In reverse transcription-polymerase chain reactions (RT-PCR) and DNA hybridizations using primers and an oligonucleotide probe to the fusion (F) protein mRNA of bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV), all the BRSV isolates and a goat isolate could be distinguished from prototype isolates of human respiratory syncytial viruses (HRSV) and ovine (sheep and bighorn sheep) respiratory syncytial viruses (RSV). However, RT-PCR amplifications with primers to sequences of the HRSV F protein mRNA resulted in amplified products of ≍ 243 bp if mRNA templates of subgroup A HRSV strains were present and slightly larger amplified products with subgroup B HRSV strains. No amplified products were observed in HRSV-primed RT-PCR with BRSV or goat or ovine RSV mRNA templates. Although the ovine RSV isolates were antigenically cross-reactive with the goat RSV, HRSV and BRSV isolates, they were not amplified with either HRSV- or BRSV-specific primers in RT-PCR. These results confirm previous immunological comparisons suggesting that some ovine RSV isolates should be considered as distinct respiratory syncytial viruses.
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