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Virology. 2001 Feb 15;280(2):283-91.

Protection of rabbits against rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus by immunization with the VP60 protein expressed in plants with a potyvirus-based vector.

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Centro Nacional de Biotecnología-CSIC, Campus de la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 28049 Madrid, Spain.


A new plum pox potyvirus (PPV)-based vector has been constructed for the expression of full-length individual foreign proteins. The foreign sequences are cloned between the NIb replicase and capsid protein (CP) cistrons. The heterologous protein is split from the rest of the potyviral polyprotein by cleavage at the site that originally separated the NIb and CP proteins and at an additional NIa protease recognition site engineered at its amino-terminal end. This vector (PPV-NK) has been used to clone different genes, engendering stable chimeras with practical applications. We have constructed a chimera expressing high levels of jellyfish green fluorescent protein, which can be very useful for the study of PPV molecular biology. The VP60 structural protein of rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) was also successfully expressed by making use of the PPV-NK vector. Inoculation of extracts from VP60-expressing plants induced a remarkable immune response against RHDV in rabbits, its natural host. Moreover, these animals were protected against a lethal challenge with RHDV.

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