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Virology. 2000 Jul 20;273(1):67-79.

Protective immunity against feline immunodeficiency virus induced by inoculation with vif-deleted proviral DNA.

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Departments of Medicine and Epidemiology, University of California, Davis, California, 95616, USA.


To determine whether live-attenuated feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) proviral DNA will induce protective immunity, a plasmid clone constructed with a FIV provirus containing a deletion in the viral accessory gene vif (FIV-pPPR-Deltavif) was inoculated as proviral DNA into four cats by the intramuscular route. After 43 weeks, these cats were boosted with the same proviral plasmid. Analysis of peripheral blood mononuclear cells at several time points after the primary and booster inoculations revealed no detectable virus or proviral DNA. At 6 weeks after the booster, immunized cats and additional naive control cats were challenged with a cell-free preparation of the infectious biological isolate FIV-PPR by the intraperitoneal route. Virus was detected after challenge in unvaccinated control cats but not in any of the FIV-pPPR-Deltavif-immunized cats. Both FIV Gag- and Env-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) activities were detected in peripheral blood cells of control cats after challenge infection, whereas only one of four cats immunized with FIV-pPPR-Deltavif DNA exhibited a measurable CTL response to Env following challenge. Although anti-Gag antibodies were not detected after both proviral DNA inoculation and challenge, anti-Env antibodies were found in FIV-pPPR-Deltavif-immunized cats after vaccination as well as after challenge. These findings indicate that inoculation with FIV-pPPR-Deltavif proviral DNA induced resistance to challenge with infectious FIV and that a vif deletion mutant may provide a relatively safe attenuated lentiviral vaccine.

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