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J Virol. 2011 May;85(10):5036-47. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02548-10. Epub 2011 Mar 9.

Development of a glycoprotein D-expressing dominant-negative and replication-defective herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) recombinant viral vaccine against HSV-2 infection in mice.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Using the T-REx (Invitrogen, California) gene switch technology and a dominant-negative mutant polypeptide of herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1)-origin binding protein UL9, we previously constructed a glycoprotein D-expressing replication-defective and dominant-negative HSV-1 recombinant viral vaccine, CJ9-gD, for protection against HSV infection and disease. It was demonstrated that CJ9-gD is avirulent following intracerebral inoculation in mice, cannot establish detectable latent infection following different routes of infection, and offers highly effective protective immunity against primary HSV-1 and HSV-2 infection and disease in mouse and guinea pig models of HSV infections. Given these favorable safety and immunological profiles of CJ9-gD, aiming to maximize levels of HSV-2 glycoprotein D (gD2) expression, we have constructed an ICP0 null mutant-based dominant-negative and replication-defective HSV-2 recombinant, CJ2-gD2, that contains 2 copies of the gD2 gene driven by the tetracycline operator (tetO)-bearing HSV-1 major immediate-early ICP4 promoter. CJ2-gD2 expresses gD2 as efficiently as wild-type HSV-2 infection and can lead to a 150-fold reduction in wild-type HSV-2 viral replication in cells coinfected with CJ2-gD2 and wild-type HSV-2 at the same multiplicity of infection. CJ2-gD2 is avirulent following intracerebral injection and cannot establish a detectable latent infection following subcutaneous (s.c.) immunization. CJ2-gD2 is a more effective vaccine than HSV-1 CJ9-gD and a non-gD2-expressing dominant-negative and replication-defective HSV-2 recombinant in protection against wild-type HSV-2 genital disease. Using recall response, we showed that immunization with CJ2-gD2 elicited strong HSV-2-specific memory CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell responses. Collectively, given the demonstrated preclinical immunogenicity and its unique safety profiles, CJ2-gD2 represents a new class of HSV-2 replication-defective recombinant viral vaccines in protection against HSV-2 genital infection and disease.

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