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J Med Virol. 1989 Sep;29(1):38-45.

Restriction fragment differences between the genomes of the Oka varicella vaccine virus and American wild-type varicella-zoster virus.

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Research Service, Veterans Administration Medical Center, St. Louis, Missouri 63106.


The Oka vaccine strains of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) have a significantly different BgII DNA restriction pattern from that of American wild-type isolates of VZV. This difference consists primarily of an additional BgII site, which lies within the BamHI "D" fragment. In conjunction with a study of the efficacy of an experimental Merck/Oka VZV vaccine, the area of the genome from which the most marked restriction pattern alteration arises was studied more closely to determine if there are other significant differences between the Oka strains and American wild-type strains. BamHI "D" fragments from the DNA of the Oka parent strain (the progenitor of the vaccine strain), the RIT/Oka vaccine strain (a derivative of the Oka parent strain), the Merck/Oka vaccine strain, and the EF strain (an American wild type), were submitted to extensive endonuclease digestion studies to ascertain if additional unique restriction sites are present in the Oka parent or vaccine strains. The extra BgII restriction site characteristic of the Merck/Oka vaccine strain is also present in the DNA of the parent virus as well as its derivatives and was therefore not produced by the "attenuation" process. No other novel sites were found in the Oka parent or Oka-derived strains in this section of the genome. The Merck/Oka vaccine strain of VZV, despite its Japanese origin, is therefore quite similar to circulating American varicella-zoster virus strains. Varicella-zoster virus DNA, at least in the area of the BamHI D fragment, also appears to be remarkably stable from strain to strain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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