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Antiviral potency and functional analysis of tetherin orthologues encoded by horse and donkey

Xin Yin12, Miaomiao Guo2, Qinyong Gu12, Xingliang Wu2, Ping Wei1* and Xiaojun Wang2*

Author Affiliations

1 College of Veterinary Medicine, Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin, China

2 State Key Laboratory of Veterinary Biotechnology, Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, the Chinese Academy of Agriculture Sciences, Harbin, China

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Virology Journal 2014, 11:151  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-11-151

Published: 27 August 2014



Tetherin is an interferon-inducible host cell factor that blocks the viral particle release of the enveloped viruses. Most knowledge regarding the interaction between tetherin and viruses has been obtained using the primate lentiviral system. However, much less is known about the functional roles of tetherin on other lentiviruses. Equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) is an important macrophage-tropic lentivirus that has been widely used as a practical model for investigating the evolution of the host-virus relationship. The host range of EIAV is reported to include all members of the Equidae family. However, EIAV has different clinical responses in horse and donkey. It’s intriguing to investigate the similarities and differences between the tetherin orthologues encoded by horse and donkey.


We report here that there are two equine tetherin orthologues. Compared to horse tetherin, there are three valine amino acid deletions within the transmembrane domain and three distinct mutations within the ectodomain of donkey tetherin. However, the antiviral activity of donkey tetherin was not affected by amino acid deletion or substitution. In addition, both tetherin orthologues encoded by horse and donkey are similarly sensitive to EIAV Env protein, and equally activate NF-κB signaling.


Our data suggest that both tetherin orthologues encoded by horse and donkey showed similar antiviral activities and abilities to induce NF-κB signaling. In addition, the phenomenon about the differential responses of horses and donkeys to infection with EIAV was not related with the differences in the structure of the corresponding tetherin orthologues.

Equine tetherin; Antiviral activity; EIAV; NF-κB