J Virol Methods 2019 Jul 2;269:64-69. Epub 2019 Apr 2.
OIE Reference Laboratory for Bluetongue, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell'Abruzzo e del Molise, Teramo, Italy; National Reference Center for Whole Genome Sequencing of Microbial Pathogens: Database and Bioinformatic Analysis, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell'Abruzzo e Molise, Teramo, Italy. Electronic address:
Bluetongue virus (BTV) is a segmented double-stranded RNA virus, existing in multiple serotypes, belonging to the genus Orbivirus of the family Reoviridae. BTV causes Bluetongue (BT), a major OIE-listed disease of ruminants. Identification of BTV serotype is accomplished using multiple typing assays and tends to be executed based on the known epidemiological situation within a given country. Samples containing multiple serotypes, particularly those containing novel introductions, may therefore be missed. The aim of this work was to optimize the nCounter® Analysis System Microarray platform (NanoString technologies), that would simultaneously identify all BTV serotypes and co-infections in analyzed samples. Probes were designed according to all Seg-2 sequences, coding for VP2 proteins which determine serotype specificity, available on line. A specific BTV CodeSet of probes was optimized. Experiments were performed with 30 BTV isolates and with 46 field samples previously shown to be infected with BTV by classical molecular assays. All BTV isolates were correctly identified and the expected BTV serotype was recognized in 35 field samples with C values between 22.0-33.0. In turn, it was unable to identify 11 samples with C values between 29.0-38.0. Although specificity of the assay needs to be further investigated against a larger panel of BTVs collected worldwide, RNA loads, which are normally detected in blood samples during the acute phase of infection, are within the range of C values detectable by the BTV CodeSet. We propose the NanoString RNA microarray as a first-line molecular diagnostic tool for identification and typing of BTV. Once identification of the index cases is performed, diagnosis of the following samples may be performed by specific, more sensitive and cheaper PCR-based tools.