Molecular detection and genetic manipulation of the Black Queen Cell Virus
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The South African isolate of the Black Queen-Cell Virus (BQCV), a honeybee virus, was previously found to have an 8550 nucleotide genome excluding the poly(A) tail. Its genome contained two ORFs, a 5'-proximal ORF encoding a putative replicase protein and a 3'-proximal ORF encoding a capsid polyprotein.A reverse transcriptase PCR (RT -PCR) assay was developed for the detection of BQCV and acute bee-paralysis virus (ABPV). Complete genomes sequences w ere used to design unique PCR primers within a l-kb region from the 3' end of both genomes to amplify a fragment of 70.0 bp from BQCV and 900 bp from ABPV. The combined guanidinium thiocyanate and silica membrane method was used to extract total RNA from samples of healthy and laboratory-infected bee pupae. In a blind test, RT-PCR successfully identified the samples containing BQCV and ABPV. Sensitivities were of the order of 130 genome equivalents of purified BQCV and 1600 genome equivalents of ABPV.