Introduction: The large genetic variability of Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is mirrored by the existence of several highly divergent subtypes. Information regarding the prevalence and distribution of FIV-subtypes are therefore important prerequisites for the development of vaccines and diagnostic tests.
Material and methods: FIV-proviral DNA was isolated from blood of thirty domestic cats. Fragments of the viral gag and env genes were amplified by PCR and directly sequenced. A comparative phylogenetic analysis was performed based on both investigated gene-fragments.
Results: Both within samples from Austria and Germany, we identified strains that belonged to at least two highly divergent subtypes of FIV.
All of the few investigated Swiss isolates were classified as subtype A strains whereas the Italian ones belonged to subtype B.
Discussion: The Central European FIV-population can be considered highly heterogeneous. The presented study provides important information for the development of vaccines and molecular methods for diagnosis and quantification of FIV.
Feline immunodeficiency virus / domestic cats / Central Europe / sequencing / phylogenetic analysis