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Vaccine. 2011 Nov 28;29(51):9493-8. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.10.024. Epub 2011 Oct 19.

Avian metapneumovirus M2:2 protein inhibits replication in Vero cells: modification facilitates live vaccine development.

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Department of Infection Biology, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, University of Liverpool, Leahurst Campus, Neston, Cheshire CH64 7TE, United Kingdom.


Throughout the world, avian metapneumovirus (AMPV) infection of subtype A is principally controlled by two live vaccines both derived from UK field strain #8544. Improvements of those vaccines by use of reverse genetics technology was found to be hampered by the inability of #8544 to replicate in the commonly exploited Vero cell based reverse genetics system. A systematic reverse genetics based genome modification of a DNA copy of #8544, employing sequence data from a Vero grown, #8544 derived, live vaccine; was used to determine mutations required to facilitate virus recovery and replication in Vero cells. This identified a single coding substitution in the M2:2 reading frame as responsible. Furthermore, ablation of M2:2 was found to elicit the same outcome. M2:2 sequence analysis of seven AMPVs found Vero cell adaption to be associated with non similar amino acid changes in M2:2. The study shows that M2:2 modification of field virus #8544 will enable research leading to improved vaccines. This may have more general application to other AMPV field strains.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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