In 2012, a mutant porcine circovirus type 2 (mPCV2) strain was identified in cases of PCVassociated disease (PCVAD) in the USA. The mPCV2 had an additional amino acid, lysine (K), in the capsid at position 234. The objectives of this study were to compare the pathogenicity of mPCV2, PCV2a and PCV2b in pigs using biologically pure infectious virus stocks derived from respective infectious DNA clones, and to investigate the importance of genotype-specific ORF2 and the presence of lysine at position 234 of the capsid. A total of 47, 2-week-old, caesareanderived, colostrum-deprived (CDCD) pigs were assigned to one of seven groups. At 3 weeks of age, the pigs were experimentally inoculated with saline, PCV2a, PCV2b, mPCV2, PCV2b-234-K (lysine addition in ORF2), chimeric PCV2b-ORF1/mPCV2-ORF2 or reciprocal chimeric mPCV2- ORF1/PCV2b-ORF2. All pigs were necropsied 21 days post-infection (p.i.). Gross lesions were limited to visible icterus and loss of body condition in a portion of the mPCV2 pigs. The amount of PCV2 DNA was significantly higher in pigs inoculated with mPCV2 compared with PCV2b in sera at 7 days p.i. and faecal swabs at 14 days p.i. Based on lymphoid lesions, a higher prevalence of PCVAD was seen in pigs infected with PCV2s containing the additional 234-K (64.3 %) compared with those infected with a PCV2 with the regular 233 bp ORF2 (40 %). Results indicated that all PCV2 isolates were capable of inducing severe lesions and disease in the CDCD pig model, and there was no significant difference in virulence.
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