FMDV replicons encoding green fluorescent protein are replication competent

Fiona Tulloch, Uday Pathania, Garry A Luke, John Nicholson, Nicola J Stonehouse, David J Rowlands, Terry Jackson, Toby Tuthill, Juergen Haas, Angus I Lamond, Martin D Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study of replication of viruses that require high bio-secure facilities can be accomplished with less stringent containment using non-infectious 'replicon' systems. The FMDV replicon system (pT7rep) reported by Mclnerney et al. (2000) was modified by the replacement of sequences encoding chloramphenicol acetyl-transferase (CAT) with those encoding a functional L proteinase (L(pro)) linked to a bi-functional fluorescent/antibiotic resistance fusion protein (green fluorescent protein/puromycin resistance, [GFP-PAC]). Cells were transfected with replicon-derived transcript RNA and GFP fluorescence quantified. Replication of transcript RNAs was readily detected by fluorescence, whilst the signal from replication-incompetent forms of the genome was >2-fold lower. Surprisingly, a form of the replicon lacking the L(pro) showed a significantly stronger fluorescence signal, but appeared with slightly delayed kinetics. Replication can, therefore, be quantified simply by live-cell imaging and image analyses, providing a rapid and facile alternative to RT-qPCR or CAT assays.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-40
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Virological Methods
Early online date4 Sep 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


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