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Microbes Infect. 2004 Oct;6(12):1049-55.

Recombinant respiratory syncytial virus lacking secreted glycoprotein G is attenuated, non-pathogenic but induces protective immunity.

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Respiratory Medicine, Imperial College, St. Mary's Campus, Norfolk Place, London W2 1PG, UK.


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) causes intense pulmonary inflammatory responses in some infected infants. The surface attachment protein 'G' of RSV has membrane-bound and secreted forms and shows homology to the CX3C chemokine fractalkine. Using recombinant techniques, we generated replication-competent recombinant clonal RSV expressing normal G proteins ('rRSV') or only the membrane-bound form of G ('Gmem rRSV'). Both recombinants grew well in HEp-2 cells, but after primary intranasal infection in mice, pulmonary Gmem rRSV replication was reduced tenfold compared to parental or rRSV; moreover, CCL2 and CCL5 production was greatly reduced and no apparent disease or pulmonary cellular infiltration was observed. However, Gmem rRSV-infected mice developed good antibody responses and were fully protected against subsequent intranasal challenge with parental virus. Even in mice sensitized to G by cutaneous infection with recombinant vaccinia expressing G, intranasal challenge with Gmem rRSV caused insignificant disease. We conclude that secreted G is a key viral product assisting virus replication in vivo, enhancing CCL2 and CCL5 production and promoting illness. Engineered RSV mutants lacking the ability to secrete G are thus promising vaccine candidates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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