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Virology. 1994 Dec;205(2):511-8.

Inactivation of glycoprotein gE and thymidine kinase or the US3-encoded protein kinase synergistically decreases in vivo replication of pseudorabies virus and the induction of protective immunity.

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Virology Branch, Institute for Animal Science and Health (ID-DLO), Lelystad, The Netherlands.


To evaluate the contribution of glycoprotein E (gE), thymidine kinase (TK), and the US3-encoded protein kinase (PK) in the induction of protective immunity to pseudorabies virus (PRV), we intranasally inoculated pigs, the natural host of this virus, with mutant PRV strains in which the genes encoding these proteins were inactivated. Both single and double mutants were constructed. Of these proteins, gE has previously been demonstrated to induce antibodies (in mice and pigs), which require complement to neutralize the virus, and helper T cell responses (in mice). PK and TK have thus far not been reported to induce B or T cell responses. All mutants had a strongly reduced virulence for pigs in comparison with wild-type (wt) PRV. After primary infection, most virus was excreted by wt PRV-inoculated animals. Animals inoculated with gE-PK- and gE-TK- double mutants excreted less virus than animals inoculated with gE-, PK-, and TK- single mutants. After challenge infection with the virulent PRV strain NIA-3, no virus was excreted by wt PRV- and PK- mutant-immunized animals, indicating complete protective immunity. Only one of seven gE- and two of seven TK- mutant-immunized animals excreted virus after the challenge inoculation. In contrast, most animals immunized with the gE-PK- or gE-TK- double mutants excreted virus after the challenge inoculation. Daily mean virus excretion after challenge infection was inversely correlated with daily mean virus excretion after primary infection. In most animals, lack of virus excretion was associated with lack of secondary antibody responses, probably attributable to inadequate stimulation of memory B cells as a consequence of early elimination of viral antigen. Thus, inactivation of gE, TK, and PK all affected the immunogenicity of PRV and the effect of gE and TK and gE and PK inactivation appeared synergistic. We found no simple correlation between in vitro growth properties of the mutants and their immunogenic capacity. Strains lacking PK reached lower end titers in vitro than the other mutants. The most likely explanation for the lower protective capacity of some of the mutants appears their reduced replicative capacity in some cells or tissues in vivo, rather than a loss of particular epitopes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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