Veterinary World

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Research (Published online: 10-06-2016)

7. Diversity of Meq gene from clinical Marek’s disease virus infection in Saudi Arabia - Mahmoud H. A. Mohamed, Ibrahim M. El-Sabagh, Malik A. Al-Habeeb and Yousef M. Al-Hammady

Veterinary World, 9(6): 572-578



   doi: 10.14202/vetworld.2016.572-578



Mahmoud H. A. Mohamed: Department of Clinical Studies, College of Veterinary Medicine, King Faisal University, Al-Hufof, 31982, Saudi Arabia; Department of Avian and Rabbit Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Zagazig University, 44519, Zagazig, Egypt;

Ibrahim M. El-Sabagh: Central Biotechnology Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, King Faisal University, Al-Hufof, 31982, Saudi Arabia; Department of Virology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Cairo University, 12211, Giza, Egypt;

Malik A. Al-Habeeb: Excutive Department of Risk Assessment, Saudi Food and Drug Authority, Saudi Arabia;

Yousef M. Al-Hammady: Central Veterinary Laboratory, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia;


Received: 27-01-2016, Accepted: 22-04-2016, Published online: 10-06-2016


Corresponding author: Ibrahim M. El-Sabagh, e-mail:

Citation: Mohamed MHA, El-Sabagh IM, Al-Habeeb MA, Al-Hammady YM (2016) Diversity of Meq gene from clinical Marek’s disease virus infection in Saudi Arabia, Veterinary World, 9(6): 572-578.

Aim: The aim of this study was to demonstrate the genomic features of Meq gene of Marek’s disease virus (MDV) recently circulating in Saudi Arabia (SA).

Materials and Methods: Two poultry flocks suffering from mortalities and visceral tumors were presented to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, King Faisal University, SA. Subjected to different diagnostic procedures: Case history, clinical signs, and necropsy as well as polymerase chain reaction followed by Meq gene sequence analysis.

Results: Case history, clinical signs, and necropsy were suggestive of MDV infection. The Meq gene was successfully detected in liver and spleen of infected chickens. A 1062 bp band including the native Meq ORF in addition to a 939 bp of S-Meq (short isoform of Meq) were amplified from Saudi 01-13 and Saudi 02-13, respectively. The nucleotide and deduced amino acids sequences of the amplified Meq genes of both Saudi isolates showed distinct polymorphism when compared with the standard USA virulent isolates Md5 and GA. The sequence analysis of the S-Meq gene showed a 123 bp deletion representing 41 amino acids between two proline-rich areas without any frameshift. The Meq gene encoded four repeats of proline-rich repeats (PRRs sequences), whereas the S-Meq contains only two PRRs. Interestingly, the phylogenetic analysis revealed that both of SA MDV isolates are closely related to the MDV strains from Poland.

Conclusion: The two MDV isolates contain several nucleotide polymorphisms resulting in distinct amino acid substitutions. It is suggested that migratory and wild birds, as well as world trading of poultry and its by-products, have a great contribution in the transmission of MDVs overseas.

Keywords: deletion, Marek’s disease virus, Meq gene sequence, phylogenic analysis, Saudi Arabia.

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