAAGTGGCACTGTTGTATAACA AATTAGTGCAGAAAAATCCTATAGTATACCCTAGAGTACAGGAAGGTGAGGTCAGCAAGGAATACAATACCTATA ATCTGGCCGTATATGACAAGCTAAAAGATGTCAACCCACAAGCCATTTATGTTCTAGCAGAAGAGGAGAGAGCCA CAGAAATGATGGGTCTCGAGTTTGAACAAGACCCATCTGACTTACAGGATTCGGTAGTTCAGCTTTGTGAAGATA TCAAGAGGTATACAAAACTCTCTGGGATCACTGAGAAACTGCTAGTAGGTACGATGGTGGGGTATATTGGATACA AAGCCTTAACCAGAAACCACGTGCCCTGGGTCAGCAAAGAGTATTGTTATGAGCTGACCGATTCACCGGATACTT ACGAAAACTCATTCGCACCTTTGGACGTCGACGTCCAAAACTCCGGTGAAGGAAAACACCCAGAGCAACTGGCAG ACCATCAATTGAGGCAACTACTGGAGACTGGGAGAGACAAGGCAATTGATTTCCTAAAAGGAATCCGCGAGTTCA CTAGTGGGGCCATAAACAGTCCAAAGGCACTAAGTATATGGGAGAAAATATATCAGTATTTGAAGAAGCATCAGG GCGAGATCATCTCATCAGCAGCGTGGGGCAGTGCGACGGCCCTTCACGACAGTATTAAATCTAGACTAGGAGATG AGGTCGCTACTGCAGTAATAATCCTCAAGTATTTAGCATTTGGTGAAAGAGAACTGTCTGGGCTAACTAGGCAAG TTCTAATTGACATCATAGTATATTATATAGTTAACAAGCCCCGGTTCGAAGGAGACGACTACGCAAAGAGAAAAG GAAGAAGGCTAGTCATCGAAGTCCTGATGGGGGCACTGGCGACTTATGCGGTGTCCAATTTTTGGGGT GT GTCCA TTAATAAGATACTGCAACCAATTTCTGATTATCTACCCTATGCCACCGCCACTTTGGCTTTTCTTCGCCCAACCT TCATGGAATCAGCAGTGGTGGTCGCTTCCTCTATCTATAGAGCTTTTCTCTCCATTAAGCATGCGGAAAACAGGA GTCTTGTCACGCAGGTCGCTTCTGCCGCCCTCGAAGTCATGGGCCTGACCCCAGTATCGGCTGGCCTAGGCGTCT TGCTGGGGCTTGGGTTGT GT GTGCTCCATATGAACATTGACAAGAATGAGGAGAAAAGGACACTTATACTGAAAA TGTTTGTCAAAAACTTTATAGACCAGGCGGCACTAGACGAGTTGGATAAACTGGAGCCAGAAAAAATAATCCTCT CATTGTTGGAGGGTATCCAAACCTGCACAAACCCGATTAGAGCAATCATGATTTTGTACAGGGTGTACTACAAGG GAGAAACTTTCACAGAAGCTTTGTCTAAGATGGCCGGCAAGTCTCTCATTGTGATGGTCATAGTCGAGTTCCTGG AATTGACAGGCCAAACCCAAGGAGGGTATATAGATCTTAGTGCTAATTTGCTGACCTTTCTCCTCGAGAAACTAA AAAAAATGACTAACCTCGCCATCGGGGAAGCTAGAAAGGTCTTGCTCCCCATCCCATACTTGTACTGTGAAACCT GGCAGTCTGACGCCAGAATCAAGGCCCCTGAATCCTACGACCAAGTGGTAGTGGAATGCAAATGTGGCGCTTCAG CGAGGTATTCCTTCCGCGATGGAGTTCATGAGATATTGGAAGAAAAAAGGACTAATTGGTGCAAGAACTTCTTCT TAT GG G GAC C CAAC T T C C ACAAT C C G GAT C CAAAAAG GAT GAC AT T C TAT GAAT AC GG C CAAG CAAAAAAGT GT C CTGTTATCATAATTGGTGAAGACATAACCTTCGGCAAATATGGCATATATATCAAATTTGGCCATAGGCCTGATG GAGGGAGGTTAATAAGGGGTACCACCCACGCTACTATCAGTAGGGAGGAATTGCTGGAAATCCTAACAGCCCCAA GCCAAGTGGCCATAGGCAAGGTCAAGCTAACCGATTACTGTAATCAAAAAGGAATAATAGACAGGAAATTGGCCG TACTTGAAGGTGACAAAATACATTTTTGGAAAGCACACCGTGGATCCAAAATCACAGACCAACTCACTATTGAGA ATCTGACAGATGATTTGGGGTCAGAAATCAGGGACATCACATGGGAGCTGTACACAGGTGGAACGTGCACCGTAA AAGGGGTGTCCCTTAGATCATGCGCACCAGGTCATAGAACTAAGGCTATGGTCTTGTGTGATTGCACTGATGTGC TTAGCCCCTGTTACCTAATAAACGGCAGGA GAC CATCCCCATTTGACGTCGCGGAAGGTTAT GAAT GTCACCACC GGAAGCCCCGAGCGACGTATGAAGACCTAGAAATGGAGGAAATACTAAAGAGACGAGTCCCTGTCTACGATCCTC TGT GTTTGTTTGACACTGATAGTAAACTGCTACCTCCCGACACCTACTACTTGGAAGAAGATCAAGAGGACTTTG AGTACGCATTGAGATGCTGGGGCCTCGGGGTTTATGTAGCAGACGGGCCTGTCACTTCCCCCCCGGACATAAGAA TACACCATAGTTCGGTATTACTACTGCTGACACCTGGAGTAAACTCAGAGTTGCCCTTACAGTACATACGTTGTT ACCCTCATCAGGCAGAGGTGGACATCTACATTAGGAGTCAGCTTTTGGAGGAGGAAGACACTGCTACGGAGGTGG AAGGCTCCCAGGAAGATGGTGATGAAGGGATGGGCGATGCGGTAATAGAGGATGAGGATACATCGTCCACAACAG AATCAATACCCCCACTAGAAGAGGAGGAAGGGGGCGAAGAGCCAATCACCTATGTGGTCATAAGGGGATTACAAG AAGAAAGATACGCCAGCCATCTTAAACTAAATGACTGGATCAGTGAAAACATTTCAGAGCCACACAGAGTCCAAA TTATGCTAGATGGGACAGTGAGAGTCACAATAAAAGAGGGCAAAGTGAAACATTTGTTTGGGGTCTATAGAATAG AAAACTCCCTGGAAGCAATGTTTAAAGAGACCATAGCTGACCTCCCCGTAGCTACCCAACCGCCCCAGGGGCCAG TCTATACGGCTAAAGAGCTGGCCCAAGGGAACATCGCCCCGGTCCAACCTGCAGCGAATTATTACGGAATGATAG AGGGGAGAGGCGACCCAATGACGGCATTCGAAGCCTTATCAGTCTTGCGGTCACAAAAAGTCTTAGCCAAGGACG TGAAGGTGAACACCCGCAGGGCGCAGGTTTTTTTAAATAAAGTCAGGAGAATTGCTGAGGTCAGAGCGTCGGAAC TGACATTAAAATGCTTACCGATACTTGGCAAAGTAAATGGGAGGAAATTGATTAGAGAGGAAACCAACATCCCCA ACCAAAGGTTGGCATCAATAATGACCTCAATAGGAATTAGACTAGAAAAACTGCCAGTGGTTAGAGCAAACACTT CCGGCTCTAAGTTCAGACAGTCAATCTTAGAAAAAATGGATAAGTATGAAAATGAACAAGTCCCAGGGTTACATG AAAAGATGTGGGCAGCGTTCCTGGCAACTGCCAGGCAAGATTTAAGAAATACCTATGAGGAAGTAACTTATCTTG AATTAGAGGCCGGAATCAATCGGAAAGGAGCCCCAGGTTTCTTTGAAAAAGAAAGCTCAATAGGAGAAGTGCTGG AAAAAAAAGAAAAAATTGACGTCACAATCCAAGAGATTGAAAAAGGCAACCACTTATACTATGAAACAGCCATGC CAAAAAATGAGAAAAGAGATGTGCTTGATGATTGGTTGTCAGAGGATTTCGTCACTTATAAGAAACCACGTGTGA TACAGTACCCTGAGGCAGTCACCCGGTTGGCCATCACCAAAATAATGTATAAGTGGGTGAAGCAAAAGCCTATAG TGATTCCCGGTTATGAGGGAAAAACCCCGATCTTTGAAATATTTGAAAAAGTCAGTGCAGATTGGGCTCAGTTCA AAAATCCGGTAGCCGTCAGCTTCGACACCAGAGCCTGGGACACTCAAGTAACAAGAGAAGACCTCAGGCTGGTAG GGCGGATACAGAAATACTATTACAAAAAAAAATATTGGAAGTTCATTGACAATTTGACAGCCATGATGGAGGAAG TGCCTGTAATCACTGTAGAAGGAGATATGTTCCTCAGAGTTGGACAGCGCGGATCCGGACAGCCTGATACCTCAG CAGGCAATTCCATGCTAAATGTGCTGACTAT GTTGGTAGCTTTCTCT GAAT CCA CAAATCTGCCCATAGCGGCTG CCTGGAAGGCCTGTCGGATCCACGTCTGTGGTGACGACGGTTTCTTAATCACAGAATCGGAATTAGGGAGGAAGT TTGCTGAAAAAGGT GTTCCTCTGTTAGCTGCATTTGGCAAACCCCAAAAAATTACAGAGGGAGCGAGCCTAAAGG TAACCAGCAACTTTGACGGAATAGAGTTTTGTAGTCATACCCCTATCAGAGTCCAAACACCAAACATCAGGTGGA

TGCCAGCGAGACCAACAGCAACAATCCTAGGCAAAATGAGTACCAGGCTGGGTGAGGGTGCCACCAGGTCGGGAG AAGAATACGAAAAACAGGTGGCATTCGCATATCTACTGATGTACCCCTGGAACCCGCTGGTCAGGAGAATCAGCC TCCTATTGTTATCGACTACTGACCCAATGGGGAAAGAGGAAACCCCATGCTCCGATGAGGGGGTGAAGTATGTTG GGGACCCTATCGCTGCATACAGGGATGTATGGGGGCACAAATTAGAGGATGTAGGCCATGTTGATCAACCGCAGT TATCCCGGATGAACTATAGCATGACTTACTTAGGGATTTGGAAACCAAAGACAAGTCAGCGGCTAGTCGAACAGT GTTGTCGTCTGGCCGAGAAAAGCAATTGTGTGGTACGTGCTGACTCCCTGATAAAGAAAAAGGTCAAGATCACTT ATGACCCGGGGATAGGAGTGGCTCAGGTCATTCGTAGGTGGGAAGAGCTTGAGTGGACCAGAAGGAAACCTGAAC TCACCAATGTAATTGTAGAAGATGATATCTTCCTAGTCCTGTGGAAGAGATTTTCAAAGTACATTTTTCAGAAAA TGAAGTTCATGCAGAGAATGTTCGCCCCTTATTAAGTGGGGGGCACTCATTTAAATTATAACCAGTATCTGGTAA GTATAAGATTTGTGTAAATAAAGTATATAACTGAAAGGGGCAAGTGGCCGTATAGGCTGGGGTGATCGCCGCACC CCCCCCTTCACTAGGCGCCTCAACCCCATGTACCATGGGGTTGTTGTAAATACTTGAATGAATGGAGTAATACGG GTAACAAACTTATAGGCCAGTATTGCCCCATTTGCTTTATAGTGGTGACGACCTGTATAGGTCCGATCTGATATC

(SEQ ID NO:l)

MEKQIAYYLKKEKQRNGWTELWGESHTKITTLSGKTYRGTWEMEKRPNPYGTYLPRPSPQQLTALHPHPWNCK WEYKEMDPNYGDCPNTNGVFVDEKGRRLSSPPLGIWKIRLDYSDLVNI SRPTPASGKNSYQVETCSGELATVTL VHNRVLVEDCRGLYQWKPNCEGIVLYVKTCSDWADQVEKQEKESPPKPQRPPRRDPRKGLQPQVPKETEVTEKKR QPSVTLVSGGQKAQVIYKGRTKNKKTPDGVYRYPGAKEGDWKVRKMLKNWHIALVMYLIHIITPGLAKVQWFLK DENSTGINQILWQRQINRSLHGEWPNQICHGMPNETITDEELRSLGMVDTSPRTNYTCCQLQYHEWKKHGWCNYP QKQAWITRITALQANLTGPYEGPECAVICRFNGSYNIVKQARDEVSPLTGCKEGHPFLFSGERSDTSCLRPPSTS WRPVKMDEASMADGFAHGVDKAI ILIRKGASGIINFLDTIGRWLPVAEATIVPYCDTYTVTGMYVHVKNCLPRG LPKHSKII SPTMIYLGEGDPAHNIQHLFGSGIAKWVLVLLGILGEWYGELASTIYLLLEYGSEWLEHESLVTEGL IPGINITIELPASHTVPGWVWVAGQWVCVKPDWWPTQIWIETWAETWHILKILASALVNIVAAFVNLELVYLVI ILVKI SKGNLIGAILWCLLLSGAEGSCYKRQDYYNTQLVVEEKTGVEKRSIMGKWTVITREGREPRLMEQINMVL NDSLSETYCYNRLNTSTWGRQPARQRGCGQTVPYWPGDNVLEEQYYSTGYWVNVTGGCQLREGVWLSRKGNVQCQ RNGSSLMLQLAIKEENDTMEIPCDPVETESMGPVAQGTCVYSWAFAPRGWYYNRKDGYWLQYIKKNDYQYWTKMP TASSAATMYRHLLPLLVACLMGGRISVWFVAMLLSLQVEASEVGTKQLAVTLTLWKMDWTELLFYIVLMLAVKEE LIKKIVTASLVALKNSPVALSFLIVLRLVGGSEALPVGLLLEKMCIDQPEFGTPFLIYLWDNWKWTVLVSFSALN HEKTIKLARKLLLATHITALTLTGLSDSIFYMMLITTNLLIKTFIYLLGASMNWVEREKKKLLVKRRLIYKKAVT CSQDENVLENKFNKITVNADFTPCKLELLQLLRAFLVSLCFSYYKPLLYAETTLTVIVIGVQEYNVAMARGRSW HRLLAMAYYIYGRIQGDMFQLATIQCLLSSPRKIMKHMVENPTLKKLWQGETELFNQGVSQSKIVNPKKIGLEEL HKGMCGLPTWQNLVIYAKKNDSLILGELGYPPGDLTSDGWEILGPGRI PKITNVESAKMDLLSKLMTFLGIESS RVPRTPVHSTRKLLKIVRGLETGWGYTHAGGISSAKHVTGEKNLMTHMEGRKGKYILQSQEHGADEVEYGVKTDQ KAPDNALCYCFNPEATNIKGETGAMVFMKKIGKKWTLVTSDGNKAYYNVNNLKGWSGLPIMLHSTGAIVGRIKSA YSDENDLVEELIDSRTISKSNETNLDHLIKELADMRRGEFRSITLGTGAGKTTELPRQYLTTVGAHKSVLVLVPL KAPAESVCRFMRSKYPTINFSLRVGERKEGDVSSGITYATYGFCCQLNLVQLKEWI SRYSMVFFDEYHTATPEQI

All SKIHALKVKTRIVAMSATPPGTVTTEGRKFDIEEVGVATIEKGEEPKRGRIAVAGMQVPLEDLTGKNCLVFV ATKEAAETEAKELRTRGINATYYYSGIDPKTLEHGMTNQPYCIVATNAIESGITCPDLDWIDTMQKYEKWNFS AKMPLIVTSLVKKKITREEQGQRKGRVGRQKKGKYYYPSGWPNGSKDLSYLILQAQEYGVLEQVNITEYFI IMN EDWGLYDVDEVEVRILERMNKEILLPLGIVEKQILERSTHPEKVALLYNKLVQKNPIVYPRVQEGEVSKEYNTYN LAVYDKLKDVNPQAIYVLAEEEPATEMMGLEFEQDPSDLQDSWQLCEDIKRYTKLSGITEKLLVGTMVGYIGYK ALTRNHVPWVSKEYCYELTDSPDTYENSFAPLDVDVQNSGEGKHPEQLADHQLRQLLETGRDKAIDFLKGIREFT SGAINSPKALSIWEKIYQYLKKHQGEII SSAAWGSATALHDSIKSRLGDEVATAVI ILKYLAFGERELSGLTRQV LIDIIVYYIVNKPRFEGDDYAKRKGRRLVIEVLMGALATYAVSNFWGVSINKILQPISDYLPYATATLAFLRPTF MESAVWASSIYPAFLSIKHAENRSLVTQVASAALEVMGLTPVSAGLGVLLGLGLCVLHMNIDKNEEKRTLILKM FVKNFIDQAALDELDKLEPEKI ILSLLEGIQTCTNPIPA.IMILYRVYYKGETFTEALSKMAGKSLIVMVIVEFLE LTGQTQGGYIDLSANLLTFLLEKLKKMTNLAIGEARKVLLPIPYLYCETWQSDARIKAPESYDQVWECKCGASA RYSFRDGVHEILEEKRTNWCKNFFLWGPNFHNPDPKRMTFYEYGQAKKCPVII IGEDITFGKYGIYIKFGHRPDG GRLIRGTTHATI SREELLEILTAPSQVAIGKVKLTDYCNQKGI IDRKLAVLEGDKIHFWKAHRGSKITDQLTIEN LTDDLGSEIRDITWELYTGGTCTVKGVSLRSCAPGHRTKAMVLCDCTDVLSPCYLINGRRPSPFDVAEGYECHHR KPRATYEDLEMEEILKRRVPVYDPLCLFDTDSKLLPPDTYYLEEDQEDFEYALRCWGLGVYVADGPVTSPPDIRI HHSSVLLLLTPGVNSELPLQYIRCYPHQAEVDIYIRSQLLEEEDTATEVEGSQEDGDEGMGDAVIEDEDTSSTTE SIPPLEEEEGGEEPITYWIRGLQEERYASHLKLNDWISENISEPHRVQIMLDGTVRVTIKEGKVKHLFGVYRIE NSLEAMFKETIADLPVATQPPQGPVYTAKELAQGNIAPVQPAANYYGMIEGRGDPMTAFEALSVLRSQKVLAKDV KVNTRRAQVFLNKVRRIAEVRASELTLKCLPILGKVNGRKLIREETNIPNQRLASIMTSIGIRLEKLPWPANTS GSKFRQSILEKMDKYENEQVPGLHEKMWAAFLATARQDLRNTYEEVTYLELEAGINRKGAPGFFEKESSIGEVLE KKEKIDVTIQEIEKGNHLYYETAMPKNEKRDVLDDWLSEDFVTYKKPRVIQYPEAVTRLAITKIMYKWVKQKPIV IPGYEGKTPIFEIFEKVSADWAQFKNPVAVSFDTPAWDTQVTREDLRLVGRIQKYYYKKKYWKFIDNLTAMMEEV PVITVEGDMFLRVGQRGSGQPDTSAGNSMLNVLTMLVAFSESTNLPIAAAWKACRIHVCGDDGFLITESELGRKF AEKGVPLLAAFGKPQKITEGASLKVTSNFDGIEFCSHTPIRVQTPNIRWMPARPTATILGKMSTRLGEGATRSGE EYEKQVAFAYLLMYPWNPLVRRISLLLLSTTDPMGKEETPCSDEGVKYVGDPIAAYRDVWGHKLEDVGHVDQPQL SRMNYSMTYLGIWKPKTSQRLVEQCCRLAEKSNCWRADSLIKKKVKITYDPGIGVAQVIRRWEELEWTRRKPEL TNVIVEDDIFLVLWKRFSKYIFQKMKFMQRMFAPY (SEQ ID NO: 2)

The present disclosure also provides vectors and infectious molecular clones encoding Npro, capsid, Ems, El , E2, NS2-3, helicase, NS4B, NS5A, or RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) proteins of the pestivirus.

Npro: The gene encoding the N-terminal protease (Npro) protein consisting of 180 amino acids is found at positions 378 to 917 of SEQ ID NO: l .

ATGGAAAAACAGATTGCATATTACTTAAAAAAAGAAAAACAAAGAAATGGGTGGACGGAACTGGTGGTAGGAGAA AGTCATACAAAAATAACCACGCTTTCTGGAAAGACCTATCGAGGCACCTGGGAAATGGAGAAACGGCCAAATCCT TATGGAACCTATCTCCCCAGACCTAGTCCCCAACAGCTTACAGCCCTACACCCCCACCCAGTGGTGAATTGTAAG GTGGTTGAGTACAAGGAGATGGACCCTAATTATGGTGATTGCCCAAATACGAACGGGGTGTTTGTTGACGAAAAG GGTAGAAGGCTGAGCAGCCCTCCATTAGGCATTTGGAAGATAAGATTGGACTATAGTGACTTGGTAAACATAAGC AGACCAACCCCCGCTAGTGGGAAAAACTCTTACCAAGTTGAGACCTGCAGTGGGGAGCTGGCTACAGTGACACTG GTACACAATAGGGTGCTCGTGGAAGATTGCAGGGGGCTATACCAATGGAAACCCAACTGTGAAGGAATTGTGCTC TATGTGAAAACTTGT (SEQ ID NO : 3 )

MEKQIAYYLKKEKQRNGWTELWGESHTKITTLSGKTYRGTWEMEKRPNPYGTYLPRPSPQQLTALHPHPWNCK WEYKEMDPNYGDCPNTNGVFVDEKGRRLSSPPLGIWKIRLDYSDLVNI SRPTPASGKNSYQVETCSGELATVTL VHNRVLVEDCRGLYQWKPNCEGIVLYVKTC (SEQ ID NO : 4 )

Capsid: The gene encoding the capsid protein consisting of 111 amino acids is found at positions 918 to 1250 of SEQ IDNO:l.

TCTGACTGGGCAGATCAGGTAGAAAAACAGGAGAAAGAAAGCCCCCCAAAACCACAGCGGCCACCAAGGCGAGAC CCACGAAAAGGGTTACAACCACAAGTCCCCAAAGAGACTGAGGTCACAGAAAAGAAGAGACAACCTAGTGTCACC TTAGTATCGGGGGGGCAGAAGGCCCAAGTCATCTACAAAGGCAGGACCAAAAACAAAAAGACCCCGGATGGAGTC TATAGATACCCAGGAGCTAAAGAAGGGGACGTAGTAAAGGTCAGGAAGATGCTGAAGAATTGGCATATAGCCTTA GTGATGTACCTGATACATATCATAACTCCAGGC (SEQ ID NO: 5)

SDWADQVEKQEKESPPKPQRPPRRDPRKGLQPQVPKETEVTEKKRQPSVTLVSGGQKAQVIYKGRTKNKKTPDGV YRY P GAKE GDWKVRKML KNWH I ALVMYL I H 11 T P G (SEQ ID NO : 6 )

Ems: The gene encoding the envelope protein Ems consisting of 209 amino acids is found at positions 1251 to 1877 of SEQ IDNO:l.

CTTGCCAAGGTCCAGTGGTTCTTAAAAGATGAAAACTCGACGGGGATCAACCAGATACTGTGGCAAAGACAGATC AACAGATCCTTACATGGAGAATGGCCTAACCAGATCTGCCACGGTATGCCCAATGAAACTATCACGGATGAGGAA TTACGCAGTCTGGGAATGGTAGATACAAGCCCTAGAACAAACTACACCTGTTGCCAGTTGCAATATCATGAGTGG AAGAAACATGGTTGGTGCAACTATCCACAAAAACAGGCGTGGATCACGAGGATAACGGCCCTACAAGCTAACCTT ACCGGGCCTTATGAGGGACCTGAGTGCGCCGTCATCTGCCGATTTAACGGCAGCTACAACATCGTAAAACAGGCC AGAGATGAGGTGAGTCCACTGACAGGGTGCAAGGAAGGGCATCCTTTTCTATTCTCTGGTGAAAGATCCGACACC TCATGCCTAAGGCCCCCTTCCACTAGTTGGGTAAGACCAGTGAAAATGGACGAGGCATCAATGGCCGATGGCTTT GCCCATGGGGTTGATAAGGCGATAATACTAATCAGGAAGGGGGCATCAGGAATAATCAATTTCCTAGACACTATT GGGAGGTGGCTACCGGTAGCTGAAGCA (SEQ ID NO: 7)

LAKVQWFLKDENSTGINQILWQRQINRSLHGEWPNQICHGMPNETITDEELRSLGMVDTSPRTNYTCCQLQYHEW KKHGWCNYPQKQAWITRITALQANLTGPYEGPECAVICRFNGSYNIVKQARDEVSPLTGCKEGHPFLFSGERSDT SCLRPPSTSWVRPVKMDEASMADGFAHGVDKAI ILIRKGASGI INFLDTIGRWLPVAEA (SEQ ID NO : 8 )

El: The gene encoding the envelope protein El consisting of 200 amino acids is found at positions 1878 to 2477 of SEQ IDNO:l.

ACTATAGTACCATATTGTGATACTTACACTGTGACAGGGATGTATGTCCATGTAAAGAATTGCCTCCCTAGAGGG TTACCTAAGCATTCAAAAATAATCTCCCCGACAATGATATATCTGGGAGAAGGAGACCCGGCCCATAATATCCAG CACTTATTTGGCTCAGGTATAGCAAAGTGGGTCCTAGTTCTACTCGGGATTCTGGGTGAGTGGTATGGAGAATTG GCTTCCACAATATACTTACTACTAGAATACGGGTCTGAGTGGTTGGAACATGAAAGCCTGGTCACGGAAGGGTTG ATTCCTGGCATTAATATTACAATAGAACTCCCAGCTAGTCATACAGTGCCTGGTTGGGTGTGGGTCGCAGGCCAG TGGGTATGCGTGAAGCCAGACTGGTGGCCTACACAGATTTGGATTGAAACCGTGGTGGCAGAGACCTGGCATATA

CTAAAAATATTGGCGTCAGCCCTGGTGAACATAGTTGCAGCGTTCGTAAACCTGGAATTGGTTTATCTGGTCATA ATACTAGTCAAAATATCAAAAGGGAACCTGATAGGTGCCATATTATGGTGCTTGTTACTGTCAGGCGCTGAAGGC

(SEQ ID NO: 9)

TIVPYCDTYTVTGMYVHVKNCLPRGLPKHSKII SPTMIYLGEGDPAHNIQHLFGSGIAKWVLVLLGILGEWYGEL ASTIYLLLEYGSEWLEHESLVTEGLI PGINITIELPASHTVPGWVWAGQWVCVKPDWWPTQIWIETVVAETWHI LKILASALWIVAAFVNLELVYLVIILVKI SKGNLIGAILWCLLLSGAEG (SEQ ID NO: 10)

E2: The gene encoding the envelope protein E2 consisting of 372 amino acids is found at positions 2478 to 3593 of SEQ ID NO: l .

TCGTGCTACAAAAGACAAGACTATTACAACACCCAACTAGTCGTCGAAGAAAAAACAGGCGTAGAAAAACGATCT ATAATGGGCAAGTGGACCGTGATAACCAGGGAAGGTCGGGAGCCAAGATTAATGGAGCAAATAAATATGGTATTG AATGATAGCCTGTCAGAAACCTACTGCTATAATAGGCTAAACACCAGCACTTGGGGGCGGCAACCGGCAAGACAA AGAGGGTGTGGTCAAACCGTGCCCTATTGGCCTGGTGACAATGTTCTAGAAGAACAATACTACAGCACAGGTTAC TGGGTGAATGTAACAGGCGGTTGCCAGCTGAGAGAAGGCGTATGGCTATCAAGAAAGGGTAACGTACAGTGTCAG CGTAACGGCTCATCCTTGATGCTGCAATTGGCGATAAAAGAAGAGAATGACACTATGGAAATACCATGTGACCCA GTGGAAACTGAAAGTATGGGTCCAGTTGCACAGGGCACTTGTGTGTACAGCTGGGCATTCGCCCCAAGAGGGTGG TACTATAACAGGAAGGATGGTTATTGGCTCCAGTACATAAAGAAAAACGACTACCAGTATTGGACAAAAATGCCT ACTGCCTCGTCCGCCGCAACCATGTACCGCCACTTGCTCCCCTTACTGGTGGCCTGCCTCATGGGCGGTAGGATA TCGGTGTGGTTTGTGGCAATGCTCCTGTCTCTACAGGTGGAAGCTAGTGAAGTAGGCACTAAACAACTGGCTGTC ACGCTAACCCTGTGGAAAATGGACTGGACAGAACTACTTTTCTATATTGTCTTGATGCTAGCCGTTAAGGAAGAA CTTATAAAAAAAATTGTGACCGCTAGCCTTGTGGCCTTAAAAAATAGTCCAGTAGCCTTGAGTTTTCTTATTGTA CTCAGACTTGTGGGGGGCAGTGAAGCACTCCCAGTAGGTTTATTATTAGAAAAAATGTGCATAGACCAACCGGAG TTTGGAACTCCTTTCCTGATCTACCTATGGGACAACTGGAAGTGGACTGTGTTAGTCAGCTTCTCCGCACTGAAC CATGAAAAAACTATAAAACTGGCAAGAAAACTGTTGTTGGCAACACATATAACAGCGCTCACATTG (SEQ ID NO: 11)

SCYKRQDYYNTQLWEEKTGVEKRSIMGKWTVITREGREPRLMEQINMVLNDSLSETYCYNRLNTSTWGRQPARQ RGCGQTVPYWPGDNVLEEQYYSTGYWVNVTGGCQLREGVWLSRKGNVQCQRNGSSLMLQLAIKEENDTMEIPCDP VETESMGPVAQGTCVYSWAFAPRGWYYNRKDGYWLQYIKKNDYQYWTKMPTASSAATMYRHLLPLLVACLMGGRI SVWFVAMLLSLQVEASEVGTKQLAVTLTLWKMDWTELLFYIVLMLAVKEELIKKIVTASLVALKNSPVALSFLIV LRLVGGSEALPVGLLLEKMCIDQPEFGTPFLIYLWDNWKWTVLVSFSALNHEKTIKLARKLLLATHITALTL

(SEQ ID NO:12)

NS2-3: The gene encoding the nonstructural protein NS2-3 consisting of 934 amino acids is found at positions 3594 to 6395 of SEQ ID NO: 1.

ACTGGCTTGAGTGATTCAATCTTCTATATGATGCTTATAACAACAAATTTGTTAATAAAGACATTCATATACTTG CTGGGGGCTAGTATGAATTGGGTCGAGAGAGAAAAAAAGAAATTGCTAGTGAAGAGGAGACTAATATACAAGAAA GCCGTTACTTGCAGTCAGGATGAGAATGTATTGGAGAATAAATTCAACAAGATAACTGTAAACGCGGATTTCACC CCATGCAAGCTTGAACTTCTACAATTACTTAGGGCTTTTTTAGTCTCTTTGTGTTTTTCCTACTACAAACCTCTC

CTGTATGCAGAGACTACCTTAACTGTAATAGTAATTGGCGTACAAGAGTACAACGTAGCCATGGCCCGCGGGCGA AGT GTGGTCCACAGGCTACTAGCCATGGCCTATTACATATACGGCCGCATACAGGGTGACATGTTCCAGCTCGCC ACT AT C CAGT GC CT GCT GT C GAGT CC GAGGAAAAT TAT GAAACACAT GGTAGAGAAT C CAACT CT CAAGAAGCT C TGGCAAGGCGAAACAGAACTCTTCAACCAGGGT GTTAGTCAATCCAAGATAGTGAATCCAAAGAAAATTGGGCTG GAAGAATTACACAAGGGCATGT GTGGCCTCCCAACAGTAGTGCAAAATTTGGTCATATATGCAAAGAAGAATGAC TCTCTTATTTTAGGAGAGCTGGGTTACCCCCCTGGGGATCTCACCAGTGATGGGTGGGAAATTTTAGGTCCTGGC AGAATCCCAAAGATCACTAACGTCGAGTCTGCTAAGATGGACTTACTCTCCAAACTTATGACCTTTCTGGGGATT GAAAGCTCGAGGGTCCCCAGGACCCCAGTCCACTCAACAAGGAAATTATTGAAGATAGTAAGGGGCTTGGAAACA GGATGGGGGTACACTCACGCAGGGGGGATAAGTAGCGCAAAACACGTTACAGGTGAAAAGAACTTAATGACCCAC ATGGAGGGTAGGAAGGGAAAATATATCCTACAATCTCAAGAACATGGTGCTGACGAGGTAGAGTACGGAGTAAAA ACTGATCAAAAAGCTCCCGACAATGCCTTATGCTACTGTTTTAACCCTGAAGCTACAAACATAAAAGGAGAGACG GGAGCCATGGTGTTCATGAAGAAGATAGGAAAAAAGTGGACTCTCGTAACATCAGACGGCAATAAAGCCTATTAT AATGTAAACAATTTGAAAGGGTGGTCTGGACTACCAATAATGCTGCACTCCACCGGGGCCATAGTGGGGAGGATT AAATCAGCGTATTCAGATGAAAACGACCTGGTGGAGGAACTTATTGACTCTAGAACTATTAGTAAGAGCAATGAG ACAAACCTGGACCACCTTATCAAGGAATTGGCAGACATGCGGAGGGGGGAGTTCCGCTCAATTACCCTTGGAACG GGAGCCGGGAAAACCACAGAACTGCCTAGGCAATACCTCACAA CAGT AGGTGCCCATAAATCCGT GCT GGTCTTA GTCCCCTTAAAAGCACCTGCTGAAAGTGTTTGCCGCTTTATGAGGTCTAAATACCCTACCATCAACTTTTCCTTA AGAGTGGGGGAACGGAAAGAGGGAGATGTGAGCAGCGGCATCACCTACGCTACTTACGGATTTTGCTGCCAGCTA AACCTAGTCCAACTTAAAGAATGGATATCCAGGTACTCAATGGTTTTTTTTGATGAATATCACACAGCAACTCCA GAACAAATAGCCATAATAAGCAAGATTCATGCACTGAAAGTTAAGACCAGGATAGTGGCTATGTCAGCAACCCCC CCGGGTACCGTGACGACTGAAGGCAGGAAGTTTGACATTGAAGAGGTAGGGGTTGCTACCATAGAGAAAGGAGAG GAACCAAAAAGGGGGCGCATAGCGGTCGCTGGTATGCAGGTCCCATTAGAAGACTTAACAGGAAAGAACTGCCTG GTGTTCGTGGCAACCAAAGAAGCCGCGGAGACGGAGGCTAAAGAACTGCGCACCAGAGGAATTAACGCCACCTAC TACTATTCAGGTATAGACCCTAAGACTCTGGAACATGGGATGACCAATCAGCCATACTGTATTGTAGCTACCAAT GCCATTGAATCAGGTATAACCTGTCCTGACTTGGATGTGGTCATAGACACCATGCAGAAGTACGAAAAAGTAGTG AATTTCTCGGCAAAGATGCCCTTGATTGTCACTTCATTAGTAAAGAAAAAAATCACCAGGGAAGAACAGGGCCAG AGGAAAGGTCGAGTGGGCAGGCAAAAGAAAGGAAAATACTACTACCCCTCGGGGGTGGTACCGAATGGGTCAAAA GACCTAAGCTATTTAATCCTACAGGCCCAAGAATATGGT GTCTTGGAACAAGTCAATATAACAGAGTACTTCATC ATAATGAATGAGGACTGGGGTCTCTATGACGTAGATGAAGTAGAAGTGAGAATACTTGAGAGAATGAACAAGGAA ATCTTGCTACCACTAGGTATTGTGGAGAAGCAAATCTTGGAAAGAAGTACTCACCCGGAAAAAGTGGCACTGTTG TATAACAAATTAGTGCAGAAAAATCCTATAGTATACCCTAGAGTACAGGAAGGTGAGGTCAGCAAGGAATACAAT ACCTATAATCTGGCCGTATATGACAAGCTAAAAGATGTCAACCCACAAGCCATTTATGTTCTAGCAGAAGAGGAG AGAGCCACAGAAATGATGGGTCTCGAGTTTGAACAAGACCCATCTGACTTACAGGATTCGGTAGTTCAGCTTTGT GAAGATAT CAAGAGGTATACAAAACT C ( S EQ I D NO : 13 )

TGLSDS I FYMMLITTNLLI KTFIYLLGASMNWVEREKKKLLVKRRLI YKKAVTCSQDENVLENKFNKI TVNADFT PCKLELLQLLRAFLVS LCFSYYKPLLYAETTLTVIVI GVQEYNVAMARGRSWHRLLAMAYYI YGRIQGDMFQLA TIQCLLS S PRKIMKHMVENPTLKKLWQGETELFNQGVSQSKIVNPKKI GLEELHKGMCGLPTWQNLVIYAKKND SLI LGELGYP PGDLTS DGWEI LGPGRI PKI TNVESAKMDLLSKLMTFLGI ES S RVPRT PVHSTRKLLKIVRGLET GWGYTHAGGI S SAKHVTGEKNLMTHMEGRKGKYI LQSQEHGADEVEYGVKTDQKAPDNALCYCFNPEATNI KGET GAMVFMKKI GKKWTLVTS DGNKAYYNVNNLKGWSGLP IMLHSTGAIVGRI KSAYSDENDLVEELI DSRTI SKSNE

TNLDHLI KELADMRRGEFRS ITLGTGAGKTTELPRQYLTTVGAHKSVLVLVPLKAPAESVCRFMRS KYPT INFS L RVGERKEGDVS S GI TYATYGFCCQLNLVQLKEWI S RYSMVFFDEYHTAT PEQIAI I SKIHALKVKTRIVAMSAT P PGTVTTEGRKFDI EEVGVAT I EKGEEPKRGRIAVAGMQVPLEDLTGKNCLVFVATKEAAETEAKELRTRGINATY YYS GI DPKTLEHGMTNQPYCIVATNAI ESGI TCPDLDWI DTMQKYEKWNFSAKMPLIVTSLVKKKI TREEQGQ RKGRVGRQKKGKYYYP SGWPNGS KDLSYLI LQAQEYGVLEQVNI TEYFI IMNEDWGLYDVDEVEVRI LERMNKE I LLPLGIVEKQI LERSTHPEKVALLYNKLVQKNPIVYPRVQEGEVSKEYNTYNLAVYDKLKDVNPQAI YVLAEEE RATEMMGLEFEQDP SDLQDSWQLCEDI KRYTKL ( S EQ I D NO : 14 )

Helicase: The gene encoding the helicase protein consisting of 687 amino acids is found at positions 4335 to 6395 of SEQ ID NO: l .

GGTCCTGGCAGAATCCCAAAGATCACTAACGTCGAGTCTGCTAAGATGGACTTACTCTCCAAACTTATGACCTTT CTGGGGATTGAAAGCTCGAGGGTCCCCAGGACCCCAGTCCACTCAACAAGGAAATTATTGAAGATAGTAAGGGGC TTGGAAACAGGATGGGGGTACACTCACGCAGGGGGGATAAGTAGCGCAAAACACGTTACAGGTGAAAAGAACTTA ATGACCCACATGGAGGGTAGGAAGGGAAAATATATCCTACAATCTCAAGAACATGGTGCTGACGAGGTAGAGTAC GGAGTAAAAACTGATCAAAAAGCTCCCGACAATGCCTTATGCTACTGTTTTAACCCTGAAGCTACAAACATAAAA GGAGAGACGGGAGCCATGGT GTTCATGAAGAAGATAGGAAAAAAGTGGACTCTCGTAACATCAGACGGCAATAAA GCCTATTATAATGTAAACAATTTGAAAGGGTGGTCTGGACTACCAATAATGCTGCACTCCACCGGGGCCATAGTG GGGAGGATTAAATCAGCGTATTCAGATGAAAACGACCTGGTGGAGGAACTTATTGACTCTAGAACTATTAGTAAG AGCAATGAGACAAACCTGGACCACCTTATCAAGGAATTGGCAGACATGCGGAGGGGGGAGTTCCGCTCAATTACC CTTGGAACGGGAGCCGGGAAAACCACAGAACTGCCTAGGCAATACCTCACAACAGTAGGTGCCCATAAATCCGTG CTGGTCTTAGTCCCCTTAAAAGCACCTGCTGAAAGTGTTTGCCGCTTTATGAGGTCTAAATACCCTACCATCAAC TTTTCCTTAAGAGTGGGGGAACGGAAAGAGGGAGATGTGAGCAGCGGCATCACCTACGCTACTTACGGATTTTGC TGCCAGCTAAACCTAGTCCAACTTAAAGAATGGATATCCAGGTACTCAATGGTTTTTTTTGATGAATATCACACA GCAACTCCAGAACAAATAGCCATAATAAGCAAGATTCATGCACTGAAAGTTAAGACCAGGATAGTGGCTATGTCA GCAACCCCCCCGGGTACCGTGACGACTGAAGGCAGGAAGTTTGACATTGAAGAGGTAGGGGTTGCTACCATAGAG AAAGGAGAGGAACCAAAAAGGGGGCGCATAGCGGTCGCTGGTATGCAGGTCCCATTAGAAGACTTAACAGGAAAG AACTGCCTGGTGTTCGTGGCAACCAAAGAAGCCGCGGAGACGGAGGCTAAAGAACTGCGCACCAGAGGAATTAAC GCCACCTACTACTATTCAGGTATAGACCCTAAGACTCTGGAACATGGGATGACCAATCAGCCATACTGTATTGTA GCTACCAATGCCATTGAATCAGGTATAACCTGTCCTGACTTGGATGTGGTCATAGACACCATGCAGAAGTACGAA AAAGTAGTGAATTTCTCGGCAAAGATGCCCTTGATTGTCACTTCATTAGTAAAGAAAAAAATCACCAGGGAAGAA CAGGGCCAGAGGAAAGGTCGAGTGGGCAGGCAAAAGAAAGGAAAATACTACTACCCCTCGGGGGTGGTACCGAAT GGGTCAAAAGACCTAAGCTATTTAATCCTACAGGCCCAAGAATATGGTGTCTTGGAACAAGTCAATATAACAGAG TACTTCATCATAATGAATGAGGACTGGGGTCTCTATGACGTAGATGAAGTAGAAGTGAGAATACTTGAGAGAATG AACAAGGAAATCTTGCTACCACTAGGTATTGTGGAGAAGCAAATCTTGGAAAGAAGTACTCACCCGGAAAAAGTG GCACT GTT GTATAACAAATTAGTGCAGAAAAAT CCTATAGTATACCCTAGAGTACAGGAAGGT GAGGT CAGCAAG GAATACAATACCTATAATCTGGCCGTATATGACAAGCTAAAAGATGTCAACCCACAAGCCATTTAT GTTCTAGCA GAAGAGGAGAGAGCCACAGAAATGATGGGTCTCGAGTTTGAACAAGACCCATCTGACTTACAGGATTCGGTAGTT CAGCTTTGTGAAGATATCAAGAGGTATACAAAACTC ( S EQ I D NO : 15 )

GPGRI PKITNVESAKMDLLSKLMTFLGIESSRVPRTPVHSTRKLLKIVRGLETGWGYTHAGGI SSAKHVTGEKNL MTHMEGRKGKYILQSQEHGADEVEYGVKTDQKAPDNALCYCFNPEATNIKGETGAMVFMKKIGKKWTLVTSDGNK AYYNVNNLKGWSGLPIMLHSTGAIVGRIKSAYSDENDLVEELIDSRTISKSNETNLDHLIKELADMRRGEFRSIT LGTGAGKTTELPRQYLTTVGAHKSVLVLVPLKAPAESVCRFMRSKYPTINFSLRVGERKEGDVSSGITYATYGFC CQLNLVQLKEWI SRYSMVFFDEYHTATPEQIAI ISKIHALKVKTRIVAMSATPPGTVTTEGRKFDIEEVGVATIE KGEEPKRGRIAVAGMQVPLEDLTGKNCLVFVATKEAAETEAKELRTRGINATYYYSGIDPKTLEHGMTNQPYCIV ATNAIESGITCPDLDWIDTMQKYEKWNFSAKMPLIVTSLVKKKITREEQGQRKGRVGRQKKGKYYYPSGWPN GSKDLSYLILQAQEYGVLEQVNITEYFI IMNEDWGLYDVDEVEVRILERMNKEILLPLGIVEKQILERSTHPEKV ALLYNKLVQKNPIVYPRVQEGEVSKEYNTYNLAVYDKLKDVNPQAIYVLAEEEPATEMMGLEFEQDPSDLQDSW QLCEDIKRYTKL (SEQ ID NO: 16)

NS4B: The gene encoding the nonstructural protein NS4B consisting of 67 amino acids is found at positions 6396 to 6596 of SEQ ID NO: 1.

TCTGGGATCACTGAGAAACTGCTAGTAGGTACGATGGTGGGGTATATTGGATACAAAGCCTTAACCAGAAACCAC GTGCCCTGGGTCAGCAAAGAGTATTGTTATGAGCTGACCGATTCACCGGATACTTACGAAAACTCATTCGCACCT TTGGACGTCGACGTCCAAAACTCCGGTGAAGGAAAACACCCAGAGCAACTG (SEQ ID NO: 17)

SGITEKLLVGTMVGYIGYKALTRNHVPWVSKEYCYELTDSPDTYENSFAPLDVDVQNSGEGKHPEQL ( SEQ ID NO: 18 )

NS5A: The gene encoding the nonstructural protein NS5A consisting of 81 1 amino acids is found at positions 6597 to 9029 of SEQ ID NO: 1.

GCAGACCATCAATTGAGGCAACTACTGGAGACTGGGAGAGACAAGGCAATTGATTTCCTAAAAGGAATCCGCGAG TTCACTAGTGGGGCCATAAACAGTCCAAAGGCACTAAGTATATGGGAGAAAATATATCAGTATTTGAAGAAGCAT CAGGGCGAGATCATCTCATCAGCAGCGTGGGGCAGTGCGACGGCCCTTCACGACAGTATTAAATCTAGACTAGGA GATGAGGTCGCTACTGCAGTAATAATCCTCAAGTATTTAGCATTTGGTGAAAGAGAACTGTCTGGGCTAACTAGG CAAGTTCTAATTGACATCATAGTATATTATATAGTTAACAAGCCCCGGTTCGAAGGAGACGACTACGCAAAGAGA AAAGGAAGAAGGCTAGTCATCGAAGTCCTGATGGGGGCACTGGCGACTTATGCGGTGTCCAATTTTTGGGGTGTG TCCATTAATAAGATACTGCAACCAATTTCTGATTATCTACCCTATGCCACCGCCACTTTGGCTTTTCTTCGCCCA ACCTTCATGGAATCAGCAGTGGTGGTCGCTTCCTCTATCTATAGAGCTTTTCTCTCCATTAAGCATGCGGAAAAC AGGAGTCTTGTCACGCAGGTCGCTTCTGCCGCCCTCGAAGTCATGGGCCTGACCCCAGTATCGGCTGGCCTAGGC GTCTTGCTGGGGCTTGGGTTGTGTGTGCTCCATATGAACATTGACAAGAATGAGGAGAAAAGGACACTTATACTG AAAATGTTTGTCAAAAACTTTATAGACCAGGCGGCACTAGACGAGTTGGATAAACTGGAGCCAGAAAAAATAATC CTCTCATTGTTGGAGGGTATCCAAACCTGCACAAACCCGATTAGAGCAATCATGATTTTGTACAGGGTGTACTAC AAGGGAGAAACTTTCACAGAAGCTTTGTCTAAGATGGCCGGCAAGTCTCTCATTGTGATGGTCATAGTCGAGTTC CTGGAATTGACAGGCCAAACCCAAGGAGGGTATATAGATCTTAGTGCTAATTTGCTGACCTTTCTCCTCGAGAAA CTAAAAAAAATGACTAACCTCGCCATCGGGGAAGCTAGAAAGGTCTTGCTCCCCATCCCATACTTGTACTGTGAA ACCTGGCAGTCTGACGCCAGAATCAAGGCCCCTGAATCCTACGACCAAGTGGTAGTGGAATGCAAATGTGGCGCT TCAGCGAGGTATTCCTTCCGCGATGGAGTTCATGAGATATTGGAAGAAAAAAGGACTAATTGGTGCAAGAACTTC TTCTTATGGGGACCCAACTTCCACAATCCGGATCCAAAAAGGATGACATTCTATGAATACGGCCAAGCAAAAAAG

TGTCCTGTTATCATAATTGGTGAAGACATAACCTTCGGCAAATATGGCATATATATCAAATTTGGCCATAGGCCT GATGGAGGGAGGTTAATAAGGGGTACCACCCACGCTACTATCAGTAGGGAGGAATTGCTGGAAATCCTAACAGCC CCAAGCCAAGTGGCCATAGGCAAGGTCAAGCTAACCGATTACTGTAATCAAAAAGGAATAATAGACAGGAAATTG GCCGTACTTGAAGGTGACAAAATACATTTTTGGAAAGCACACCGTGGATCCAAAATCACAGACCAACTCACTATT GAGAATCTGACAGATGATTTGGGGTCAGAAATCAGGGACATCACATGGGAGCTGTACACAGGTGGAACGTGCACC GTAAAAGGGGTGTCCCTTAGATCATGCGCACCAGGTCATAGAACTAAGGCTATGGTCTTGTGTGATTGCACTGAT GTGCTTAGCCCCTGTTACCTAATAAACGGCAGGAGACCATCCCCATTTGACGTCGCGGAAGGTTATGAATGTCAC CACCGGAAGCCCCGAGCGACGTATGAAGACCTAGAAATGGAGGAAATACTAAAGAGACGAGTCCCTGTCTACGAT CCTCTGTGTTTGTTTGACACTGATAGTAAACTGCTACCTCCCGACACCTACTACTTGGAAGAAGATCAAGAGGAC TTTGAGTACGCATTGAGATGCTGGGGCCTCGGGGTTTATGTAGCAGACGGGCCTGTCACTTCCCCCCCGGACATA AGAATACACCATAGTTCGGTATTACTACTGCTGACACCTGGAGTAAACTCAGAGTTGCCCTTACAGTACATACGT TGTTACCCTCATCAGGCAGAGGTGGACATCTACATTAGGAGTCAGCTTTTGGAGGAGGAAGACACTGCTACGGAG GTGGAAGGCTCCCAGGAAGATGGTGATGAAGGGATGGGCGATGCGGTAATAGAGGATGAGGATACATCGTCCACA ACAGAATCAATACCCCCACTAGAAGAGGAGGAAGGGGGCGAAGAGCCAATCACCTATGTGGTCATAAGGGGATTA CAAGAAGAAAGATACGCCAGCCATCTTAAACTA (SEQ ID NO: 19)

ADHQLRQLLETGRDKAIDFLKGIREFTSGAINSPKALSIWEKIYQYLKKHQGEI ISSAAWGSATALHDSIKSRLG DEVATAVI ILKYLAFGERELSGLTRQVLIDI IVYYIVNKPRFEGDDYAKRKGRRLVIEVLMGALATYAVSNFWGV SINKILQPISDYLPYATATLAFLRPTFMESAVWASSIYRAFLSIKHAENRSLVTQVASAALEVMGLTPVSAGLG VLLGLGLCVLHMNIDKNEEKRTLILKMFVKNFIDQAALDELDKLEPEKI ILSLLEGIQTCTNPIRAIMILYRVYY KGETFTEALSKMAGKSLIVMVIVEFLELTGQTQGGYIDLSANLLTFLLEKLKKMTNLAIGEARKVLLPIPYLYCE TWQSDARIKAPESYDQVVVECKCGASARYSFRDGVHEILEEKRTNWCKNFFLWGPNFHNPDPKRMTFYEYGQAKK CPVIIIGEDITFGKYGIYIKFGHRPDGGRLIRGTTHATISREELLEILTAPSQVAIGKVKLTDYCNQKGIIDRKL AVLEGDKIHFWKAHRGSKITDQLTIENLTDDLGSEIRDITWELYTGGTCTVKGVSLRSCAPGHRTKAMVLCDCTD VLSPCYLINGRRPSPFDVAEGYECHHRKPPATYEDLEMEEILKRRVPVYDPLCLFDTDSKLLPPDTYYLEEDQED FEYALRCWGLGVYVADGPVTSPPDIRIHHSSVLLLLTPGVNSELPLQYIRCYPHQAEVDIYIRSQLLEEEDTATE VEGSQEDGDEGMGDAVIEDEDTSSTTESIPPLEEEEGGEEPITYWIRGLQEERYASHLKL (SEQ ID

NO : 20 )

RdRp: The gene encoding the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase consisting of 751 amino acids is found at positions 9030 to 1 1285 of SEQ ID NO: 1.

AATGACTGGATCAGTGAAAACATTTCAGAGCCACACAGAGTCCAAATTATGCTAGATGGGACAGTGAGAGTCACA ATAAAAGAGGGCAAAGTGAAACATTTGTTTGGGGTCTATAGAATAGAAAACTCCCTGGAAGCAATGTTTAAAGAG ACCATAGCTGACCTCCCCGTAGCTACCCAACCGCCCCAGGGGCCAGTCTATACGGCTAAAGAGCTGGCCCAAGGG AACATCGCCCCGGTCCAACCTGCAGCGAATTATTACGGAATGATAGAGGGGAGAGGCGACCCAATGACGGCATTC GAAGCCTTATCAGTCTTGCGGTCACAAAAAGTCTTAGCCAAGGACGTGAAGGTGAACACCCGCAGGGCGCAGGTT TTTTTAAATAAAGTCAGGAGAATTGCTGAGGTCAGAGCGTCGGAACTGACATTAAAATGCTTACCGATACTTGGC AAAGTAAATGGGAGGAAATTGATTAGAGAGGAAACCAACATCCCCAACCAAAGGTTGGCATCAATAATGACCTCA ATAGGAATTAGACTAGAAAAACTGCCAGTGGTTAGAGCAAACACTTCCGGCTCTAAGTTCAGACAGTCAATCTTA GAAAAAATGGATAAGTATGAAAATGAACAAGTCCCAGGGTTACATGAAAAGATGTGGGCAGCGTTCCTGGCAACT

GCCAGGCAAGATTTAAGAAATACCTATGAGGAAGTAACTTATCTTGAATTAGAGGCCGGAATCAATCGGAAAGGA GCCCCAGGTTTCTTTGAAAAAGAAAGCTCAATAGGAGAAGTGCTGGAAAAAAAAGAAAAAATTGACGTCACAATC CAAGAGATTGAAAAAGGCAACCACTTATACTATGAAACAGCCATGCCAAAAAATGAGAAAAGAGATGTGCTTGAT GATTGGTTGTCAGAGGATTTCGTCACTTATAAGAAACCACGTGTGATACAGTACCCTGAGGCAGTCACCCGGTTG GCCATCACCAAAATAATGTATAAGTGGGTGAAGCAAAAGCCTATAGTGATTCCCGGTTATGAGGGAAAAACCCCG ATCTTTGAAATATTTGAAAAAGTCAGTGCAGATTGGGCTCAGTTCAAAAATCCGGTAGCCGTCAGCTTCGACACC AGAGCCTGGGACACTCAAGTAACAAGAGAAGACCTCAGGCTGGTAGGGCGGATACAGAAATACTATTACAAAAAA AAATATTGGAAGTTCATTGACAATTTGACAGCCATGATGGAGGAAGTGCCTGTAATCACTGTAGAAGGAGATATG TTCCTCAGAGTTGGACAGCGCGGATCCGGACAGCCTGATACCTCAGCAGGCAATTCCATGCTAAATGTGCTGACT ATGTTGGTAGCTTTCTCTGAATCCACAAATCTGCCCATAGCGGCTGCCTGGAAGGCCTGTCGGATCCACGTCTGT GGTGACGACGGTTTCTTAATCACAGAATCGGAATTAGGGAGGAAGTTTGCTGAAAAAGGTGTTCCTCTGTTAGCT GCATTTGGCAAACCCCAAAAAATTACAGAGGGAGCGAGCCTAAAGGTAACCAGCAACTTTGACGGAATAGAGTTT TGTAGTCATACCCCTATCAGAGTCCAAACACCAAACATCAGGTGGATGCCAGCGAGACCAACAGCAACAATCCTA GGCAAAATGAGTACCAGGCTGGGTGAGGGTGCCACCAGGTCGGGAGAAGAATACGAAAAACAGGTGGCATTCGCA TATCTACTGATGTACCCCTGGAACCCGCTGGTCAGGAGAATCAGCCTCCTATTGTTATCGACTACTGACCCAATG GGGAAAGAGGAAACCCCATGCTCCGATGAGGGGGTGAAGTATGTTGGGGACCCTATCGCTGCATACAGGGATGTA TGGGGGCACAAATTAGAGGATGTAGGCCATGTTGATCAACCGCAGTTATCCCGGATGAACTATAGCATGACTTAC TTAGGGATTTGGAAACCAAAGACAAGTCAGCGGCTAGTCGAACAGTGTTGTCGTCTGGCCGAGAAAAGCAATTGT GTGGTACGTGCTGACTCCCTGATAAAGAAAAAGGTCAAGATCACTTATGACCCGGGGATAGGAGTGGCTCAGGTC ATTCGTAGGTGGGAAGAGCTTGAGTGGACCAGAAGGAAACCTGAACTCACCAATGTAATTGTAGAAGATGATATC TTCCTAGTCCTGTGGAAGAGATTTTCAAAGTACATTTTTCAGAAAATGAAGTTCATGCAGAGAATGTTCGCCCCT TATTAA (SEQ ID NO: 21)

NDWISENI SEPHRVQIMLDGTVRVTIKEGKVKHLFGVYRIENSLEAMFKETIADLPVATQPPQGPVYTAKELAQG NIAPVQPAANYYGMIEGRGDPMTAFEALSVLRSQKVLAKDVKVNTRRAQVFLNKVRRIAEVRASELTLKCLPILG KWGRKLIREETNIPNQRLASIMTSIGIRLEKLPWRANTSGSKFRQSILEKMDKYENEQVPGLHEKMWAAFLAT ARQDLRNTYEEVTYLELEAGINRKGAPGFFEKESSIGEVLEKKEKIDVTIQEIEKGNHLYYETAMPKNEKRDVLD DWLSEDFVTYKKPRVIQYPEAVTRLAITKIMYKWKQKPIVIPGYEGKTPI FEI FEKVSADWAQFKNPVAVSFDT PAWDTQVTREDLRLVGRIQKYYYKKKYWKFIDNLTAMMEEVPVITVEGDMFLRVGQRGSGQPDTSAGNSMLNVLT MLVAFSESTNLPIAAAWKACRIHVCGDDGFLITESELGRKFAEKGVPLLAAFGKPQKITEGASLKVTSNFDGIEF CSHTPIRVQTPNIRWMPARPTATILGKMSTRLGEGATRSGEEYEKQVAFAYLLMYPWNPLVRRISLLLLSTTDPM GREETPCSDEGVKYVGDPIAAYRDVWGHKLEDVGHVDQPQLSRMNYSMTYLGIWKPKTSQRLVEQCCRLAEKSNC WRADSLIKKKVKITYDPGIGVAQVIRRWEELEWTRRKPELTNVIVEDDIFLVLWKRFSKYIFQKMKFMQRMFAP

Y (SEQ ID NO:22)

In one embodiment, the pestivirus according to the invention is a pestivirus mutant, in particular comprising, in comparison with the genome of a wild type pestivirus, a mutation in a gene encoding a protein of said virus.

In a preferred embodiment, the pestivirus according to the invention comprises a mutation in the gene encoding Npro, capsid, Erns, El, E2, NS2-3, helicase, NS4B, NS5A, or RdRp proteins of said virus. Thus, the invention preferably concerns a pestivirus which exhibits a reduced viral fitness as a result of a mutation in the gene encoding the pestivirus polyprotein, wherein said mutation is preferably a mutation as mentioned hereinafter.

Preferably, the mutation, as described herein, comprises or consists of one or more point mutations and/or one or more genomic deletions and/or one or more insertions.

The immunogenic composition as used herein also refers to a composition that comprises any of the pestivirus polyprotein described herein. According to a further embodiment, such immunogenic composition further comprises at least a portion of a viral vector expressing said pestivirus polyprotein and specifically the E2 protein, preferably of a recombinant baculovirus. Moreover, the immunogenic composition can comprise i) any of the pestivirus proteins described above, preferably in concentrations described above, ii) at least a portion of the viral vector expressing said pestivirus polyprotein of processed proteins within the polyprotein, preferably of a recombinant baculovirus, and iii) a portion of the cell culture supernatant.

According to a further embodiment, the present invention also relates to a vector that comprises any of such nucleic acid molecules as described herein. In other words, the present invention relates to a vector, that includes the coding sequence of any such pestivirus polyprotein, or part thereof. Preferably, said vector is an expression vector, which allows the expression of any such pestivirus polyprotein or part of the protein. Vectors according to the invention are those which are suitable for the transfection or infection of bacterial, yeast or animal cells, in vitro or in vivo.

The present vaccines typically include inactivated or attenuated pestiviruses formulated with a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier. The pharmaceutical forms suitable for injectable use commonly include sterile aqueous solutions (where water soluble) or dispersions and sterile powders for the extemporaneous preparation of sterile injectable solutions or dispersion. The formulation should desirably be sterile and fluid to the extent that easy syringability exists. The dosage form should be stable under the conditions of manufacture and storage and typically is preserved against the contaminating action of microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi. The carrier can be a solvent or dispersion medium containing, for example, water, ethanol, polyol (for example, glycerol, propylene glycol, liquid polyethylene glycol, and the like), suitable mixtures thereof and vegetable oils. One possible carrier is a physiological salt solution. The proper fluidity of the solution can be maintained, for example, by the use of a

coating such as lecithin, by the maintenance of the required particle size in the case of dispersion and by the use of surfactants. The prevention of the action of microorganisms can be brought about by various antibacterial and antifungal agents, for example, parabenes, chlorobutanol, phenol, sorbic acid, thimerosal (sodium ethylmercuri-thiosalicylate), deomycin, gentamicin and the like. In many cases it may be preferable to include isotonic agents, for example, sugars or sodium chloride. Prolonged absorption of the injectable compositions, if desired, can be brought about by the use in the compositions of agents delaying absorption, for example, aluminum monostearate and gelatin.

The volume of a single dose of the vaccine of this invention may vary but will be generally within the ranges commonly employed in conventional vaccines. The volume of a single dose is preferably between about 0.1 ml and about 3 ml, preferably between about 0.2 ml and about 1.5 ml, more preferably between about 0.2 ml and about 0.5 ml at the concentrations of conjugate and adjuvant noted above.

The vaccine compositions of the invention may be administered by any convenient means known in the art, e.g., intramuscularly, subcutaneously, intravenously, orally, intraarterially, intranasally (e.g., with or without inhalation), intracardially, intraspinally, intrathoracically, intraperitoneally, intraventricularly, sublingually, transdermally, and/or via inhalation.

The subject to which the composition is administered is preferably an animal, including but not limited to pigs, cows, horses, sheep, poultry (e.g., chickens), goats, cats, dogs, hamsters, mice, and rats. Most preferably, the mammal is a swine, more preferably, a sow, gilt, or piglet. In some embodiments, the sow or gilt can be pregnant.

The formulations of the invention comprise an effective immunizing amount of one or more immunogenic compositions and a physiologically acceptable vehicle. Vaccines comprise an effective immunizing amount of one or more immunogenic compositions and a physiologically acceptable vehicle. The formulation should suit the mode of administration.

The immunogenic composition, if desired, can also contain minor amounts of wetting or emulsifying agents, or pH buffering agents. The immunogenic composition can be a liquid solution, suspension, emulsion, tablet, pill, capsule, sustained release formulation, or powder. Oral formulation can include standard carriers such as pharmaceutical grades of mannitol, lactose, starch, magnesium stearate, sodium saccharine, cellulose, magnesium carbonate, etc.

Preferred routes of administration include but are not limited to intranasal, oral, intradermal, and intramuscular. Administration intramuscularly or intravaginally, most preferably in a single dose, is desirable. The skilled artisan will recognize that compositions of the invention may also be administered in one, two or more doses, as well as, by other routes of administration. For example, such other routes include subcutaneously, intracutaneously, intravenously, intravascularly, intraarterially, intraperitnoeally, intrathecally, intratracheally, intracutaneously, intracardially, intralobally, intramedullarly, or intrapulmonarily. Depending on the desired duration and effectiveness of the treatment, the compositions according to the invention may be administered once or several times, also intermittently, for instance on a daily basis for several days, weeks or months and in different dosages.

Embodiments of the invention also include a method for protecting a piglet against diseases associated with pestivirus, comprising administering to a pregnant sow or gilt, any of the attenuated vaccines described herein. For example, the administered vaccine comprises one or more antigens of pestivirus.

Thus according to one aspect, the present invention relates to a method for reducing the percentage of pestivirus infections in a herd of piglets comprising the step administering to pregnant sows or gilts an effective amount of inactivated or attenuated pestivirus antigen or an immunogenic composition comprising pestivirus antigen, wherein the pestivirus antigen is an inactivated pestivirus, attenuated pestivirus, or subunit vaccine.

In one embodiment, the pestivirus of the invention is any pestivirus encoded by or comprising the sequence of SEQ ID NO: 1 or 2; which sequence is at least 99% identical with the SEQ ID NO: l or 2; and/or which the pestivirus is encoded by a nucleic acid sequence at least 90% identical with the SEQ ID NO: 1 or 2.

In another embodiment, the method includes administration of a vaccine comprising one or more immunogenic components selected from the group consisting of a pestivirus that is encoded by or comprises the sequence of SEQ ID NO: l ; which sequence is at least 99% identical with the SEQ ID NO:2; which the polyprotein is encoded by nucleic acid sequences of SEQ ID NO: l or 2; and/or which pestivirus polyprotein is encoded by a nucleic acid sequence that is at least 90% identical with the SEQ ID NO: 1 or 2.

The compounds described herein can be administered to a subject at therapeutically effective doses to treat pestivirus associated diseases. The dosage will depend upon the host receiving the vaccine as well as factors such as the size, weight, and age of the host.

Immunogenicity of a composition can be determined by monitoring the immune response of test subjects following immunization with the composition by use of any immunoassay known in the art. Generation of a humoral (antibody) response and/or cell-mediated immunity may be taken as an indication of an immune response. Test subjects may include animals such as pigs, mice, hamsters, dogs, cats, rabbits, cows, horses, sheep, and poultry (e.g., chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys).

The immune response of the test subjects can be analyzed by various approaches such as: the reactivity of the resultant immune serum to the immunogenic conjugate, as assayed by known techniques, e.g., enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), immunoblots, immunoprecipitations, etc.; or, by protection of immunized hosts from infection by the pathogen and/or attenuation of symptoms due to infection by the pathogen in immunized hosts as determined by any method known in the art, for assaying the levels of an infectious disease agent, e.g., the bacterial levels (for example, by culturing of a sample from the subject), or other technique known in the art. The levels of the infectious disease agent may also be determined by measuring the levels of the antigen against which the immunoglobulin was directed. A decrease in the levels of the infectious disease agent or an amelioration of the symptoms of the infectious disease indicates that the composition is effective.

The therapeutics of the invention can be tested in vitro for the desired therapeutic or prophylactic activity, prior to in vivo use in animals or humans. For example, in vitro assays that may be used to determine whether administration of a specific therapeutic is indicated include in vitro cell culture assays in which appropriate cells from a cell line or cells cultured from a subj ect having a particular disease or disorder are exposed to or otherwise administered a therapeutic, and the effect of the therapeutic on the cells is observed.

Alternatively, the therapeutic may be assayed by contacting the therapeutic to cells (either cultured from a subject or from a cultured cell line) that are susceptible to infection by the infectious disease agent but that are not infected with the infectious disease agent, exposing the cells to the infectious disease agent, and then determining whether the infection rate of cells contacted with the therapeutic was lower than the infection rate of cells not contacted with the therapeutic. Infection of cells with an infectious disease agent may be assayed by any method known in the art.

In addition, the therapeutic can be assessed by measuring the level of the molecule against which the antibody is directed in the animal model or human subject at suitable time intervals before, during, or after therapy. Any change or absence of change in the amount of the molecule can be identified and correlated with the effect of the treatment on the subject. The level of the molecule can be determined by any method known in the art.

After vaccination of an animal to a pestivirus vaccine or immunogenic composition using the methods and compositions of the present invention, any binding assay known in the art can be used to assess the binding between the resulting antibody and the particular molecule. These assays may also be performed to select antibodies that exhibit a higher affinity or specificity for the particular antigen.

In general, attenuation of virus may be generated from pathogenic virus isolates by repeated passaging in suitable host cells that are permissive to the virus until the virus shows the desired properties (WO 92/21375, WO 93/06211, WO93/03760, WO 93/07898, WO 96/36356, EP 0 676 467, EP 0 732 340, EP 0 835 930). Alternatively, it may be generated by genetic reengineering through use of an infectious clone, normally a full-length complementary DNA transcript of the viral genome (WO 98/18933, EP 1 018 557, WO 03/062407, Nielsen et al, J Virol 2003, 77:3702-3711). Additionally, the virus may be passaged under non-native physiological conditions which include, but are not limited to, modified temperature, cells from non-host species or in the presence of mutagens.

The invention extends to pestivirus strains which are derived from the strains through propagation or multiplication in an identical or divergent form, in particular descendants which possess the essential characteristics of the deposited strains. Upon continued propagation, the strains may acquire mutations most of which will not alter the properties of these strains significantly.

In another aspect, the present invention contemplates preparation and isolation of a progeny or descendant of a pestivirus SEQ ID NO: l or 2. The invention therefore extends to pestivirus strains which are derived from the identified strains through propagation or multiplication in an identical or divergent form, in particular descendants which possess the essential

characteristics of the identified strains. Upon continued propagation, the strains may acquire mutations most of which will not alter the properties of these strains significantly.

The isolates of the invention may also be further modified to impart further desirable properties to them. This may be achieved by classical propagation and selection techniques, like continued propagation in suitable host cells to extend the attenuated phenotype. Alternatively, the isolates may be genetically modified by directed mutation of the nucleic acid sequence of the genome of these strains by suitable genetic engineering techniques.

Recombinant techniques for preparing modified sequences are well known to those of skill in the art and usually employ construction of a full-length complementary DNA copies (infectious clones) of the viral genome which may then be modified by DNA recombination and manipulation methods (e.g., like site-directed mutagenesis, etc.). This way, for example, antigenic sites or enzymatic properties of viral proteins may be modified.

Preferably, the invention embraces pestivirus nucleic acid sequences that share at least 95% sequence homology with the sequence of SEQ ID NO: 1 or SEQ ID NO:2 as such viruses may likely be effective at conferring immunity upon animals vaccinated with attenuated viruses containing such homologous sequences. The sequence shown in SEQ ID NO: 1 or 2 is the full length sequence of the attenuated pestivirus and has a full length sequence of approximately 11 ,550 bases.

The pestivirus strains of the present invention are suitable for vaccines of the invention can be grown and harvested by methods known in the art, e.g., by propagating in suitable host cells.

In particular, the vaccine, as mentioned herein, is a live vaccine and/or a modified live vaccine-attenuated vaccine. The strains of the pestivirus according to the invention can be grown and harvested by methods known in the art, e.g., by propagating in suitable cells. Modified live vaccines (MLV) are typically formulated to allow administration of 101 to 107 viral particles per dose, preferably 103 to 106 particles per dose, and more preferably 104 to 106 particles per dose (4.0-6.0 logio TCID50).

An embodiment of the invention includes a method of producing a pestivirus vaccine comprising: (a) inoculating cells with the pestivirus; (b) incubating the inoculated cells; (c) harvesting pestivirus from the incubated cells. In a preferred embodiment, the method comprises a pestivirus comprising a sequence that is encoded by or comprises the sequence of SEQ ID NO: l or 2; a sequence that is at least 99% identical with the SEQ ID NO: l or 2; a protein that is encoded by nucleic acid sequences of SEQ ID NO: l ; and/or a polyprotein that is encoded by a nucleic acid sequence that is at least 90% identical with the SEQ ID NO:2. The method can further comprise adding an adjuvant to the pestivirus vaccine, preferably, the adjuvant is an EMULSIGEN® oil-in-water emulsion-based adjuvant.

Another embodiment of the invention includes a method of producing a recombinant vaccine comprising: expressing the one or more antigens of pestivirus in a host cell; and harvesting the one or more antigens of pestivirus cells. In one such embodiment the method can include one or more antigens comprising an isolated nucleic acid encoding an antigen of pestivirus protein, wherein the recombinant pestivirus polypeptide has at least 90% homology with SEQ ID NO: 1 or 2; a vector comprising the isolated nucleic acid of a); the recombinant pestivirus protein encoded by the nucleic acid of a); and any combination thereof. In one exemplary embodiment, one or more antigens of pestivirus are expressed by a recombinant baculovirus vector. The method can include one or more antigens of pestivirus expressed in insect cells. One embodiment further comprises the addition of an adjuvant to the pestivirus vaccine, preferably wherein the adjuvant is an EMULSIGEN® oil-in-water emulsion-based adjuvant.

Antibodies, or binding portions thereof, resulting from the use of pestivirus peptides of the present invention are useful for detecting in a sample the presence of pestivirus. This detection method comprises the steps of providing an isolated antibody or binding portion thereof raised against an pestivirus peptide of the invention, adding to the isolated antibody or binding portion thereof a sample suspected of containing a quantity of pestivirus and detecting the presence of a complex comprising the isolated antibody or binding portion thereof bound to pestivirus.

The antibodies or binding portions thereof of the present invention are also useful for detecting in a sample the presence of a pestivirus peptide. This detection method comprises the steps of providing an isolated antibody or binding portion thereof raised against a pestivirus peptide, adding to the isolated antibody or binding portion thereof a sample suspected of containing a quantity of the pestivirus peptide, and detecting the presence of a complex comprising the isolated antibody or binding portion thereof bound to the pestivirus peptide.

Immunoglobulins, particularly antibodies, (and functionally active fragments thereof) that bind a specific molecule that is a member of a binding pair may be used as diagnostics and prognostics, as described herein. In various embodiments, the present invention provides the measurement of a member of the binding pair, and the uses of such measurements in clinical applications. The immunoglobulins in the present invention may be used, for example, in the detection of an antigen in a biological sample whereby subjects may be tested for aberrant levels of the molecule to which the immunoglobulin binds, and/or for the presence of abnormal forms of such molecules. By "aberrant levels" is meant increased or decreased relative to that present, or a standard level representing that present, in an analogous sample from a portion of the body or from a subject not having the disease. The antibodies of this invention may also be included as a reagent in a kit for use in a diagnostic or prognostic technique.

In one aspect, an antibody of the invention that immunospecifically binds to a pestivirus peptide may be used to diagnose, prognose or screen for a pestivirus infection.

In another aspect, the invention provides a method of diagnosing or screening for the presence of a pestivirus infection or immunity thereto, comprising measuring in a subject the level of immunospecific binding of an antibody to a sample derived from the subject, in which the antibody immunospecifically binds a pestivirus peptide in which an increase in the level of said immunospecific binding, relative to the level of said immunospecific binding in an analogous sample from a subject not having the infectious disease agent, indicates the presence of pestivirus.

Examples of suitable assays to detect the presence of pestivirus peptides or antagonists thereof include but are not limited to ELISA, radioimmunoassay, gel-diffusion precipitation reaction assay, immunodiffusion assay, agglutination assay, fluorescent immunoassay, protein A immunoassay, or Immunoelectrophoresis assay.

Immunoassays for the particular molecule will typically comprise incubating a sample, such as a biological fluid, a tissue extract, freshly harvested cells, or lysates of cultured cells, in the presence of a detectably labeled antibody and detecting the bound antibody by any of a number of techniques well-known in the art.

The binding activity of a given antibody may be determined according to well-known methods. Those skilled in the art will be able to determine operative and optimal assay conditions for each determination by employing routine experimentation.

An additional aspect of the present invention relates to diagnostic kits for the detection or measurement of pestivirus. Kits for diagnostic use are provided, that comprise in one or more containers an anti-pestivirus peptide antibody, and, optionally, a labeled binding partner to the antibody. Alternatively, the anti-pestivirus peptide antibody can be labeled (with a detectable marker, e.g., a chemiluminescent, enzymatic, fluorescent, or radioactive moiety). Accordingly, the present invention provides a diagnostic kit comprising, an anti-pestivirus peptide antibody and a control immunoglobulin. In a specific embodiment, one of the foregoing compounds of the container can be detectably labeled. A kit can optionally further comprise in a container a predetermined amount of a pestivirus peptide recognized by the antibody of the kit, for use as a standard or control.

Yet another embodiment of the invention includes a kit for vaccinating a pregnant sow or gilt against diseases associated with pestivirus comprising: a dispenser capable of administering a vaccine to a pregnant sow or gilt; and a pestivirus vaccine as described herein.

The compositions may, if desired, be presented in a pack or dispenser device which may contain one or more unit dosage forms containing the active ingredient. The pack may for example comprise metal or plastic foil, such as a blister pack. The pack or dispenser device may be accompanied by instructions for administration preferably for administration to a mammal, especially a pig. Associated with such container(s) can be a notice in the form prescribed by a governmental agency regulating the manufacture, use or sale of pharmaceuticals or biological products, which notice reflects approval by the agency of manufacture, use or sale for human administration.

Unless defined otherwise, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as is commonly understood by one of skill in the art to which this invention belongs at the time of filing. The meaning and scope of terms should be clear; however, in the event of any latent ambiguity, definitions provided herein take precedent over any dictionary or extrinsic definition. Further, unless otherwise required by context, singular terms shall include pluralities and plural terms shall include the singular. Herein, the use of "or" means "and/or" unless stated otherwise. Furthermore, the use of the term "including", as well as other forms such as "includes" and "included" is not limiting. All patents and publications referred to herein are incorporated by reference herein.

The practice of the present invention will employ, unless otherwise indicated, conventional techniques of molecular biology, microbiology, recombinant DNA technology, protein chemistry and immunology, which are within the skill of the art. Such techniques are explained fully in the literature. See, e.g., Sambrook, Fritsch & Maniatis, Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, Vols. I, II and III, Second Edition (1989); DNA Cloning, Vols. I and II (D. N. Glover ed. 1985); Oligonucleotide Synthesis (M. J. Gait ed. 1984); Nucleic Acid Hybridization (B. D. Hames & S. J. Higgins eds. 1984); Animal Cell Culture (R. K. Freshney ed. 1986); Immobilized Cells and Enzymes (IRL press, 1986); Perbal, B., A Practical Guide to Molecular Cloning (1984); the series, Methods In Enzymology (S. Colowick and N. Kaplan eds., Academic Press, Inc.); Protein purification methods - a practical approach (E.L.V. Harris and S. Angal, eds., IRL Press at Oxford University Press); and Handbook of Experimental Immunology, Vols. I-IV (D. M. Weir and C. C. Blackwell eds., 1986, Blackwell Scientific Publications).

It is to be understood that this invention is not limited to particular DNA, polypeptide sequences or process parameters as such may, of course, vary. It is also to be understood that the terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular embodiments of the invention only, and is not intended to be limiting. It must be noted that, as used in this specification and the appended claims, the singular forms "a", "an", and "the" include plural referents unless the content clearly dictates otherwise. Thus, for example, reference to "an antigen" includes a mixture of two or more antigens, reference to "an excipient" includes mixtures of two or more excipients, and the like.

An "immunogenic or immunological composition or vaccine", all used interchangeably in this application, refers to a composition of matter that comprises at least one pestivirus of the present invention, or immunogenic portion thereof, that elicits an immunological response in the host of a cellular or antibody-mediated immune response to the composition. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, an immunogenic composition induces an immune response and, more preferably, confers protective immunity against one or more of the clinical signs of a CT infection.

An "immunogenic" or "antigen" as used herein refer to a polypeptide or protein that elicits an immunological response as described herein. This includes cellular and/or humoral immune responses. Depending on the intended function of the composition, one or more antigens may be included be included. An "immunogenic" pestivirus protein or polypeptide includes the full-length sequence of any of the pestiviruses identified herein or analogs or immunogenic fragments thereof. The term "immunogenic fragment" or "immunogenic portion", used interchangeably in the application, refers to a fragment or truncated and/or substituted form of a pestivirus that includes one or more epitopes and thus elicits the immunological response described herein. In general, such truncated and/or substituted forms, or fragments will comprise at least six contiguous amino acids from the full-length pestivirus protein. More preferably, the truncated or substituted forms, or fragments will have at least 10, more preferably at least 15, and still more preferably at least 19 contiguous amino acids from the full-length pestivirus protein. Such fragments can be identified using any number of epitope mapping techniques, well known in the art. See, e.g., Epitope Mapping Protocols in Methods in Molecular Biology, Vol. 66 (Glenn E. Morris, Ed., 1996) Humana Press, Totowa, New Jersey. For example, linear epitopes may be determined by concurrently synthesizing large numbers of peptides on solid supports, the peptides corresponding to portions of the protein molecule, and reacting the peptides with antibodies while the peptides are still attached to the supports. Such techniques are known and described in the art, see e.g., U.S. Patent No. 4,708,871 ; Geysen et al. (1984) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 81 :3998-4002; and Geysen et al. (1986) Molec. Immunol. 23:709-715. Similarly, conformational epitopes are readily identified by determining spatial conformation of amino acids such as by, e.g., x-ray crystallography and two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance. See Epitope Mapping Protocols, supra. Synthetic antigens are also included within the definition, for example, poly epitopes, flanking epitopes, and other recombinant or synthetically derived antigens. See, e.g., Bergmann et al. (1993) Eur. J. Immunol. 23:2777-2781 ; Bergmann et al. (1996), J. Immunol. 157:3242-3249; Suhrbier, A. (1997), Immunol, and Cell Biol. 75:402-408; and Gardner et al, (1998) 12th World AIDS Conference, Geneva, Switzerland, June 28-July 3, 1998. (The teachings and content of which are all incorporated by reference herein.)

The term "vaccine" as used herein refers to a pharmaceutical composition comprising at least one immunologically active component that induces an immunological response in an animal and possibly but not necessarily one or more additional components that enhance the immunological activity of the active component. A vaccine may additionally comprise further components typical to pharmaceutical compositions. By way of distinction the immunologically active component of a vaccine may comprise complete virus particles in either their original form or as attenuated particles in a so called modified live vaccine (MLV) or particles inactivated by appropriate methods in a so called killed vaccine (KV). In another form the immunologically active component of a vaccine may comprise appropriate elements of the organisms (subunit vaccines) whereby these elements are generated either by destroying the whole particle or the growth cultures containing such particles and optionally subsequent purification steps yielding the desired structure(s), or by synthetic processes including an appropriate manipulation by use of a suitable system based on, for example, bacteria, insects, mammalian, or other species plus optionally subsequent isolation and purification procedures, or by induction of the synthetic processes in the animal needing a vaccine by direct incorporation of genetic material using suitable pharmaceutical compositions (polynucleotide vaccination). A vaccine may comprise one or simultaneously more than one of the elements described above. The term "vaccine" as understood herein is a modified live, attenuated vaccine for veterinary use comprising antigenic substances and is administered for the purpose of inducing a specific and active immunity against a disease provoked by a pestivirus infection, The inactivated or attenuated pestivirus, in particular the inactivated or modified live, attenuated pestivirus as described herein, confer active immunity that may be transferred passively via maternal antibodies against the immunogens it contains and sometimes also against antigenically related organisms.

As used herein, the terms "inactivated" or "killed" are used synonymously. Various physical and chemical methods of inactivation are known in the art. The term "inactivated" refers to a previously virulent or non-virulent virus or bacterium that has been irradiated (ultraviolet (UV), X-ray, electron beam or gamma radiation), heated, or chemically treated to inactivate, kill, while retaining its immunogenicity. In one embodiment, the inactivated virus disclosed herein is inactivated by treatment with an inactivating agent. Suitable inactivating agents include beta-propiolactone, binary or beta- or acetyl-ethyleneimine, glutaraldehyde, ozone, and formalin (formaldehyde).

For inactivation by formalin or formaldehyde, formaldehyde is typically mixed with water and methyl alcohol to create formalin. The addition of methyl alcohol prevents degradation or cross reaction during the in activation process. One embodiment uses about 0.1 to 1% of a 37% solution of formaldehyde to inactivate the virus or bacterium. It is critical to adjust the amount of formalin to ensure that the material is inactivated but not so much that side effects from a high dosage occur.

A more preferred inactivation method is the use of ethylenimine and related derivatives, such as binary ethylenimine (BEI) and acetylethylenimine, are examples of suitable chemical inactivating agents for use in inactivating the pestivirus virus. Other chemical inactivating agents, e.g., beta-propiolactone, aldehydes (such as formaldehyde), and/or detergents (e.g., TWEEN® detergent, TRITON® X, or alkyl trimethylammonium salts) can also be used to

inactivate the virus. The inactivation can be performed using standard methods known to those of skill in the art. Samples can be taken at periodic time intervals and assayed for residual live virus. Monitoring of cytopathic effect on an appropriate cell line and/or fluorescent staining with an appropriate specific monoclonal or polyclonal antibody can be used to detect the presence of residual live virus. Alternatively, growth monitored by quantitative real-time PCR in serial passage can be utilized to determine presence of residual infectious virus.

Inactivation with BEI can be accomplished by combining a stock BEI solution (e.g., a solution formed by adding 0.1-0.2 M 2-bromo-ethylamine hydrobromide to 0.1-0.2 N aqueous NaOH) with viral fluids to a final concentration of about 1-5 mM BEI. Inactivation is commonly performed by holding the BEI-virus mixture at 35-40°C. (e.g., 37°C) with constant mixing for about 24-72 hours. Virus inactivation can be halted by the addition of sodium thiosulfate solution to a final concentration in excess of the BEI concentration (e.g., addition of sodium thiosulfate at 17% of the volume of BEI to neutralize excess BEI) followed by mixing.

More particularly, the term "inactivated" in the context of a virus means that the virus is incapable of replication in vivo or in vitro and, respectively, the term "inactivated" in the context of a virus means that the virus is incapable of reproduction in vivo or in vitro. For example, the term "inactivated" may refer to a virus that has been propagated in vitro, e.g., in vitro, and has then deactivated using chemical or physical means so that it is no longer capable of replicating. In another example, the term "inactivated" may refer to a virus that has been propagated, and then deactivated using chemical or physical means resulting in a suspension of the virus, fragments or components of the virus, such as resulting in a solution which may be used as a component of a vaccine.

The term "live vaccine" refers to a vaccine comprising a living, in particular, a living viral active component.

A "subunit vaccine" can include antigens that best stimulate the immune system. In some cases, these vaccines use the Npro, capsid, Ems, El, E2, NS2-3, helicase, NS4B, NS5A, and/or RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) proteins of the pestivirus or epitopes from those proteins. Because subunit vaccines contain only the essential antigens and not all the other molecules that make up the pestivirus, the chances of adverse reactions to the vaccine are lower.

Subunit vaccines can contain anywhere from one to 10 or more antigens, e.g., 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 antigens. Skilled practitioners will appreciate how to make subunit vaccines. For

example, the antigen molecules can be expressed using recombinant DNA technology. Vaccines produced this way are called "recombinant subunit vaccines. "

A "pharmaceutical composition" essentially consists of one or more ingredients capable of modifying physiological, e.g., immunological functions, of the organism it is administered to, or of organisms living in or on the organism. The term includes, but is not restricted to, antibiotics or antiparasitics, as well as other constituents commonly used to achieve certain other objectives such as, but not limited to, processing traits, sterility, stability, feasibility to administer the composition via enteral or parenteral routes such as oral, intranasal, intravenous, intramuscular, subcutaneous, intradermal, or other suitable route, tolerance after administration, or controlled release properties. One non-limiting example of such a pharmaceutical composition, solely given for demonstration purposes, could be prepared as follows: cell culture supernatant of an infected cell culture is mixed with a stabilizer (e.g., spermidine and/or bovine serum albumin (BSA)) and the mixture is subsequently lyophilized or dehydrated by other methods. Prior to vaccination, the mixture is then rehydrated in aqueous (e.g., saline, phosphate buffered saline (PBS)) or non-aqueous solutions (e.g., oil emulsion, aluminum-based adjuvant).

As used herein, "pharmaceutical- or veterinary-acceptable carrier" includes any and all solvents, dispersion media, coatings, adjuvants, stabilizing agents, diluents, preservatives, antibacterial and antifungal agents, isotonic agents, adsorption delaying agents, and the like. In some preferred embodiments, and especially those that include lyophilized immunogenic compositions, stabilizing agents for use in the present invention include stabilizers for lyophilization or freeze-drying.

In some embodiments, the immunogenic composition of the present invention contains an adjuvant. "Adjuvants" as used herein, can include aluminum hydroxide and aluminum phosphate, saponins e.g., Quil A, QS-21 (Cambridge Biotech Inc., Cambridge MA), GPI-0100 (Galenica Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Birmingham, AL), water-in-oil emulsion, oil-in-water emulsion, water-in-oil-in-water emulsion. The emulsion can be based in particular on light liquid paraffin oil (European Pharmacopea type); isoprenoid oil such as squalane or squalene; oil resulting from the oligomerization of alkenes, in particular of isobutene or decene; esters of acids or of alcohols containing a linear alkyl group, more particularly plant oils, ethyl oleate, propylene glycol di-(caprylate/caprate), glyceryl tri-(caprylate/caprate) or propylene glycol di oleate; esters of branched fatty acids or alcohols, in particular isostearic acid esters. The oil is used in combination with emulsifiers to form the emulsion. The emulsifiers are preferably nonionic surfactants, in particular esters of sorbitan, of mannide (e.g., anhydromannitol oleate), of glycol, of polyglycerol, of propylene glycol and of oleic, isostearic, ricinoleic or hydroxystearic acid, which are optionally ethoxylated, and polyoxypropylene-polyoxyethylene copolymer blocks, in particular the Pluronic products, especially L121. See Hunter et al., The Theory and Practical Application of Adjuvants (Ed. Stewart-Tull, D. E. S.), JohnWiley and Sons, NY, pp. 51-94 (1995) and Todd et al, Vaccine 15:564-570 (1997). Exemplary adjuvants are the SPT emulsion described on page 147 of "Vaccine Design, The Subunit and Adjuvant Approach" edited by M. Powell and M. Newman, Plenum Press, 1995, and the emulsion MF59 described on page 183 of this same book.

A further instance of an adjuvant is a compound chosen from the polymers of acrylic or methacrylic acid and the copolymers of maleic anhydride and alkenyl derivative. Advantageous adjuvant compounds are the polymers of acrylic or methacrylic acid which are cross-linked, especially with polyalkenyl ethers of sugars or polyalcohols. These compounds are known by the term carbomer (Phameuropa Vol. 8, No. 2, June 1996). Persons skilled in the art can also refer to U.S. Patent No. 2,909,462 which describes such acrylic polymers cross-linked with a polyhydroxylated compound having at least 3 hydroxyl groups, preferably not more than 8, the hydrogen atoms of at least three hydroxyls being replaced by unsaturated aliphatic radicals having at least 2 carbon atoms. The preferred radicals are those containing from 2 to 4 carbon atoms, e.g., vinyls, allyls and other ethylenically unsaturated groups. The unsaturated radicals may themselves contain other substituents, such as methyl. The products sold under the name Carbopol; (BF Goodrich, Ohio, USA) are particularly appropriate. They are cross-linked with an allyl sucrose or with allyl pentaerythritol. Among then, there may be mentioned Carbopol 974P, 934P and 971P. Most preferred is the use of Carbopol 971P. Among the copolymers of maleic anhydride and alkenyl derivative, are the copolymers EMA (Monsanto), which are copolymers of maleic anhydride and ethylene. The dissolution of these polymers in water leads to an acid solution that will be neutralized, preferably to physiological pH, in order to give the adjuvant solution into which the immunogenic, immunological or vaccine composition itself will be incorporated.

Further suitable adjuvants include, but are not limited to, the RIBI adjuvant system (Ribi Inc.), Block co-polymer (CytRx, Atlanta GA), SAF-M (Chiron, Emeryville CA), monophosphoryl lipid A, Avridine lipid-amine adjuvant, heat-labile enterotoxin from E. coli (recombinant or otherwise), cholera toxin, IMS 1314 or muramyl dipeptide, or naturally occurring or recombinant cytokines or analogs thereof or stimulants of endogenous cytokine release, among many others.

It is expected that an adjuvant can be added in an amount of about 100 μg to about 10 mg per dose, preferably in an amount of about 100 μg to about 10 mg per dose, more preferably in an amount of about 500 μg to about 5 mg per dose, even more preferably in an amount of about 750 μg to about 2.5 mg per dose, and most preferably in an amount of about 1 mg per dose. Alternatively, the adjuvant may be at a concentration of about 0.01 to 50%, preferably at a concentration of about 2% to 30%, more preferably at a concentration of about 5% to 25%, still more preferably at a concentration of about 7% to 22%, and most preferably at a concentration of 10% to 20% by volume of the final product.

"Diluents" can include water, saline, dextrose, ethanol, glycerol, and the like. Isotonic agents can include sodium chloride, dextrose, mannitol, sorbitol, and lactose, among others. Stabilizers include albumin and alkali salts of ethylendiamintetracetic acid (EDTA), among others.

"Isolated" means altered "by the hand of man" from its natural state, i.e., if it occurs in nature, it has been changed or removed from its original environment, or both. For example, a polynucleotide or polypeptide naturally present in a living organism is not "isolated," but the same polynucleotide or polypeptide separated from the coexisting materials of its natural state is "isolated", as the term is employed herein.

"Attenuation" means reducing the virulence of a pathogen. In the present invention, an attenuated virus is one in which the virulence has been reduced so that it does not cause clinical signs of a pestivirus infection but is capable of inducing an immune response in the target mammal, but may also mean that the clinical signs are reduced in incidence or severity in animals infected with the inactivated or attenuated pestivirus in comparison with a "control group" of animals infected with non-attenuated, wild type pestivirus and not receiving the inactivated or attenuated virus. In this context, the term "reduce/reduced" means a reduction of at least 10%, preferably 25%, even more preferably 50%, still more preferably 60%, even more preferably 70%, still more preferably 80%, even more preferably 90% and most preferably of 100% as compared to the control group as defined above. Thus, an inactivated,

attenuated and/or avirulent pestivirus isolate is one that suitable for incorporation into an immunogenic composition comprising an inactivated or modified live pestivirus.

An "attenuated virus" is a viable ("live") virus, in which the virulence of the infectious agent has been reduced, e.g., though passaging the virus in a specific cell line, or through genetic manipulation of the viral genome. The attenuation of the virus pertains to its virulence (pathogenicity), but does not necessarily affect the replicative capability of a virus. An attenuated virus can still be capable of replication. Thus, it may be a strain of a virus whose pathogenicity has been reduced so that it will initiate the immune response without causing the specific disease. In the context of the present invention, an attenuated virus may be a pestivirus whose pathogenicity has been abrogated or reduced by inactivating at least one gene or protein involved in virulence. In the present invention "attenuation" is synonymous with "avirulent". In this context, the term "reduce/reduced" means a reduction in pathogenicity of at least 10%, preferably 25%, even more preferably 50%, still more preferably 60%, even more preferably 70%, still more preferably 80%, even more preferably 90% and most preferably of 100% as compared to a control group.

"Modified live" means the virus has been reduced in virulence by any of several methods known in the art such, including but not limited to repeated passage in cell culture; forced adaptation to growth at normally-restrictive temperatures; treatment with chemical mutagens to force high numbers of mutations and selection for the desired characteristics; and deletion or insertion of genes using rDNA technology. By the term "non- virulent" or "avirulent" is meant the modified live virus exhibits reduced or no clinical signs of infection when administered.

"Virulent" refers to the ability of a pestivirus isolate to cause disease associated with pestivirus. Virulence can be evaluated by observing disease progression in the animal. An example of a "virulent" strain of pestivirus is that exemplified by the challenge strain, as described and used in the present invention.

"Avirulent" refers to isolates of pestivirus that are lacking in virulence. That is, avirulent strains, isolates, or constructs are non-pathogenic and are incapable of causing disease. As used herein the term "avirulent" is used synonymously with the term "non-virulent."

As used herein the terms "strain" or "isolate" are used interchangeably.

The term "wild type pestivirus", as used herein, is in particular directed to an infectious pathogenic pestivirus, which is particularly capable of causing CT in swine and especially piglets. In one particular preferred embodiment, the term "wild type virus" is directed to a pestivirus whose genome comprises a RNA sequence or consists of a RNA polynucleotide, wherein said RNA sequence or RNA polynucleotide is a RNA copy of a polynucleotide comprising SEQ ID NO: l , 3, 5, 7, 9, 1 1, 13, 15, 17, 19, or 21. In some embodiments, a wild type pestivirus comprises an amino acid sequence comprising SEQ ID NO: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, or 22.

Herein, "effective dose" means, but is not limited to, an amount of antigen that elicits, or is able to elicit, an immune response that yields a reduction of clinical symptoms in an animal to which the antigen is administered.

As used herein, the term "effective amount" means, in the context of a composition, an amount of an immunogenic composition capable of inducing an immune response that reduces the incidence of or lessens the severity of infection or incident of disease in an animal. Particularly, an effective amount refers to a titer measured in tissue culture infectious dose 50 or plaque forming units per dose. Alternatively, in the context of a therapy, the term "effective amount" refers to the amount of a therapy which is sufficient to reduce or ameliorate the severity or duration of a disease or disorder, or one or more symptoms thereof, prevent the advancement of a disease or disorder, cause the regression of a disease or disorder, prevent the recurrence, development, onset, or progression of one or more symptoms associated with a disease or disorder, or enhance or improve the prophylaxis or treatment of another therapy or therapeutic agent.

The term "immunoreactive to pestivirus" as used herein means that the peptide or fragment elicits the immunological response against pestivirus.

The terms "sequence identity" or "percent identity" are used interchangeably herein. For the purpose of this invention, it is defined here that in order to determine the percent identity of two amino acid sequences or two nucleic acid sequences, the sequences are aligned for optimal comparison purposes (e.g., gaps can be introduced in the sequence of a first amino acid or nucleic acid for optimal alignment with a second amino or nucleic acid sequence). The amino acid or nucleotide residues at corresponding amino acid or nucleotide positions are then compared. When a position in the first sequence is occupied by the same amino acid or

nucleotide residue as the corresponding position in the second sequence, then the molecules are identical at that position. The percent identity between the two sequences is a function of the number of identical positions shared by the sequences (i.e., % identity=number of identical positions/total number of positions (i.e., overlapping positions) x 100). Preferably, the two sequences are the same length.

"Sequence homology", as used herein, refers to a method of determining the relatedness of two sequences. To determine sequence homology, two or more sequences are optimally aligned, and gaps are introduced if necessary. However, in contrast to "sequence identity", conservative amino acid substitutions are counted as a match when determining sequence homology. In other words, to obtain a polypeptide or polynucleotide having 95% sequence homology with a reference sequence, 85%, preferably 90%, even more preferably 95% of the amino acid residues or nucleotides in the reference sequence must match or comprise a conservative substitution with another amino acid or nucleotide, or a number of amino acids or nucleotides up to 15%, preferably up to 10%, even more preferably up to 5% of the total amino acid residues or nucleotides, not including conservative substitutions, in the reference sequence may be inserted into the reference sequence. Preferably the homolog sequence comprises at least a stretch of 50, even more preferred of 100, even more preferred of 250, even more preferred of 500 nucleotides.

A "conservative substitution" refers to the substitution of an amino acid residue with another amino acid residue having similar characteristics or properties including size, hydrophobicity, etc., such that the overall functionality does not change significantly.

The skilled person will be aware of the fact that several different computer programs are available to determine the homology between two sequences. For instance, a comparison of sequences and determination of percent identity between two sequences can be accomplished using a mathematical algorithm. In a preferred embodiment, the percent identity between two amino acid or nucleic acid sequences is determined using the Needleman and Wunsch (J. Mol. Biol. (48): 444-453 (1970)) algorithm which has been incorporated into the GAP program in the Accelrys GCG software package (available at www.accelrys.com/products/gcg), using either a Blosum 62 matrix or a PAM250 matrix, and a gap weight of 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, or 4 and a length weight of 1 , 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6. The skilled person will appreciate that all these different parameters will yield slightly different results but that the overall percentage identity of two sequences is not significantly altered when using different algorithms.

A sequence comparison may be carried out over the entire lengths of the two sequences being compared or over fragment of the two sequences. Typically, the comparison will be carried out over the full length of the two sequences being compared. However, sequence identity may be carried out over a region of, for example, twenty, fifty, one hundred or more contiguous amino acid residues.

"Sequence Identity" as it is known in the art refers to a relationship between two or more polypeptide sequences or two or more polynucleotide sequences, namely a reference sequence and a given sequence to be compared with the reference sequence. Sequence identity is determined by comparing the given sequence to the reference sequence after the sequences have been optimally aligned to produce the highest degree of sequence similarity, as determined by the match between strings of such sequences. Upon such alignment, sequence identity is ascertained on a position-by-position basis, e.g., the sequences are "identical" at a particular position if at that position, the nucleotides or amino acid residues are identical. The total number of such position identities is then divided by the total number of nucleotides or residues in the reference sequence to give % sequence identity. Sequence identity can be readily calculated by known methods, including but not limited to, those described in Computational Molecular Biology, Lesk, A. N., ed., Oxford University Press, New York (1988), Biocomputing: Informatics and Genome Projects, Smith, D.W., ed., Academic Press, New York (1993); Computer Analysis of Sequence Data, Part I, Griffin, A.M., and Griffin, H. G, eds., Humana Press, New Jersey (1994); Sequence Analysis in Molecular Biology, von Heinge, G, Academic Press (1987); Sequence Analysis Primer, Gribskov, M. and Devereux, I, eds., M. Stockton Press, New York (1991); and Carillo, H., and Lipman, D., SIAM J. Applied Math., 48: 1073 (1988), the teachings of which are incorporated herein by reference. Preferred methods to determine the sequence identity are designed to give the largest match between the sequences tested. Methods to determine sequence identity are codified in publicly available computer programs which determine sequence identity between given sequences. Examples of such programs include, but are not limited to, the GCG program package (Devereux, I, et al, Nucleic Acids Research, 12(1): 387 (1984)), BLASTP, BLASTN and FASTA (Altschul, S. F. et al., J. Molec. Biol, 215:403-410 (1990). The BLASTX program is publicly available from NCBI and other sources (BLAST Manual, Altschul, S. et al, NCVI NLM NIH Bethesda, MD 20894, Altschul, S. F. et al, J. Molec. Biol, 215:403-410 (1990), the teachings of which are incorporated herein by reference). These programs optimally align sequences using default gap weights in order to produce the highest level of sequence identity between the given and reference sequences. As an illustration, by a polynucleotide having a nucleotide sequence having at least, for example, 95%, e.g., at least 96%, 97%, 98%, 99%, or 100% "sequence identity" to a reference nucleotide sequence, it is intended that the nucleotide sequence of the given polynucleotide is identical to the reference sequence except that the given polynucleotide sequence may include up to 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, or 0 point mutations per each 100 nucleotides of the reference nucleotide sequence. In other words, in a polynucleotide having a nucleotide sequence having at least 95%, e.g., at least 96%, 97%, 98%, 99%, or 100% sequence identity relative to the reference nucleotide sequence, up to 5%, 4%, 3%, 2%, 1%, or 0% of the nucleotides in the reference sequence may be deleted or substituted with another nucleotide, or a number of nucleotides up to 5%, 4%, 3%, 2%, 1 %, or 0% of the total nucleotides in the reference sequence may be inserted into the reference sequence. These mutations of the reference sequence may occur at the 5' or 3' terminal positions of the reference nucleotide sequence or anywhere between those terminal positions, interspersed either individually among nucleotides in the reference sequence or in one or more contiguous groups within the reference sequence. Analogously, by a polypeptide having a given amino acid sequence having at least, for example, 95%, e.g., at least 96%, 97%, 98%, 99%, or 100% sequence identity to a reference amino acid sequence, it is intended that the given amino acid sequence of the polypeptide is identical to the reference sequence except that the given polypeptide sequence may include up to 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, or 0 amino acid alterations per each 100 amino acids of the reference amino acid sequence. In other words, to obtain a given polypeptide sequence having at least 95%, e.g., at least 96%, 97%, 98%, 99%, or 100% sequence identity with a reference amino acid sequence, up to 5%, 4%, 3%, 2%, 1%, or 0% of the amino acid residues in the reference sequence may be deleted or substituted with another amino acid, or a number of amino acids up to 5%, 4%, 3%, 2%, 1%, or 0% of the total number of amino acid residues in the reference sequence may be inserted into the reference sequence. These alterations of the reference sequence may occur at the amino or the carboxy terminal positions of the reference amino acid sequence or anywhere between those terminal positions, interspersed either individually among residues in the reference sequence or in the one or more contiguous groups within the reference sequence. Preferably, residue positions which are not identical differ by conservative amino acid substitutions. However, conservative substitutions are not included as a match when determining sequence identity.

The term "mutation" in the context of the invention is understood as a change in a genomic sequence, in particular in the RNA sequence of a pestivirus. Since viruses that use RNA as

their genetic material have rapid mutation rates, the term "mutation", as mentioned herein, is particularly directed to a genetically engineered change in a genomic sequence, such as by cloning, forced recombination, growth in the presence of mutagens or other techniques used to experimentally alter the genome, which in particular results in a virus growing to titers significantly lower than wild type pestivirus in the infected host, when propagated under the same conditions. Moreover, in another preferred embodiment the mutation described herein can also be caused by natural mutation and subsequent isolation of the pestivirus according to the invention, wherein said isolated virus includes the mutation described herein.

The protein sequences or nucleic acid sequences of the present invention can further be used as a "query sequence" to perform a search against public databases to, for example, to identify other family members or related sequences. Such searches can be performed using the BLASTN and BLASTP programs (version 2.0) of Altschul, et al. (1990) J. Mol. Biol. 215:403-10. BLAST protein searches can be performed with the BLASTP program, score=50, wordlength=3 to obtain amino acid sequences homologous to protein molecules of the invention. To obtain gapped alignments for comparison purposes, Gapped BLAST can be utilized as described in Altschul et al. (1997) Nucleic Acids Res. 25(17): 3389-3402. When utilizing BLAST and Gapped BLAST programs, the default parameters of the respective programs (e.g., BLASTP and BLASTN) can be used. See the homepage of the National Center for Biotechnology Information at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.

The term "vector" as it is known in the art refers to a polynucleotide construct, typically a plasmid or a virus, used to transmit genetic material to a host cell. Vectors can be, for example, viruses, plasmids, cosmids, or phage. A vector as used herein can be composed of either DNA or RNA. In some embodiments, a vector is composed of DNA. An "expression vector" is a vector that is capable of directing the expression of a protein encoded by one or more genes carried by the vector when it is present in the appropriate environment. Vectors are preferably capable of autonomous replication. Typically, an expression vector comprises a transcription promoter, a gene, and a transcription terminator. Gene expression is usually placed under the control of a promoter, and a gene is said to be "operably linked to" the promoter.

As used herein, the term "operably linked" is used to describe the connection between regulatory elements and a gene or its coding region. Typically, gene expression is placed under the control of one or more regulatory elements, for example, without limitation, constitutive or inducible promoters, tissue-specific regulatory elements, and enhancers. A gene or coding

region is said to be "operably linked to" or "operatively linked to" or "operably associated with" the regulatory elements, meaning that the gene or coding region is controlled or influenced by the regulatory element. For instance, a promoter is operably linked to a coding sequence if the promoter effects transcription or expression of the coding sequence.

The term "construct," as used herein, refers to a recombinant nucleic acid that has been generated for the purpose of the expression of a specific nucleotide sequence(s), or that is to be used in the construction of other recombinant nucleotide sequences.

Vectors and methods for making and/or using vectors (or recombinants) for expression can be by or analogous to the methods disclosed in: U.S. Patent Nos. 4,603,112, 4,769,330, 5,174,993, 5,505,941, 5,338,683, 5,494,807, 4,722,848, 5,942,235, 5,364,773, 5,762,938, 5,770,212, 5,942,235, 382,425, PCT publications WO 94/16716, WO 96/39491, WO 95/30018; Paoletti, "Applications of pox virus vectors to vaccination: An update, " Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 93: 11349-11353, October 1996; Moss, "Genetically engineered poxviruses for recombinant gene expression, vaccination, and safety," Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 93: 11341-11348, October 1996; Smith et al., U.S. Patent No. 4,745,051 (recombinant baculovirus); Richardson, C. D. (Editor), Methods in Molecular Biology 39, "Baculovirus Expression Protocols" (1995 Humana Press Inc.); Smith et al, "Production of Human Beta Interferon in Insect Cells Infected with a Baculovirus Expression Vector", Molecular and Cellular Biology, December, 1983, Vol. 3, No. 12, p. 2156-2165; Pennock et al, "Strong and Regulated Expression of Escherichia coli B-Galactosidase in Infect Cells with a Baculovirus vector, "Molecular and Cellular Biology March 1984, Vol. 4, No. 3, p. 406; EPA0 370 573; U.S. Application No. 920,197, filed Oct. 16, 1986; EP Patent publication No. 265785; U.S. Patent No. 4,769,331 (recombinant herpesvirus); Roizman, "The function of herpes simplex virus genes: A primer for genetic engineering of novel vectors," Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 93: 11307-11312, October 1996; Andreansky et al., "The application of genetically engineered herpes simplex viruses to the treatment of experimental brain tumors," Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 93: 11313-11318, October 1996; Robertson et al, "Epstein-Barr virus vectors for gene delivery to B lymphocytes", Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 93: 11334-11340, October 1996; Frolov et al, "Alphavirus-based expression vectors: Strategies and applications," Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 93: 11371-11377, 1996; Kitson et al, J. Virol. 65, 3068-3075, 1991; U.S. Patent Nos. 5,591,439, 5,552,143; WO 98/00166; allowed U.S. Application Nos. 08/675,556, and 08/675,566 both filed July 3, 1996 (recombinant adenovirus); Grunhaus et al, 1992, "Adenovirus as cloning vectors," Seminars

in Virology 3:237-52, 1993; Ballay et al. EMBO Journal 4:3861-65, Graham, Tibtech 8:85-87, 1990; Prevec et al, J. Gen Virol. 70:429-34; PCT WO 91/11525; Feigner et al. (1994), J. Biol. Chem. 269, 2550-2561, Science 259: 1745-49, 1993; and McClements et al., "Immunization with DNA vaccines encoding glycoprotein D or glycoprotein B, alone or in combination, induces protective immunity in animal models of herpes simplex virus-2 disease", Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 93: 11414-11420, 1996; and U.S. Patent Nos. 5,591,639, 5,589,466, and 5,580,859, as well as WO 90/11092, W093/19183, W094/21797, WO95/11307, WO95/20660; Tang et al, Nature, and Furth et al, Analytical Biochemistry, relating to DNA expression vectors, inter alia. See also WO 98/33510; Ju et al, Diabetologia, 41 : 736-739, 1998 (lentiviral expression system); Sanford et al, U.S. Patent No. 4,945,050; Fischbachet al. (Intracel); WO 90/01543; Robinson et al, Seminars in Immunology vol. 9, pp. 271-283 (1997), (DNA vector systems); Szoka et al., U.S. Patent No. 4,394,448 (method of inserting DNA into living cells); McCormick et al., U.S. Patent No. 5,677,178 (use of cytopathic viruses); and U.S. Patent No. 5,928,913 (vectors for gene delivery); as well as other documents cited herein.

As used herein, the terms "nucleic acid" and "polynucleotide" are interchangeable and refer to any nucleic acid. The terms "nucleic acid" and "polynucleotide" also specifically include nucleic acids composed of bases other than the five biologically occurring bases (adenine, guanine, thymine, cytosine and uracil).

The term "regulatory element" and "expression control element" are used interchangeably and refer to nucleic acid molecules that can influence the expression of an operably linked coding sequence in a particular host organism. These terms are used broadly to and cover all elements that promote or regulate transcription, including promoters, core elements required for basic interaction of RNA polymerase and transcription factors, upstream elements, enhancers, and response elements. Exemplary regulatory elements in prokaryotes include promoters, operator sequences and a ribosome binding sites. Regulatory elements that are used in eukaryotic cells can include, without limitation, transcriptional and translational control sequences, such as promoters, enhancers, splicing signals, polyadenylation signals, terminators, protein degradation signals, internal ribosome-entry element (IRES), 2A sequences, and the like, that provide for and/or regulate expression of a coding sequence and/or production of an encoded polypeptide in a host cell.

As used herein, the term "promoter" is a nucleotide sequence that permits binding of RNA polymerase and directs the transcription of a gene. Typically, a promoter is located in the 5' non-coding region of a gene, proximal to the transcriptional start site of the gene. Sequence elements within promoters that function in the initiation of transcription are often characterized by consensus nucleotide sequences. Examples of promoters include, but are not limited to, promoters from bacteria, yeast, plants, viruses, and mammals (including humans). A promoter can be inducible, repressible, and/or constitutive. Inducible promoters initiate increased levels of transcription from DNA under their control in response to some change in culture conditions, such as a change in temperature.

As used herein, the term "enhancer" refers to a type of regulatory element that can increase the efficiency of transcription, regardless of the distance or orientation of the enhancer relative to the start site of transcription.

Generation of a viral vector can be accomplished using any suitable genetic engineering techniques well known in the art, including, without limitation, the standard techniques of restriction endonuclease digestion, ligation, transformation, plasmid purification, and DNA sequencing, for example as described in Sambrook et al. (Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, N.Y. (1989)).

A viral vector can incorporate sequences from the genome of any known organism. The sequences can be incorporated in their native form or can be modified in any way to obtain a desired activity. For example, the sequences can comprise insertions, deletions or substitutions.

A viral vector can include coding regions for two or more proteins of interest. For example, the viral vector can include the coding region for a first protein of interest and the coding region for a second protein of interest. The first protein of interest and the second protein of interest can be the same or different. In some embodiments, the viral vector can include the coding region(s) for a third or a fourth protein of interest. The third and the fourth protein of interest can be the same or different. The total length of the two or more proteins of interest encoded by one viral vector can vary. For example, the total length of the two or more proteins can be at least about 400 amino acids, at least about 450 amino acids, at least about 500 amino acids, at least about 550 amino acids, at least about 600 amino acids, at least about 650 amino acids, at least about 700 amino acids, at least about 750 amino acids, at least about 800 amino acids, or longer.

Preferred viral vectors include baculovirus such as BaculoGold (BD Biosciences Pharmingen, San Diego, Calif), in particular provided that the production cells are insect cells. Although the baculovirus expression system is preferred, it is understood by those of skill in the art that other expression systems will work for purposes of the present invention, namely the expression of E or Ems into the supernatant of a cell culture. Such other expression systems may require the use of a signal sequence in order to cause E or Ems expression into the media.

The term "genogroup" as it is known in the art refers to related viruses within a genus; which may be further subdivided into genetic clusters. Identified genogroups of the pestivirus genus include border disease virus, bovine diarrhea virus-1 (BVD-1), BVD-2, classical swine fever virus and other unclassified pestiviruses.

The term "clade" as it is known in the art refers to a group consisting of an ancestor and all its descendants, a single "branch" in a phylogenetic tree. The ancestor may be, as an example an individual, a population or a species. A genogroup can include multiple clades.

An "immune response" or "immunological response" means, but is not limited to, the development of a cellular and/or antibody-mediated immune response to the composition or vaccine of interest. Usually, an immune or immunological response includes, but is not limited to, one or more of the following effects: the production or activation of antibodies, B cells, helper T cells, suppressor T cells, and/or cytotoxic T cells, directed specifically to an antigen or antigens included in the composition or vaccine of interest. Preferably, the host will display either a therapeutic or a protective immunological (memory) response such that resistance to new infection will be enhanced and/or the clinical severity of the disease reduced. Such protection will be demonstrated by either a reduction in number of symptoms, severity of symptoms, or the lack of one or more of the symptoms associated with the infection of the pathogen, a delay in the of onset of viremia, reduced viral persistence, a reduction in the overall viral load and/or a reduction of viral excretion.

Herein, "specifically immunoreactive" refers to an immunoreactive protein or polypeptide that recognizes an antigen characteristic of pestivirus or CT infection but does not react with an antigen characteristic of a strict challenge control.

"Protection against disease", "protective immunity", "functional immunity" and similar phrases, means a response against a disease or condition generated by administration of one or more therapeutic compositions of the invention, or a combination thereof, that results in fewer deleterious effects than would be expected in a non-immunized subject that has been exposed to disease or infection. That is, the severity of the deleterious effects of the infection are lessened in a vaccinated subject. Infection may be reduced, slowed, or possibly fully prevented, in a vaccinated subject. Herein, where complete prevention of infection is meant, it is specifically stated. If complete prevention is not stated then the term includes partial prevention.

Herein, "reduction of the incidence and/or severity of clinical signs" or "reduction of clinical symptoms" means, but is not limited to, reducing the number of infected subjects in a group, reducing or eliminating the number of subjects exhibiting clinical signs of infection, or reducing the severity of any clinical signs that are present in one or more subjects, in comparison to wild-type infection. For example, it should refer to any reduction of pathogen load, pathogen shedding, reduction in pathogen transmission, or reduction of any clinical sign symptomatic of CT. Preferably these clinical signs are reduced in one or more subjects receiving the therapeutic composition of the present invention by at least 10% in comparison to subj ects not receiving the composition and that become infected. More preferably clinical signs are reduced in subjects receiving a composition of the present invention by at least 20%, preferably by at least 30%, more preferably by at least 40%, and even more preferably by at least 50%.

The term "increased protection" herein means, but is not limited to, a statistically significant reduction of one or more clinical symptoms which are associated with infection by an infectious agent, preferably a pestivirus generated CT, respectively, in a vaccinated group of subjects vs. a non-vaccinated control group of subjects. The term "statistically significant reduction of clinical symptoms" means, but is not limited to, the frequency in the incidence of at least one clinical symptom in the vaccinated group of subjects is at least 10%, preferably 20%, more preferably 30%, even more preferably 50%, and even more preferably 70% lower than in the non-vaccinated control group after the challenge the infectious agent.

"Long-lasting protection" shall refer to "improved efficacy" that persists for at least 3 weeks, but more preferably at least 3 months, still more preferably at least 6 months. In the case of livestock, it is most preferred that the long lasting protection shall persist until the average age at which animals are marketed for meat.

As used herein, the term "viremia" is particularly understood as a condition in which pestivirus particles reproduce and circulate in the bloodstream of an animal, in particular of a piglet.

The term "reduction of viremia" induced by pestivirus means, but is not limited to, the reduction of pestivirus entering the bloodstream of an animal, wherein the viremia level, i.e., the number of pestivirus copies per mL of blood serum or the number of plaque forming colonies per deciliter of serum, is reduced in the serum of subjects receiving the composition of the present invention by at least 50% in comparison to subjects not receiving the composition and may become infected. More preferably, the viremia level is reduced in subjects receiving the composition of the present invention by at least 90%, preferably by at least 99.9%, more preferably by at least 99.99%, and even more preferably by at least 99.999%.

"Safety" refers to the absence of adverse consequences in a vaccinated animal following vaccination, including but not limited to: potential reversion of a bacterium-based vaccine to virulence, clinically significant side effects such as persistent, systemic illness or unacceptable inflammation at the site of vaccine administration.

The terms "vaccination" or "vaccinating" or variants thereof, as used herein means, but is not limited to, a process which includes the administration of an immunogenic composition of the invention that, when administered to an animal, elicits, or is able to elicit— directly or indirectly— , an immune response in the animal against pestivirus or CT.

"Mortality", in the context of the present invention, refers to death caused by pestivirus infection or CT, and includes the situation where the infection is so severe that an animal is euthanized to prevent suffering and provide a humane ending to its life.

The following examples are included to demonstrate preferred embodiments of the invention. It should be appreciated by those of skill in the art that the techniques disclosed in the examples which follow represent techniques discovered by the inventors to function well in the practice of the invention, and thus can be considered to constitute preferred modes for its practice. However, those of skill in the art should, in light of the present disclosure, appreciate that many changes can be made in the specific embodiments which are disclosed and still obtain a like or similar result without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

EXAMPLES

EXAMPLE 1

The purpose of this study was to determine if clinical disease could be reproduced in cesarean-derived-colostrum deprived (CDCD) pigs using a tissue homogenate containing the novel pestivirus of the present invention. Specifically, the purpose is to reproduce viremia and tissue colonization (as detected by qRT-PCR) in CDCD piglets following challenge with serum containing a novel pestivirus.

Animal care

The pigs were housed at the animal facilities at VRI at Cambridge, IA for the duration of the study. Pigs were fed a commercial ration (UltraCare Medicated, lot# 4Junl6) that was appropriate for their size, age and condition according to acceptable animal husbandry practices for the region (antibiotics were included). Water was available ad libitum. Floor and feeder space met or exceeded requirements set forth in the Consortium "Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Agricultural Research and Teaching", third edition, January 2010.

Any moribund animal and animals unwilling to eat or drink were euthanized before the necropsy date at the discretion of the Investigator. Any animal that died or was euthanized throughout the study period were necropsied by a veterinarian. All animals were euthanized at the termination of the study, accounted for, and disposed of by incineration.

Experimental Design

A total of ten CDCD pigs were used for this bioassay. Pigs were randomized into two groups. Group 1 animals (n=6) were challenged by three routes (intracranial, intranasal and intravenously) with serum containing pestivirus. Group 2 animals (n=4) were inoculated in a similar manner with placebo material and served as negative controls. The animals in each group were maintained in separate rooms. Following challenge, pigs were monitored daily for clinical signs from days post challenge (DO) through D28. Rectal temperatures were taken twice weekly throughout the study. Serum, fecal and nasal samples were collected twice weekly throughout the study. Samples were screened for pestivirus RNA. The animals' weights were taken on DO and the time of necropsy to assess the impact of challenge on average daily gain. One animal from the challenge group was necropsied on D10, 14, 17, 21, 24 and

28. The decision on which animal would be necropsied was based on detection of pestivirus RNA in serum. One animal from the placebo group was euthanized on D 17, 21 , 24 and 28. Tissues and terminal sera collected at the time of necropsy were screened for the presence of Pestivirus RNA by qRT-PCR (FIG. 4).

Serum from NAC#20140530, animal ID no. 21 -24, lot# 2815-105-2 through 2815-105-5 were thawed at 37°C and pooled. Pooled sera was 0.2 μm filtered and diluted by adding 6 mL of sera to 29 mL of IX phosphate buffered saline (Gibco cat# 10010-023, L#1535358). The prepared material was assigned L#2815-171 -A and was stored at -70°C±10°C until use (FreezerWorks id#466528). On the day of challenge, material was thawed and held on ice during the challenge period. Three 2 mL aliquots were stored as retention samples at -70°C±10°C (FreezerWorks id#466044). Pooled material was retained but not further tested.

Table 1. Schedule of key events where DPC refers to day post challenge


Challenge

Intranasal challenge: On DPCO, the Investigator administered 2 ml of challenge material, 1 ml per nares using a sterile syringe. This was administered prior to anesthetizing the animal.

Intracranial challenge: On DPCO, the Investigator anesthetized animals with a mixture of Ketamine, Xylazine, and Telazol. The calvarium was cleaned and disinfected. A biopsy punch (Miltex Instrument Company, Inc.) was be used to remove a 4 mm section of skin from the calvarium. A hole was trephined through the calvarium using a hand held power drill. The challenge material was injected into the cerebrum using a 20-gauge, 1.88 inch-long catheter (BD AngioCath part no. H3272). Following injection of the inoculum, 0.5 ml of IX PBS was inserted into the catheter to ensure delivery of the inoculum. The skin incision was closed with a single suture.

Intravenous challense: While the piglets were anesthetized, 2 ml of challenge material was slowly administered into the auricular vein using a sterile butterfly catheter and syringe.

Clinical observations

After challenge, piglets were monitored once daily for the presence of clinical signs. As it is unknown whether clinical signs would be similar to other swine pestiviruses (e.g., Classical swine fever, Bungowannah virus) piglets were monitored for signs of systemic infection as well as neurological signs.

Fecal sample collection

Fecal material was collected from piglets by the Investigator. Samples were a swab (Fisher catalog no. 23-400-111) placed into a falcon tube. Samples were collected from the animal and not the floor. The material was transferred on the day of collection and samples were held at 2-8°C if tested < 24 hours after delivery or held at -70°C± 10°C if tested at a later date.

Nasal sample collection

Nasal swabs were collected from piglets by the Investigator. Samples were a swab (Fisher catalog no. 23-400-111) placed into a falcon tube. Samples were collected from the animal by swabbing both nares. Samples were labeled with a minimum of study number, day of study, and animal ID. The material was transferred on the day of collection and samples were held at 2-8°C if tested < 24 hours after delivery or held at -70°C± 10°C if tested at a later date.

Blood collection

On blood collection dates, four to 15 mL of venous whole blood were collected by the Investigator via the anterior vena cava from each pig using a sterile 18-20g x 1 inch (2.54 cm) to 1.5 inch (3.81 cm) VAC CUT AINER® needle, a VAC CUT AINER® needle holder and 9 or 13 mL serum separator tubes (SST). The serum was separated from the clot by centrifugation and decanted into a screw-cap cryogenic vial. The material was transferred on the day of collection and samples were held at 2-8°C if tested < 24 hours after delivery or held at -70°C± 10°C if tested at a later date.

Necropsy

General overview: Any moribund animals were bled, humanely euthanized, then necropsied by a veterinarian. Pigs were selected for necropsy based on viremia data (a Ct value <30) generated the day prior to the scheduled necropsy. Piglets were weighed at the time of necropsy and macroscopic lesions were recorded.

Terminal blood collection and processing: The piglets were deeply anesthetized prior to blood collection. Blood (approximately 5% of body weight) was collected into sterile jars, bottles or multiple SST tubes and was allowed to clot at room temperature. The serum was separated from the clot by centrifugation and decanted into sterile bottles. Serum samples were held at 2-8°C if tested < 24 hours after delivery or held at -70°C if tested at a later date.

Sample collection: The Investigator collected formalin-fixed tissue samples of cerebrum (1/2 of the organ), cerebellum (1/2 of organ), brainstem (1/2 of organ), spinal cord (6 sections), bone marrow (collect a section of long bone), tonsil (1 section), lung (1 section of accessory lobe or area with lesion), heart (2 sections), spleen (1 section), kidney (1 section), liver (1 section), lymph node (tracheobronchial and mesenteric), small intestine (3 sections ileum), large intestine (3 section). A one inch section of lung and one to two inch sections of intestine are recommended such that a 1 : 10 ratio of fixed tissue to formalin is maintained. All fixed tissues were placed into one container containing 10% buffered formalin solution. For each piglet, and a replicate sample of sections listed above were collected into separate whirl pack bags.

Tissue processing: Samples were transported on the day of collection and samples were held at 2-8°C if tested < 24 hours after delivery or held at -70°C if tested at a later date. The fixed tissues were maintained at room temperature.

Weight measurement

Weight measurements were taken on piglets on DPCO the day of necropsy. Weights were taken on a calibrated scale and recorded on an appropriate form provided by the animal facility. Weights were used to calculate an average daily gain.

Sample testing

Pestivirus PCR was performed on all samples. Selected samples were screened for enterovirus, porcine calicivirus, transmissible gastroenteritis virus, Escherichia coli, Salmonella, and/or Clostridium sp. or other infectious agents.

EXAMPLE 2

The objectives of this project were to 1) detect potential pathogen(s) in samples from piglets with congenital tremors and 2) develop an infection model to reproduce disease. Using next-generation sequencing, a divergent lineage pestivirus was detected in piglets with congenital tremors. The virus was originally most closely related to a bat pestivirus but is now more closely related to a recently published novel porcine pestivirus provisionally named atypical porcine pestivirus. A quantitative real-time PCR detected the virus in samples from neonatal piglets with congenital tremors from two separate farms, but not in samples from unaffected piglets from the same farm. To fulfill the second objective, pregnant sows were inoculated with either serum containing the pestivirus or PBS (control) by intravenous and intranasal routes simultaneously with direct inoculation of fetal amniotic vesicles by ultrasound-guided surgical technique. Inoculations were performed at either 45 or 62 days of gestation. All sows inoculated with the novel pestivirus farrowed piglets affected with congenital tremors while PBS-inoculated control piglets were unaffected. Tremor severity for each piglet was scored from videos taken 0, 1 and 2 days post-farrowing. Tremor severity remained relatively constant from 0 to 2 days post-farrowing for a majority of piglets. The prevalence of congenital tremors in pestivirus-inoculated litters ranged from 57% (4 out of 7 affected piglets) to 100% (10 out of 10 affected piglets). The virus was consistently detected by PCR in tissues from piglets with congenital tremors but was not detected in control piglets. Samples positive by PCR in greater than 90% of piglets sampled included brainstem (37 out of 41), mesenteric lymph node (37 out of 41), tracheobronchial lymph node (37 out of 41), and whole blood (19 out of 20). Although the first description of congenital tremors was in 1922, this is the first reported reproduction of congenital tremors following experimental inoculation with a divergent lineage porcine

pestivirus. Studies investigating disease mechanism, epidemiology, and diagnostic assay development are needed to better understand the pathophysiology of congenital tremors due to this pestivirus.

Next-Generation Sequencing

Varied porcine tissues (serum, cerebrum, cerebellum, spinal cord, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and/or lung) from three diagnostic investigations of CT were obtained: lung tissue from a single piglet (ID 20130103); either pooled brain tissue or pooled lung tissue from six piglets (ID 20120705); and CSF (n=2; Farm B), serum (n=2; Farm A and B), and lung (n=2; Farm A and B) from six different piglets originating from two different farms (ID 2014016573). With the exception of the lung tissue from sample ID 20120705, all samples tested exhibited at least partial pestivirus genomic sequence. Serum or tissue homogenates were re-suspended in Hanks balanced salt solution (Corning-Cellgro) and enriched for viral particle protected nucleic acids by digestion with a combination of nucleases: RNase A (Invitrogen), Baseline Zero DNase (Epicentre), and Turbo DNase (Invitrogen). Viral nucleic acids were extracted per the manufacturer's protocol using Qiagen Viral RNA blood kit. Post-extraction, nucleic acids were further treated with Turbo DNase to remove host or potential viral DNA, thus further enriching for viral RNA. Double-stranded cDNA was generated through reverse transcription and Klenow (NEB) treatment using priming with random hexamers.

Samples were processed for MiSeq based sequencing through library generation using the NextEra XT library preparation kit (Illumina) per the manufacturer's suggested protocol, with replacement of column elution (Qiagen, MinElute) in lieu of bead normalization. The library was run on the MiSeq using the 500-cycle kit (Illumina) and data was analyzed using a combination of NextGene (version 2.3.4.2) and Sequencher software (version 5.1). High quality sequences were selected as those containing a median Q-score of greater than 25 and trimmed with a cut-off of no more than 3 uncalled bases at 3'-end or 3-consecutive bases with Q-score measuring less than 16. De novo assembled sequences were analyzed by comparison to GenBank sequence via BLASTn and BLASTx. ClustalW alignment was used for phylogenetic analysis of the 215 amino acid sequence of the NS3 gene and 170 amino acid sequence of the Npro gene. Neighbor-joining phylogenetic trees were generated from 1,000 replicates using MEGA 6.0 software.

Quantitative Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-qPCR)

A RT-qPCR targeting the N3S region of the genome of the divergent lineage pestivirus was designed. Tissues samples (n=362) from growing pigs that were submitted to the Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (ISU VDL) for routine diagnostic testing were used to determine the frequency of the pestivirus in this sample set. Two sample sets were also collected from farms with congenital tremors. These samples included serum, cerebrum, cerebellum, brainstem, and spinal cord. The first set (Farm A) consisted of 6 affected and 2 unaffected pre-suckle piglets, serum from five sows from which the pre-suckle piglets were selected, and 5 affected and 2 unaffected post-suckle piglets between 6- and 14-day s-old. The second set (Farm B: ISUVDL2014016573) consisted of 5 affected piglets suckle status unknown and serum from five sows with affected piglets.

The quantitative one-step RT-PCR kit (iTaq Universal Probes One-Step Kit; BioRad, cat no. 172-5141) was carried out in a 25 μΐ reaction containing 2μ1 of extracted total nucleic acid, Ι.ΟμΙ of probe (2 μΜ), Ιμΐ of each primer (5 μΜ), 12.5μ1 of 2X RT-PCR mix, 0.5μ1 iScript reverse transcriptase and 7.0μ1 of DEPC-treated water (Table 2). The reaction took place using a CFX96 real-time PCR detection system (BioRad) under the following conditions: initial reverse transcription at 50°C for 10 min, followed by initial denaturation at 95°C for 3 min, 40 cycles of denaturation at 95°C for 15 s and annealing and extension at 57°C for 30s. To generate quantitative data, a pestivirus ultramer was included in each run (Integrated DNA Technologies) encompassing the NS3 region targeted by the primers. A cut-off for positive samples was established at cycle quantification (Cq) values lower than 36.

Table 2. Real-time PCR Primer, Probe and Ultramer Sequences

Sow Inoculation Model

Animals

All procedures were approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of Iowa State University (Log Number: 1-14-7907-S 2). Eight individually identified crossbred sows at 38 days of gestation were obtained from a commercial source with no known previous history of CT. Serum from all sows was negative for PCV2a, PCV2b, PRRSV, PPV1, PPV5 and the novel pestivirus by RT-qPCR prior to shipment and inoculation. Individual sows were randomly assigned to one of three groups housed separately [sham-inoculated at 45 days gestation (n=l) and 62 days gestation (n=l), pestivirus-inoculated at 45 days gestations (n=3), and pestivirus-inoculated at 62 days gestation (n=3)] and were fed a nutritionally complete diet throughout the study period.

Animal Inoculation

Sows were held off feed and water for 12 hours prior to surgery to reduce the risk of anesthetic regurgitation. Terminal serum from a viremic pig (ISUVDL2014016573) was thawed at 37°C. Total nucleic acid was extracted and screened by PCR for the presence of PCV2a, PCV2b, PRRSV, PPV1, PPV5 and the pestivirus; only the pestivirus was detected (Cq = 27.47). Serum was 0.2 μιτι filtered and diluted by adding 6 mL of sera to 35mL of IX PBS (Gibco). On the day of inoculation, inoculum was thawed and held on ice during the inoculation procedure. General anesthesia was induced with an intramuscular injection of a combination of tiletamine and zolazepam (TELAZOL®), ketamine, and xylazine. Following anesthetic induction, each sow was placed in left lateral recumbency, and the right abdomen prepared for aseptic laparotomy. The abdomen was draped for surgery and a local line block with 2% lidocaine was administered prior to incision. An approximately 30 cm paramedian incision was made ~5 cm lateral to the mammary tissue to gain access to the abdominal cavity. The uterus was exteriorized and a sterile handheld linear array ultrasound transducer was used to image each fetal unit and guide the inoculation needle into the fetal amniotic vesicle. Each vesicle was inoculated with 0.25 mL of inoculum (PBS or pestivirus-serum) using a small gauge needle (22 g) (S2 MP 4). The abdominal wall was closed in three layers using size 2 polyglactin 910 suture. The inoculum was also administered directly to the sow via an intranasal (2 mL) and intravenous (2 mL) route immediately following the surgical procedure. Single doses of flunixin meglumine (BAN AMINE- S ®) and ceftiofur crystalline free acid (EXCEDE®) were

given intramuscularly immediately after incisional closure and prior to anesthetic recovery. Anesthetic induction occurred at 8:30 AM for the first sow on the respective day of surgery. Each procedure took approximately 1 hr. The anesthetic induction of the final sow occurred at 11 :30 AM.

Clinical Observations, Sample Collection, and Necropsy

After inoculation, sows were monitored daily and rectal temperatures were taken from 0-7 days post-inoculation (DPI). Fecal material, blood and nasal swabs were collected from sows at DPI 2, 7, 10 and 14 and then weekly until farrowing. At the time of farrowing, piglets were individually identified and serum, nasal swabs and fecal swabs were collected. In a subset of piglets (n=7), blood from the umbilical cord was collected. Videos of individual piglets were taken daily from 0-2 days post-farrowing (DPF). Four investigators blinded to groups reviewed the videos and each piglet received a tremor severity score: 0 - absent, 1 -fine muscle fasciculation, 2 - mild tremor, 3 - moderate tremor, 4 - severe tremor with pronounced hopping. Scores were then averaged to assign each piglet an overall tremor severity score by DPF. Piglets receiving a score of > 0.75 on DPF 2 were considered to be affected. The presence or absence of splay leg was also recorded on each DPF for each piglet. Sows and piglets were euthanized on DPF 2 via captive bolt gun and injectable barbiturate overdose, respectively. At necropsy piglet serum, cerebrum, cerebellum, brainstem, spinal cord, kidney, mesenteric lymph node, tracheobronchial lymph node, thymus, heart, and spleen were collected. In a subset of piglets, whole blood (EDTA tubes; n=20) and CSF (n=29) were collected. Sow serum was also collected at necropsy.

Pestivirus Identification

Next-Generation Sequencing

Through the use of next-generation sequence technology a virus closely related to a Chinese bat pestivirus, and now known to be more closely related to a recently reported provisionally named atypical porcine pestivirus was discovered from three independent congenital tremor disease investigations. The near-complete genome was obtained from one of the three investigations. This virus in the serum from a viremic animal was subsequently used for animal inoculations in this study. Phylogenetic analysis of the NS3 and Npro support classification of the virus identified herein as a member of the putative "atypical porcine pestivirus" species (FIG. 5), with 88.0% and 94.6% nucleotide and amino acid identity, respectively. A

retrospective analysis of pestivirus RNA by RT-qPCR from cases submitted to the ISU VDL indicated 21 of 362 samples (6%) were positive. These cases were routine submissions from herds experiencing varied clinical signs.

RT-qPCR

Piglet samples from animals exhibiting congenital tremors and unaffected cohorts were collected from two farms, Farm A and Farm B. Animals that were diagnosed with congenital tremors were positive for the pestivirus by RT-qPCR while the virus was not detected in the central nervous tissue or serum of unaffected piglets (Table 3). The virus was detected in the serum from a single sow from Farm A.

Table 3. Quantitative Real-time PCR Results from Piglet Samples from Farm A and Farm B.

aPresence (+) or absence (-) of congenital tremors.

bCq = quantification cycle value.

CSQ = starting quantity.

dU = "undetected" following 40 cycles.

"ND = Not done.

Sow Inoculation Model

Sow Observations and Samples

One sham-inoculated sow at 45 days gestation developed a moderate fever following surgery and aborted all fetuses on DPI 3 and 4. A sow from the group to be inoculated at 45 days of gestation was found not to be pregnant at time of inoculation; she was removed from the study. Sham-inoculated and pestivirus-inoculated sows did not display clinical signs nor did they develop a detectable viremia or shed the virus at levels detectable by RT-qPCR. All sows farrowed naturally. There was one stillborn piglet (Sow ID 3661) and one macerated fetus (Sow ID 3500).

Piglet Observations and Samples

Sham-inoculated piglets did not have clinical signs consistent with CT on DPF 0, 1, or 2 (S4 MP 4). A majority of piglets that were pestivirus-inoculated as fetuses at 45 or 62 days gestation had clinical signs consistent with CT (S4 MP4). The prevalence of congenital tremors (S5 MP 4) and splay leg (S6 MP4) in pestivirus-inoculated litters ranged from 57% to 100% and 0% to 40% on DPF 2, respectively (Table 4). Tremor severity varied within litters by piglet but remained relatively constant over the two day observation period in a majority of piglets (Table 5).

Table 4. Prevalence of Congenital Tremors and Splay Leg in Pestivirus-inoculated Litters on Da 2 Post-farrowin

aDay of gestation at time of inoculation.

bPiglets were considered to be affected by congenital tremors if the tremor severity score was > 0.75.

Table 5. Congenital Tremor Score by Piglet and Days Post-Farrowing

Average Tremor Severity Score

Viral nucleic acids were extracted from tissues, sera, and whole blood collected and analyzed by quantitative-real time PCR. While no pestivirus positives were observed in any tissue within the placebo inoculated litter, nearly all of the animals from the experimentally inoculated group were positive in at least one tissue. Tissue tropism was broad as pestivirus RNA was detected in serum (26 out of 41), nasal swabs (12 out of 41), feces (14 out of 41), terminal serum (34 out of 41), cerebrum (30 out of 41), cerebellum (36 out of 41), brainstem (37 out of 41), spinal cord (33 out of 41), kidney (35 out of 41), mesenteric lymph node (37 out of 41), tracheobronchial lymph node (36 out of 41), thymus (37 out of 41), heart (35 out of 41), and spleen (37 out of 41) by RT-qPCR in live-bom pestivirus-inoculated piglets (FIG. 6); viral RNA was not detected in the same samples from PBS-inoculated piglets. In addition, pestivirus RNA was detected in umbilical cord blood (5 out of 7), whole blood (19 out of 20), and CSF (26 out of 29) from a subset of piglets (FIG. 6). The average Cq of serum, nasal swabs, CSF, mesenteric lymph node, tracheobronchial lymph node, spleen and umbilical cord blood was less than 26. The average Cq of feces, terminal serum, cerebellum, spinal cord, kidney, thymus, and heart ranged from 26 to 28. Cerebrum, brainstem, and whole blood had the highest average Cq values (>28). Pestivirus RNA was detected most commonly (>90% of the samples taken) in the brainstem, mesenteric lymph node, tracheobronchial lymph node, and whole blood; less commonly (80 to 90% of the samples taken) in terminal serum, cerebellum, spinal cord, CSF, kidney, thymus, heart, and spleen; and least commonly (29 to 74% of the samples taken) in serum, nasal secretions, feces, cerebrum, and umbilical cord blood. Serum from two animals (35 and 90) were randomly selected to assess genomic stability by complete genome sequencing. Both animals exhibited identical 7 nucleotide fixed changes from the parental strain leading to four conserved amino acid changes. Upon review of the deep sequencing data of the challenge material, evidence of polymorphism was observed at each of these positions.

Discussion

The syndrome of CT was first documented nearly 100 years ago; yet, most contemporary outbreaks have been attributed to an unidentified virus. Using next-generation sequencing, a novel agent originally identified to be closely related to a bat pestivirus was detected in samples of piglets with CT.

A RT-qPCR was designed targeting the N3S portion of the genome of the divergent lineage pestivirus in order to detect viral RNA in multiple and varied sample types. A retrospective analysis detected pestivirus RNA by RT-qPCR in 6% (21 of 362) of samples from herds experiencing varied clinical signs suggesting that the virus is present in tissues from this sample set at a low prevalence. Samples from the inoculation study were selected based on clinical

signs of CT and tissue distribution and replication sites of CSFV. Tissue samples from piglets with CT from two unrelated farms contained viral RNA that was consistently detected in serum and central nervous system tissue suggesting that the virus has a systemic distribution while clinically impacting central nervous system function. This is further supported by the tissue distribution of viral RNA in the pestivirus-inoculated piglets. A specific site of replication was not determined, as all tested tissues had similar levels of detectable pestivirus RNA. This may suggest that viral replication occurs systemically and may include peripheral blood mononuclear cells or endothelial cells similar to CSFV.

The pestivirus used for this inoculation model was viremic serum as attempts at in vitro virus cultivation have not been successful. The immune status of the sows in this study is not known due to the lack of a serologic assay for this newly discovered virus. To avoid possible interference from anti-pestivirus antibodies in the sow, fetal amniotic vesicles were directly inoculated, as the porcine placenta does not allow the transfer of antibodies from the dam to the fetuses.

Although one PBS-inoculated sow aborted as a result of the surgical procedure, no clinical differences were observed between sham- and pestivirus-inoculated sows. Stillbirths, mummified or macerated fetuses have not been previously reported with CT outbreaks. The single stillbirth in one litter and single macerated fetus in another litter from pestivirus-inoculated sows were considered incidental and likely not a result of fetal infection. Despite IN and IV inoculation, sows did not develop a detectable viremia or shed the virus at levels detectable by RT-qPCR. Therefore, either the sows were not infected following challenge or the available diagnostic tests were insufficient to detect infection.

For CT to be manifested, it is likely that fetal infection must occur prior to development of fetal immunocompetence which occurs around 70-80 days of gestation in piglets. In this study, fetuses at both 45 and 62 days of gestation were susceptible to infection with the divergent lineage pestivirus which resulted in CT in a majority of infected piglets. The selection of these two gestation time points was based on an approximate viremia of this pestivirus based on CSFV occurring prior to the development of fetal immunity (day 45 of gestation) and the development of the fetal central nervous system (day 62 of gestation). In utero pestivirus infections in other species at different gestational time points have differing clinical outcomes including reproductive failure, congenital malformations or immunotolerance whereby a persistently infected animal may shed virus throughout their lifetime. In this study a number of pestivirus-inoculated piglets were born with splay leg. This condition is commonly observed in pigs; however, the pathogenesis and etiologies are currently speculative. The role, if any, of this pestivirus in splay leg, reproductive failure in sows or ability for in utero infection to result in persistently infected animals requires additional investigation.

Overall, the clinical disease reproduced herein mimics naturally occurring outbreaks with variation in the prevalence of CT between litters and severity of clinical signs within litters. Viral RNA was detected in all piglets with CT. Moreover, viral RNA was detected in 41 out of 42 live-born pestivirus-inoculated piglets. Of the live-born pestivirus-inoculated piglets, eleven did not have CT on DPF 2 or DPF 0 (95), and viral RNA was detected in all pestivirus-inoculated unaffected piglets but one (95). Yet, the mechanism of central nervous systemic dysfunction in a majority of piglets but not all infected piglets is currently unknown. The ecology and pathogenesis of the host- virus interaction is undefined at this point but intriguing. Investigation of the role of persistent infection or dysfunctional immune response in clinical expression of CT and mechanism of central nervous system dysfunction is warranted. Literature concerning the mechanisms of tremor disorders in humans and animals is limited despite the high prevalence and importance of such symptomatology in human and veterinary medicine.

This study identified a recently described divergent porcine pestivirus in piglets with CT and not in unaffected cohorts and used this virus to reproduce CT through the development of an innovative inoculation technique. The successful development of virus isolation techniques, specific antibody assays, in situ detection techniques and refined molecular tools will undoubtedly lead to better understanding of pathogenesis and epidemiology of this virus.

EXAMPLE 3

The objective of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of a pestivirus vaccine when administered pestivirus naive or seronegative dams.

Study Design

A total of 10 dams were used for this experiment. Dams were randomized into three groups. Group 1 animals (n=4) were vaccinated at DO and D14 with a prototype pestivirus vaccine just prior or shortly after breeding. Group 2 animals (n=4) vaccinated with a placebo prototype vaccine preparation. Group 3 animals (n=2) remained unvaccinated (strict controls). The

animals in each group were maintained in separate rooms. At approximately 42 days of gestation, dams in Group 1 and 2 were challenged with pestivirus by a route such as intravenous, intramuscular, intranasal, intravaginal or intrauterine inoculation. Following challenge, dams will be monitored daily for clinical signs throughout the study. Serum, fecal and nasal samples and rectal temperatures were collected twice weekly throughout gestation. At approximately 80 days of gestation, an ultrasound evaluation was performed on all sows. At the time of farrowing, piglets were visually assessed for the presence of clinical signs. Serum, cord blood and placenta were collected for detection of pestivirus. Piglets were processed and video recordings were taken. Piglets were maintained on the sow. When piglets are 24 hours old, piglets were visually assessed for the presence of clinical signs and video recordings were captured. Piglets were euthanized at 48 hours of age. Prior to euthanasia, piglets were visually assessed for the presence of clinical signs and video recordings will be captured. Selected tissues and blood were collected at the time of necropsy. Samples were screened for pestivirus RNA and anti-pestivirus antibodies.

Table 6. Experimental design


Table 7. Schedule of key events where DPC refers to day post challenge


To ensure blinding, the person (Administrator) administering the vaccine of the present invention and the control were not the same person responsible for the clinical observation and sampling of the study animals. The laboratory tests were the same as described in Example 2.

EXAMPLE 4

The primary objective of this study was to determine feasibility of inducing a pestivirus-specific serological response following inactivated whole virus vaccine administration. Specifically, naive animals were exposed to an intramuscular injection of concentrated, inactivated virus and evaluated by serological ELISA pre- and post-vaccination.

A novel virus most closely related to a Chinese bat pestivirus was discovered using deep sequencing technology from multiple outbreak investigation cases. Clinical histories of these cases included congenital tremors (2 cases), anemic piglets (1 case), or fallback piglets thought to be associated with PCVAD (1 case). Based on the findings, a qPCR was designed and the prevalence of the identified virus was determined in two sample sets collected from the Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (ISU VDL). The apparent prevalence was found to be 7.3% (8/110) in a set of lung homogenates and 5.2% (13/252) in a set of clinical samples from cases with a history of polyserositis. Additional samples from two farms with a clinical history of congenital tremors were collected through collaboration with an ISU VDL faculty member (Dr. Paulo Arruda). These samples were used for inoculation of pigs and serum containing high levels of virus was generated (Example 1). In a follow-up study, it was demonstrated that intrauterine inoculation of the serum into pregnant dams resulted in high percentages of pigs born with congenital tremors (Example 2). Due to the ability of pestivirus to cause clinical disease, it is of interest to develop a vaccine. A conventional, inactivated vaccine was included in this study.

A conventional, inactivated vaccine will be included in the study. In addition, a viral vector will be included in the study. As the use of live viral vectors for expression of relevant antigens is a key component of the Lead2Grow strategy, this study will provide an evaluation of the vector in pigs. This study will utilize the canine adenovirus vector (CAV-2; licensed for use in the Solo-Jec CAV-2) expressing the E2 protein of pestivirus. The vector is replication competent and hypothesized to induce a broad immune response of long duration. An additional CAV construct expressing an Influenza A HA gene will be included as a construct control.

Animal inclusion criteria

As the study was done in animals that were bom under BSL2 conditions and serological assays are not currently available for pestivirus, no pre-screening of serum samples was done. Only pigs that are healthy at the time of vaccination were included in the trial. If at the time of vaccination, the investigator noted animals that were unhealthy, those animals were not vaccinated and were humanely euthanized.

Animal care

All animals were housed at the animal facilities at Sioux Center, IA for the duration of the study. Animals were fed a commercial ration that is appropriate for their size, age, and condition according to acceptable animal husbandry practices for the region (antibiotics may be included). Water was available ad libitum. Floor and feeder space met or exceeded requirements set forth in the Consortium "Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Agricultural Research and Teaching", third edition, January 2010.

No other biological or pharmaceutical products were administered to the test animals without prior approval by the study monitor.

Post-inclusion removal criteria

Any moribund animal was euthanized at the discretion of the Attending Veterinarian/Investigator. A moribund animal was defined as an animal that is unwilling to eat or drink or is severely dehydrated due to severe clinical signs. Any animal that died or was euthanized throughout the study period was necropsied by a veterinarian. The necropsy was done as described below. The monitor and investigator consulted to determine if the data from the removed test animals were included in the data analysis and final report.

Study animal disposal

All animals were humanely euthanized, accounted for, and disposed of by rendering at the termination of the study. All procedures were done as described in facility SOPs.

Experimental Design

General Description

This experiment was designed to evaluate the serological response of prototype pestivirus vaccines in conventional animals. See Table 8 below for an explanation of the experimental groups.

At the time of weaning, a total of six animals, approximately six weeks of age, were randomized into Group 1 and 2 and administered a 2 mL dose of either vaccine or placebo according to Table 8. Animals were randomized and co-mingled in separate crates within the same room. Animals in Group 3 were comingled in a separate room. General health

observations were recorded throughout the study, and no adverse reactions were observed. At approximately 14-day s post vaccination, serum was collected and held at 4°C until processing completed for serological evaluation. A booster vaccination of identical materials was administered 21 days after the primary vaccination. Serum from animals was collected 13 days following boost (day 34).

Serum samples were assayed for evidence of seroconversion as assays became available. Oral, nasal and fecal swabs were collected from pigs daily in Group 3 from DO - D7. Samples were assessed for the presence of live CAV. Injection sites were observed for reactions for a minimum of three days following administration of the vaccine. Animals were humanely euthanized at the end of the trial. See Table 9 below for an overview of study action items and specific procedure details.

Table 8. Experimental design


Table 9. Schedule of key events by room

Vaccine Material

Supernatant from infected SK6 cells was concentrated 10-fold by ultracentrifugation and inactivated with 5 mM BEI solution for 6 hours at 37°C. Vaccine was formulated with 12.5% emulsigen D stored at 4°C until time of administration. Pigs in Group 2 received placebo material (phosphate buffered saline + 12.5% emulsigen D). A 2 mL dose of the appropriate vaccine was administered into the musculature of the neck using appropriately-sized, sterile needle and syringe.

Vaccination

Prior to administration of any vaccine material, the Investigator or designee examined all animals for overall health and inclusion in the study. At DO and D21, a 2 mL dose of the appropriate vaccine was administered either into the musculature of the neck using appropriately-sized, sterile needle and syringe or administered into the nose (1 mL per nare) using a sterile syringe and cannula. For IM injections, the musculature of the right neck was used for injection on DO, and the musculature of the left neck was used for injection on D21. The lot number, dosage amount, animal identification numbers and timing of administration of vaccine material was recorded on the vaccine confirmation record.

Clinical Observations

During the vaccination period, animals were evaluated daily using a general health observation form. Injection site areas were monitored for a minimum of three days following vaccination. If lesions were present in injection site areas, the areas were monitored until the lesion resolves or until the termination of the study.

Blood Collection

On blood collection dates, three to nine mL of venous whole blood was collected by the Investigator or designee via the anterior vena cava. A sterile 18-20g x 1 inch (2.54 cm) to 1.5 inch (3.81 cm) VACCUTAINER® needle, a VAC CUT AINER® needle holder and appropriately sized serum separator tubes (SST) was used. The blood was shipped overnight

to BIVI Biological R&D in Ames, Iowa on ice on the day of collection, if collected Monday through Thursday. If serum was collected on Friday or Saturday, the serum was separated from the clot by centrifugation and decanted into a screw-cap cryogenic vial labeled with at least study number, day of study, and animal ID. Processed serum samples were stored at -70°C and shipped on dry ice to Ames on the next shipment day. At BIVI-Ames, serum samples were tracked via FreezerWorks electronic management system. Serum samples at BIVI-Ames were held at 2-8°C if tested < 48 hours after delivery or held at -70°C if tested at a later date. The samples were stored for a minimum of six months after the completion of this study.

Swab Samples

The materials were shipped overnight to BIVI Biological R&D in Ames, Iowa on ice. If collection occurred on a weekend, samples were frozen at -70° C and shipped on dry ice on the next sampling day. Samples at BIVI-Ames were held at 2-8°C if tested < 24 hours after delivery or held at -70°C if tested at a later date. Samples were tracked via FreezerWorks electronic management system. The samples were stored for a minimum of six months after the completion of this study.

Necropsy

If, during the study, there was a moribund animal, the animal was euthanized and necropsied at the discretion of the attending veterinarian. Appropriate samples were collected to determine the cause of death. Samples may be submitted to a diagnostic laboratory for confirmatory testing.

At the time of off-test, animals were deeply anesthetized per facility SOP's and 1 x 250 mL centrifuge bottle of blood (free catch) was collected from each animal. The animal was euthanized following facility SOPs and the injection site were palpated. If injection site reactions are grossly palpated at the time of necropsy, a sample (fresh and fixed) was collected. If clinical signs were present in the animal during the study or there is evidence of clinical disease, the animal was necropsied. Appropriate samples were collected to determine the cause of disease. Samples may be submitted to a diagnostic laboratory for confirmatory testing.

Room disinfection, entry and chore procedures

Prototype vaccines are not considered infectious to humans. Gloves, masks and disposable TYVEK® were worn when working with animals. Boots and personal protective equipment (PPE) were room specific. A shower was required between work done in Group 3 animals and the animals in Groups 1 and 2. No transfer of supplies or PPE between rooms was allowed. Facility and equipment disinfection were detailed and placed into the investigator's report.

Serological Response

Spun serum was absorbed against porcine primary lung cells to reduce enzyme linked absorbance assay (ELISA) background. ELISA plates were coated with 300ng of concentrated inactivated pestivirus. Absorbed test serum from vaccinated animals, placebo animals, convalescent positive control sera, and sera from naive animals were evaluated in duplicate with data summarized in FIG. 7. All sera collected from all groups were negative by ELISA at day 0 (OD <0.15). By 13 days post-boost inoculation of inactivated pestivirus, all four animals exhibited a strong serological response while none of the matched placebo controls exceeded the 0.7 OD threshold for the assay. Using an Exact Wilcoxon rank-sum test, there is a statistically significant increase in OD within the vaccinated group compared to the placebo (p-value = 0.004), indicative of a specific serological response to the pestivirus.

EXAMPLE 5

The primary objective of this study was to isolate and productively replicate the novel pestivirus ex vivo. Specifically, viral propagation was achieved in cells derived from the natural host species (porcine) and were monitored through molecular biological techniques.

Inoculum Preparation

Tissues of infected piglets from Example 2 were collected and weighed individually, and SAFC modified minimum essential medium (MEM) was added to each for a final weight: volume of 10%. Tissues were dispersed by high-speed shaking with metal beads, clarified by microcentrifugation, and filtered through a 0.2 μιτι filter. Additionally, terminal blood from pestivirus infected piglets of Example 2 were individually collected. Each of the tissue homogenates and serum samples were assayed for the presence and relative concentration of pestivirus using qPCR. Samples with the highest titers were pooled based on sample type from terminal serum, spleen and kidney homogenates. These pools were subsequently used as inoculum.

Inoculation of Porcine Primary Tissues

Viral growth attempts were performed using inoculum described above on both primary embryonic porcine lung and primary porcine embryonic kidney cell cultures. Primary cell cultures were prepared from tissues collected from caesarean derived colostrum deprived (CDCD) pigs.

Inoculum was diluted with an equal volume of MEM and sterilized by passing through 0.8 μητ/0.2 μηι filters. Samples were further diluted either 1 :2 or 1 : 10 prior to inoculation in an attempt to remove any serum or host cell associated toxicity.

Culture was performed in growth media (MEM with 10% irradiated fetal bovine serum and 2.5% 1M HEPES). After seven days on culture, materials were subjected to 3-cycles of freezing/thawing and then inoculated onto fresh cells by allowing viral infection for 1 hour at 37°C, 5% CCh while rocking. After 1 hour, inoculum was removed and replaced with growth media. Passage continued for 11 rounds in primary lung cells and 4 rounds in primary kidney cells. The cycle threshold values for primary kidney cells ranged between 21.3 - 22.5, indicative of productive replication. The cycle thresholds for primary lung also are indicative of productive viral replication and are summarized in Table 8.

Table 8. Experimental design


Inoculation of Immortalized Porcine Cells

Similar to the original inoculation conditions of primary cells, immortalized swine kidney cells (SK6) were inoculated by adding supernatant from the pass 11 primary lung culture (frozen/thawed for three cycles) and incubated for 1 hour at 37°C, 5% CCh while rocking. After 6 days of incubation at 37°C, 5% CCh material was passaged to fresh SK6 cells in same manner. Nucleic acids from each pass were extracted after 14 passes and monitored by qPCR. Upon serial passage, the cycle thresholds decreased (see Table 8) to -17, indicative of an approximate 10-fold increase in viral titer.

Inactivation of Viral Harvest

Supernatants from passage 11 SK6 cells were pooled and concentrated ~ 10-fold through high speed centrifugation to pellet virus. Viral pellets were re-suspended in -1/10th the original volume of inert buffer (IX phosphate buffered saline). Concentrated virus was inactivated using cyclized binary ethyleneimine (BEI) at a final concentration of 5 mM for 6 hours and constant agitation at 37°C. Upon completion of inactivation, the BEI was inactivated with sodium thiosulfate solution (17% by volume) with incubation at 37°C for 15 minutes. Inactivated pestivirus was formulated with 12.5% final concentration of emulsigen D and used as putative vaccine candidate in Example 4.

All of the compositions and methods disclosed and claimed herein can be made and executed without undue experimentation in light of the present disclosure. While the compositions and methods of this invention have been described in terms of preferred embodiments, it will be apparent to those of skill in the art that variations may be applied to the compositions and methods and in the steps or in the sequence of steps of the method described herein without departing from the concept, spirit and scope of the invention. More specifically, it will be apparent that certain agents which are both chemically and physiologically related may be substituted for the agents described herein while the same or similar results would be achieved. All such similar substitutes and modifications apparent to those skilled in the art are deemed to be within the spirit, scope and concept of the invention as defined by the following claims.