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01.12.2018 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

Virology Journal 1/2018

Full genome characterization of porcine circovirus type 3 isolates reveals the existence of two distinct groups of virus strains

Virology Journal > Ausgabe 1/2018
Robert Fux, Christina Söckler, Ellen Kathrin Link, Christine Renken, Roman Krejci, Gerd Sutter, Mathias Ritzmann, Matthias Eddicks
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12985-018-0929-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



The occurrence of the novel porcine circovirus type 3 (PCV3) was reported from the Americas, Asia and Europe. Although this virus was detected in association with various clinical syndromes in pigs, its role as possible swine pathogen remains unclear. PCV3 was detected with high prevalence in Polish farms, but to date no genome sequences were available from European PCV3 strains.


We collected 1060 serum samples from piglets at the age of 20–24 weeks from 53 farms distributed all over Germany. PCV3 DNA was detected using a real-time PCR and subsequently complete PCV3 genome sequences were obtained after multiply primed rolling circle amplification and sequencing of overlapping PCR products. Phylogenetic analysis was performed by neighbor-joining method and maximum likelihood method.


We obtained 15 complete PCV3 genome sequences as well as nine partial sequences including the putative ORFs 1, 2 and 3 from PCV3 viremic animals in German pig farms. Phylogenetic analysis of these German as well as 30 full genome sequences received from GenBank divided the PCV3 strains into two main groups and several subclusters. Furthermore, we were able to define group specific amino acid patterns in open reading frame 1 and 2.


PCV3 is distributed with high prevalence in German pig industry. Phylogenetic analysis revealed two clearly separated groups of PCV3 strains, which might be considered as PCV3 genotypes. Specific nucleotide and amino acid marker positions may serve for easy and fast intraspecies classification and genotyping of PCV3 strains. No correlation between PCV3 variants with their geographical origin was evident. We found the same diversity of PCV3 strains in Germany as in other countries. We hypothesize that PCV3 is not a newly emerging virus in the German pig population. Future studies will have to show, if PCV3 genotype specific biological properties are evident.
Additional file 1: PCV3 sequences used for phylogenetic analysis. (DOCX 15 kb)
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