MVA-vectored pentameric complex (PC) and gB vaccines improve pregnancy outcome after guinea pig CMV challenge, but only gB vaccine reduces vertical transmission

Heidi Contreras, Felix Wussow, Claudia Fernández-Alarcón, Craig Bierle, Jenny Nguyen, Don J. Diamond, Mark R. Schleiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


(1) Background: A congenital cytomegalovirus (cCMV) vaccine is a major research priority, but the essential glycoprotein target(s) remain unclear. We compared CMV gB (gpgB), gH/gL (gp75/gL), and pentameric complex (gpPC, composed of gH/gL/GP129/GP131/GP133) vaccines in a guinea pig CMV (GPCMV) congenital infection model. (2) Methods: Modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vaccines expressing GPCMV glycoproteins were used to immunize GPCMV-seronegative, female Hartley guinea pigs (three-dose series, 3 × 107 pfu/dose). After pregnancy was established, the dams underwent an early third-trimester challenge with salivary gland (SG)-adapted GPCMV. (3) Results: All vaccines elicited GPCMV-specific binding and neutralizing antibodies. Preconception immunization resulted in 19.5-, 4.9-, and 698-fold reductions in maternal DNAemia in MVA-gp75/gL, MVA-gpPC and MVA-gpgB groups, respectively, at day 14, post-SG challenge. Vaccination improved pups’ birth weight and reduced mortality and congenital CMV transmission. In controls, cCMV infection was observed in 100% of pups (mean viral load in all visceral organs, 2.4 × 104 genomes/mg), versus 50% in the gB group (visceral viral load, 9.4 × 102 genomes/mg; p < 0.05). No significant reductions in congenital transmission were noted in the MVA-gp75/gL and MVA-gpPC groups. (4) Conclusions: MVA-vectored gB, gH/gL, and PC vaccines were immunogenic, and protected against maternal DNAemia and pup mortality. These results support the inclusion of multiple glycoprotein complexes in a cCMV vaccine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number182
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2019



  • Congenital cytomegalovirus infection
  • Cytomegalovirus glycoproteins
  • Cytomegalovirus vaccine
  • Guinea pig cytomegalovirus
  • Pentameric complex (PC)

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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