Division of Livestock Infectious Diseases, State Key Laboratory of Veterinary Biotechnology, Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, No. 427 Maduan Street, Harbin 150001, China
Infection by foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) is triggered by the acidic pH in endosomes after virus uptake by receptor-mediated endocytosis. However, dissociation of the FMDV 146S particle in mildly acidic conditions renders inactivated foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) vaccines much less effective. Type Asia1 FMDV mutants with increased resistance to acid inactivation were selected to study the molecular basis of viral resistance to acid-induced disassembly and improve the acid stability of FMDV. Sequencing of capsid-coding regions revealed four amino acid replacements (VP1 N17D, VP2 H145Y, VP2 G192D, and VP3 K153E) in the viral population of the acid-selected 10th passage. We performed single or combined mutagenesis using a reverse genetic system, and our results provide direct experimental evidence that VP2 H145Y or VP1 N17D substitution confers an acid-resistant phenotype to type Asia1 FMDV.