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Virology. 2007 May 25;362(1):151-62. Epub 2007 Jan 23.

In vitro and in vivo characterization of equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1) mutants devoid of the viral chemokine-binding glycoprotein G (gG).

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


Glycoprotein G (gG) of equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1), a structural component of virions and secreted from virus-infected cells, was shown to bind to a variety of different chemokines and as such might be involved in immune modulation. Little is known, however, about its role in the replication cycle and infection of EHV-1 in vivo. Here we report on the function of gG in context of virus infection in vitro and in vivo. A gG deletion mutant of pathogenic EHV-1 strain RacL11 (vL11DeltagG) was constructed and analyzed. Deletion of gG had virtually no effect on the growth properties of vL11DeltagG in cell culture when compared to parental virus or a rescuant virus vL11DeltagGR, respectively, and virus titers and plaque formation were unaffected in the absence of the glycoprotein. Similarly, in the murine model of EHV-1 infection, no significant differences in virulence between the gG deletion mutant and RacL11 or vL11DeltagGR were found at high doses of infection. However, infection of mice at lower doses revealed that the gG deletion mutant was able to replicate to higher titers in lungs of infected mice. Additionally, these mice lost significantly more weight than those infected with RacL11 and a more pronounced inflammatory response in lungs was observed. Therefore we concluded that deletion of gG in EHV-1 seems to lead to an exacerbation of respiratory disease in the mouse.

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