Bovine leukemia virus structural gene vectors are immunogenic and lack pathogenicity in a rabbit model

Lucia Kucerova, Veronika Altanerova, Cestmir Altaner, Kathleen Boris-Lawrie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Infection with a replication-competent bovine leukemia virus structural gene vector (BLV SGV) is an innovative vaccination approach to prevent disease by complex retroviruses. Previously we developed BLV SGV that constitutively expresses BLV gag, pol, and env and related cis-acting sequences but lacks tax, rex, RIII, and GIV and most of the BLV long terminal repeat sequences, including the cis-acting Tax and Rex response elements. The novel SGV virus is replication competent and replicates a selectable vector to a titer similar to that of the parental BLV in cell culture. The overall goal of this study was to test the hypothesis that infection with BLV SGV is nonpathogenic in rabbits. BLV infection of rabbits by inoculation of cell- free BLV or cell-associated BLV typically causes an immunodeficiency-like syndrome and death by 1 year postinfection. We sought to evaluate whether in vivo transfection of BLV provirus recapitulates pathogenic BLV infection and to compare BLV and BLV SGV with respect to infection, immunogenicity, and clinical outcome. Three groups of rabbits were subjected to in vivo transfection with BLV, BLV SGV, or negative control DNA. The results of our 20-month study indicate that in vivo transfection of rabbits with BLV recapitulates the fatal BLV infection produced by cell-free or cell- associated BLV. The BLV-infected rabbits exhibited sudden onset of clinical decline and immunodeficiency-like symptoms that culminated in death. BLV and BLV SGV infected peripheral blood mononuclear cells and induced similar levels of seroconversion to BLV structural proteins. However, BLV SGV exhibited a reduced proviral load and did not trigger the immunodeficiency- like syndrome. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that BLV SGV is infectious and immunogenic and lacks BLV pathogenicity in rabbits, and they support the use of this modified proviral vector delivery system for vaccines against complex retroviruses like BLV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8160-8166
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of virology
Volume73
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 1999

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Bovine leukemia virus structural gene vectors are immunogenic and lack pathogenicity in a rabbit model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this