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Vaccine. 2012 Feb 21;30(9):1609-16. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.12.108. Epub 2012 Jan 13.

Myxomavirus as a vector for the immunisation of sheep: protection study against challenge with bluetongue virus.

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INRA, UMR1225, IHAP, F-31076 Toulouse, France.


Recombinant poxviruses are well suited for the development of new vaccine vectors. Our previous data supported the idea that Myxomavirus (MYXV) is efficient at priming antibody responses in sheep. To provide definitive evidence on the potential of MYXV for vaccination against infectious diseases in ruminants, we investigated the immune protection provided by recombinant MYXV against bluetongue, a devastating disease in sheep. To test this concept, sheep were injected twice with an MYXV expressing the immunodominant VP2 protein (SG33-VP2). The SG33-VP2 vector promoted the production of neutralising antibodies and partially protected sheep against disease after challenge with a highly virulent strain of serotype-8 bluetongue virus (BTV-8). In contrast, an MYXV expressing both VP2 and VP5 proteins (SG33-VP2/5) elicited very little protection. The expression levels of the VP2 and VP5 proteins suggested that, greater than the co-expression of the VP5 protein which was previously thought to favour anti-VP2 antibody response, the high expression of VP2 may be critical in the MYXV context to stimulate a protective response in sheep. This highlights the requirement for a careful examination of antigen expression before any conclusion can be drawn on the respective role of the protective antigens. As a proof of principle, our study shows that an MYXV vaccine vector is possible in ruminants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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