PCV2: Genetic Variation and Newly Emerging Genotypes in China

Researchers at Harbin PCV2 have discovered that porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) found in China is constantly undergoing genetic variation. Furthermore, both the predominant strain and the Cap protein (the main structural protein of PCV2) have changed over recent years.
calendar icon 26 October 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

Chang M. Liu and colleagues at the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences have published a paper on genetic variation and newly emerging genotypes of PCV2 in China in Virology Journal.

Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2), the causative agent of post-weaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS), is a serious economic problem for the swine industry in China, they explain. In this study, they investigated the genetic variation of PCV2 in China using strains isolated from 2004-2008. Viruses were isolated from samples collected from pigs with multi-systemic lesions and clinical signs of PMWS from different regions of China, and the genomes of these viruses were sequenced. The assembled sequences were used to define the genotypes of these strains; PCR-RFLP methodology was used to distinguish isolates and capture ELISA was used to demonstrate the antigenic changes resulted from ORF2 gene mutation of the isolates.


The researchers identified 19 PCV2 isolates, including four newly emerging PCV2 mutant strains. The 19 isolates were designated into three genotypes (PCV2a, PCV2b and PCV2d). PCV2d represented a novel genotype and a shift from PCV2a to PCV2b as the predominant genotype in China was identified.

This is the first report of 1766 nt PCV2 harbouring a base deletion at other new different positions.

Amino acid sequence analysis identified two novel ORF2 mutations (resulting in ORF2 sequences 705 and 708nt in length) in three deletion strains (1766 nt) and one strain with a genome 1767 nt in length.

This is the first finding of two amino acids elongation of the ORF2-encoded Cap protein in PCV2 strains anywhere in the world. The isolates were distinguished into different genotypes by PCR-RFLP methodology and antigenic changes were present in Cap protein of mutation isolates by capture ELISA.


The Harbin scientists say their study provides evidence that PCV2 is undergoing constant genetic variation and that the predominant strain in China as well as the antigenic situation has changed in recent years. Furthermore, the PCR-RFLP method presented here may be useful for the differential identification of PCV2 strains in future studies.


Long J. Guo, Yue H. Lu, Yan W. Wei, Li P. Huang and Chang M. Liu. 2010. Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2): genetic variation and newly emerging genotypes in China. Virology Journal, 7:273. doi:10.1186/1743-422X-7-273

Further Reading

- You can view the full report (as a provisional PDF) by clicking here.

Further Reading

- Find out more information on Post-Weaning Multisystemic Wasting Syndrome (PMWS) by clicking here.

October 2010
© 2000 - 2023 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.