Molecular characterization of circulating avian metapneumovirus, subgroup B, in broiler chickens, Iran, 2016-2018

Document Type : Full paper (Original article)


1 Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Karaj Branch, Islamic Azad University, Karaj, Iran

2 Ph.D. Student in Virology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Veterinary Service, Savapars Company (Ceva Sante Animale Co. Exclusive Distributor in Iran), Tehran, Iran

4 Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran

5 Department of Poultry Diseases, Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute, Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Karaj, Iran

6 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


Background: Avian metapneumovirus (aMPV) infection has significant economic impacts on the poultry industry all around the world. Aims: The aim of this study is molecular investigations of different types of aMPV in broiler farms in different provinces of Iran from 2016 to 2018. Methods: Tracheal and oropharyngeal swabs were collected from two hundred broiler chickens with respiratory signs in ten provinces of Iran, including Kurdistan, West Azerbaijan, Semnan, Esfahan, Sistan and Baluchistan, Qazvin, Khuzestan, Fars, Gilan, and Khorasan Razavi from February 2016 to December 2018. After RNA extraction, the presence of aMPV was confirmed using N gene special primers. Then, subtype-specific primers were utilized to differentiate the specific subtype. All positive samples were sequenced. Results: As a general trend, the percentage of aMPV positive chickens increased gradually over time. All samples were clustered together and placed in the subtype B aMPV group. Although 2 samples from 2016 and 2 samples from 2018 were placed in a separate branch, most of the current study samples of 2016, 2017, and 2018 revealed six segregated sub-branches, and they were placed close to other isolates of 2011 and 2013 from Iran. Conclusion: The current field study indicated the presence of aMPV in a considerable number of areas in Iran. Thus, the role of this virus in broiler respiratory complex should not be neglected.


Main Subjects

Alvarez, R; Lwamba, HM; Kapczynski, DR; Njenga, MK and Seal, BS (2003). Nucleotide and predicted amino acid sequence-based analysis of the avian metapneumovirus type C cell attachment glycoprotein gene: phylogenetic analysis and molecular epidemiology of US pneumoviruses. J. Clin. Microbiol., 41: 1730-1735.
Bäyon-Auboyer, MH; Arnauld, C; Toquin, D and Eterradossi, N (2000). Nucleotide sequences of the F, L and G protein genes of two non-A/non-B avian pneumoviruses (APV) reveal a novel APV subgroup. J. Gen. Virol., 81: 2723-2733.
Bayraktar, E; Umar, S; Yilmaz, A; Turan, N; Franzo, G; Tucciarone, CM;Cecchinato, M; Cakan, B; Iqbal, M and Yilmaz, M (2018). First molecular characterization of avian metapneumovirus (aMPV) in Turkish broiler flocks. Avian Dis., 62: 425-430.
Cecchinato, M; Catelli, E; Lupini, C; Ricchizzi, E; Clubbe, J; Battilani, M and Naylor, CJ (2010). Avian metapneumovirus (AMPV) attachment protein involvement in probable virus evolution concurrent with mass live vaccine introduction. Vet. Microbiol., 146: 24-34.
Chaboki, PM; Ghalyanchilangeroudi, A; Karimi, V; Abdollahi, H; Maghsoudloo, H; Hosseini, H; Farahani, RK; Ghafouri, SA; Falah, MH; Rezaee, H; Jabbarifakhr, M and Mousavi, FS (2018). Prevalence of avian metapneumovirus subtype B in live bird market in Gilan province, Iran. Vet. Res. Forum., 9: 93-97.
Cook, J (2000). Avian pneumovirus infections of turkeys and chickens. Vet. J., 160: 118-125.
Ghafouri, SA; Fallah, MH; Talakesh, SF; Hosseini, H; Ziafati, Z and Malekan, M (2019). Full genome characterization of Iranian H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza virus from Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix), 2017: The first report. Comp. Immunol. Microbiol. Infect. Dis., 64: 73-80.
Ghalyanchi-Langeroudi, A; Haghbin-Nazarpak, H and Hosseini, H (2013). Phylogenetic study based on the gene of attachment protein (G) avian metapneumovirus from broiler breeder farm in Iran, 2013. Iran. J. Virol., 7: 7-11.
Govindarajan, D; Buchholz, UJ and Samal, SK (2006). Recovery of avian metapneumovirus subgroup C from cDNA: cross-recognition of avian and human metapneumovirus support proteins. J. Virol., 80: 5790-5797.
Hall, TA (1999). BioEdit: a user-friendly biological sequence alignment editor and analysis program for Windows 95/98/NT. Nucleic Acids Symposium Series. London, UK, Information Retrieval Ltd., PP: 95-98.
Hartmann, S; Sid, H and Rautenschlein, S (2015). Avian metapneumovirus infection of chicken and turkey tracheal organ cultures: comparison of virus-host interactions. Avian Pathol., 44: 480-489.
Hesami, G and Mayahi, M (2013). Detection of avian metapneumovirus infection in broilers by nested RT-PCR. Vet. Res., 17: 159-166.
Homayounfar, N; Shoushtari, H; Charkhkar, S and Bozorgmehrifard, M (2015). Detection by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and molecular characterization of avian metapneumovirus in chicken flocks in Iran. Walia. J., 31: 170-174.
Hosseini, H and Ghalyanchi-Langeroudi, A (2012). Detection and molecular characterization of avian metapneumovirus in Iran: The first report. Iran. J. Virol., 6: 26-31.
Jones, R (1996). Avian pneumovirus infection: questions still unanswered. Avian. Pathol., 25: 639-648.
Jones, R and Rautenschlein, S (2013). Avian meta-pneumovirus. In: Swayne, DE (Ed.), Diseases of poultry. (13th Edn.), Iowa, John Wiley & Sons Inc., PP: 112-120.
Kwon, JS; Lee, HJ; Jeong, SH; Park, JY; Hong, YH; Lee, YJ; Youn, HS; Lee, DW; Do, SH; Park, SY; Choi, IS; Lee, JB and Song, CS (2010). Isolation and characterization of avian metapneumovirus from chickens in Korea. J. Vet. Sci., 11: 59-66.
Malekan, M; VasfiMarandi, M; Ranjbar, MM and Bashashati, M (2016). Molecular evaluation of M2 protein of Iranian avian influenza viruses of H9N2 subtype in order to find mutations of adamantane drug resistance. Iran. J. Vet. Med., 10: 253-262.
Nei, M and Kumar, S (2000). Molecular evolution and phylogenetics. 1st Edn., Oxford, UK, Oxford University Press. PP: 87-111.
Rahimi, M (2011). Seroprevalence of avian metapneumovirus infection in broiler and broiler breeder chickens in Iran. Vet. Med., 56: 395-399.
Saitou, N and Nei, M (1987). The neighbor-joining method: a new method for reconstructing phylogenetic trees. Mol. Biol. Evol., 4: 406-425.
Shin, HJ; Cameron, KT; Jacobs, JA; Turpin, EA; Halvorson, DA; Goyal, SM; Nagaraja, KV; Kumar, MC; Lauer, DC; Seal, BS and Njenga, MK (2002). Molecular epidemiology of subgroup C avian pneumoviruses isolated in the United States and comparison with subgroup A and B viruses. J. Clin. Microbiol., 40: 1687-1693.
Tucciarone, CM; Andreopoulou, M; Franzo, G; Prentza, Z; Chaligiannis, I and Cecchinato, M (2017a). First identification and molecular characterization of avian metapneumovirus subtype B from chickens in Greece. Avian Dis., 61: 409-413.
Tucciarone, CM; Franzo, G; Lupini, C; Alejo, CT; Listorti, V; Mescolini, G; Brandao, PE; Martini, M; Catelli, E and Cecch (2017b). Avian Metapneumovirus circulation in Italian broiler farms. Poult. Sci., 97: 503-509.
Umar, S; Sabir, H; Ahmed, A and Subhan, S (2016). Avian metapneumovirus infection in poultry. Worlds Poult. Sci. J., 72: 833-846.
Vasfi-Marandi, M; Malekan, M; Ranjbar, MM; Davachi, ND and Alamian, S (2018). Sequencing and in silico multi-aspect analysis of S1 glycoprotein in 793/B serotype of infectious bronchitis virus isolated from Iran in 2003 and 2011. Arch. Razi Inst., 73: 183-198.
Wei, L; Zhu, S; Yan, X; Wang, J; Zhang, C; Liu, S; She, R; Hu, F; Quan, R and Liu, J (2013). Avian metapneumovirus subgroup C infection in chickens, China. Emerg. Infect. Dis., 19: 1092-1094.