Replicon particles derived from a vaccine strain of Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEE) virus were used as vectors for expression in vivo of the major envelope proteins (GL and M) of equine arteritis virus (EAV), both individually and in heterodimer form (GL/M). The immunogenicity of the different replicons was evaluated in horses, as was their ability to protectively immunize horses against intranasal and intrauterine challenge with a virulent strain of EAV (EAV KY84). Horses immunized with replicons that express both the GL and M proteins in heterodimer form developed neutralizing antibodies to EAV, shed little or no virus, and developed only mild or inapparent signs of equine viral arteritis (EVA) after challenge with EAV KY84. In contrast, unvaccinated horses and those immunized with replicons expressing individual EAV envelope proteins (M or GL) shed virus for 6-10 days in their nasal secretions and developed severe signs of EVA after challenge. These data confirm that replicons that co-express the GL and M envelope proteins effectively, induce EAV neutralizing antibodies and protective immunity in horses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health