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Reverse genetics of measles virus and resulting multivalent recombinant vaccines: applications of recombinant measles viruses.

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University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland.


An overview is given on the development of technologies to allow reverse genetics of RNA viruses, i.e., the rescue of viruses from cDNA, with emphasis on nonsegmented negative-strand RNA viruses (Mononegavirales), as exemplified for measles virus (MV). Primarily, these technologies allowed site-directed mutagenesis, enabling important insights into a variety of aspects of the biology of these viruses. Concomitantly, foreign coding sequences were inserted to (a) allow localization of virus replication in vivo through marker gene expression, (b) develop candidate multivalent vaccines against measles and other pathogens, and (c) create candidate oncolytic viruses. The vector use of these viruses was experimentally encouraged by the pronounced genetic stability of the recombinants unexpected for RNA viruses, and by the high load of insertable genetic material, in excess of 6 kb. The known assets, such as the small genome size of the vector in comparison to DNA viruses proposed as vectors, the extensive clinical experience of attenuated MV as vaccine with a proven record of high safety and efficacy, and the low production cost per vaccination dose are thus favorably complemented.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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