U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version


Document Type



Published in Beef Research Program Progress Report, No. 4, Part 2 (May 1993)


Bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) is a RNA virus and a prototype member of the pestivirus genus in the genetic family Flaviviridae. Due to the rapid growth of BVDV molecular biology in the last 4 yr, our understanding of the genomic organization of BVDV has greatly increased, and a protein encoding map of the BVDV genome has been established. According to this map, it is generally accepted that a glycoprotein, identified as gp116, is the precursor which gives rise to gp62 and gp53 proteins through a proteolytic process. Further protein break down of gp62 yields glycoproteins gp48 and gp25. The order of these genes in the BVDV genome would thus be gp48-gp25-gp53. Based on the serological testing results of cattle to individual BVDV proteins, a strong immune response to glycoproteins gp53 and gp48 has been found. Although considerable literature exists on the diagnosis of BVD disease, the methodologies (virus isolation, serum neutralization, etc.) are either time consuming, expensive, inconsistent, or unsuitable for use in large populations of cattle. Recently, recombinant techniques have found wide application in a second-generation assay for the detection of viral disease infection. We have produced recombinant gp48 in large amounts using these recombinant techniques. The large-scale production of the recombinant gp48 protein provided a convenient and economical source of immunobiologically useful material. This recombinant protein demonstrated great sensitivity and specificity for BVD antibody detection.