Molecular and Biological Characterization of a Cervidpoxvirus Isolated From Moose with Necrotizing Dermatitis

Anibal G. Armién, Tiffany M. Wolf, Sunil Kumar Mor, Terry Fei Fan Ng, Alexa J. Bracht, Sagar M. Goyal, James M. Rasmussen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Cervidpoxvirus is one of the more recently designated genera within the subfamily Chordopoxvirinae, with Deerpox virus (DPV) as the only recognized species to date. In this study, the authors describe spontaneous disease and infection in the North American moose (Alces americanus) by a novel Cervidpoxvirus, here named Moosepox virus (MPV). Three 4-month-old moose calves developed a multifocal subacute-to-chronic, necrotizing, suppurative-to-granulomatous dermatitis that affected the face and the extremities. Ultrastructurally, all stages of MPV morphogenesis—that is, crescents, spherical immature particles, mature particles, and enveloped mature virus—were observed in skin tissue. In vitro infection with MPV confirmed that its morphogenesis was similar to that of the prototype vaccinia virus. The entire coding region, including 170 putative genes of this MPV, was sequenced and annotated. The sequence length was 164,258 bp with 98.5% nucleotide identity with DPV (strain W-1170-84) based on the whole genome. The genome of the study virus was distinct from that of the reference strain (W-1170-84) in certain genes, including the CD30-like protein (83.9% nucleotide, 81.6% amino acid), the endothelin precursor (73.2% nucleotide including some indels, 51.4% amino acid), and major histocompatibility class (MHC) class I–like protein (81.0% nucleotide, 68.2% amino acid). This study provides biological characterization of a new Cervidpoxvirus attained through in vivo and in vitro ultrastructural analyses. It also demonstrates the importance of whole-genome sequencing in the molecular characterization of poxviruses identified in taxonomically related hosts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)296-310
Number of pages15
JournalVeterinary pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are thankful to Dean Muldoon for his outstanding electron microscopy preparation. We are grateful to the histology and virology team at Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory of University of Minnesota for the outstanding support. The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.


  • Alces americanus
  • cervidpoxvirus
  • dermatitis
  • electron microscopy
  • endangered species
  • moose
  • moosepox virus
  • morphogenesis
  • next-generation sequencing
  • skin
  • virus replication

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular and Biological Characterization of a Cervidpoxvirus Isolated From Moose with Necrotizing Dermatitis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this