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Virology. 1997 Dec 8;239(1):36-45.

Equine herpesvirus 1 mutants devoid of glycoprotein B or M are apathogenic for mice but induce protection against challenge infection.

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Institute for Medical Microbiology, Infectious and Epidemic Diseases, Ludwig-Maximillians-Universität München, Germany.


Equine herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1) mutants devoid of the open reading frames (ORFs) of either glycoprotein (g) B or M were constructed and tested for their immunogenic potential in a murine model of EHV-1 infection. The mutant viruses were engineered using the virulent EHV-1 strain RacL11 or the modified live vaccine strain RacH by inserting the Escherichia coli LacZ gene into the viral ORFs. RacL11-infected mice showed signs typical of an EHV-1 infection, whereas mice infected with the EHV-1 gB- or gM-negative mutants or with RacH did not develop disease. No difference in the pathogenic potential of RacL11 gB- and gM-negative viruses was observed after application of either phenotypically completed or negative viruses. However, revertant RacL11 viruses in which the gB or gM gene had been restored caused EHV-1-related symptoms that were indistinguishable from those induced by RacL11. Mice that had been immunized with phenotypically negative gB- and gM-deficient EHV-1 were challenged with the RacL11 virus 25 days after immunization. Mock-immunized mice developed EHV-1 disease and high virus loads in their lungs were observed. In contrast, mice developed not exhibit EHV-1-caused disease. It was concluded (i) that deletion of either gB or gM abolished the virulence of strain RacL11 and (ii) that immunization with gB- or gM-negative EHV-1 elicited a protective immunity that was reflected by both virus-neutralizing antibodies and EHV-1-specific T-cells in spleens of immunized mice.

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