Feline leukemia virus envelope protein expression encoded by a recombinant vaccinia virus: apparent lack of immunogenicity in vaccinated animals

James H. Gilbert, Niels C Pedersen, Jack H. Nunberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

We have constructed a recombinant vaccinia virus encoding the expression of the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) envelope gene of the Gardner-Amstein strain of FeLV subgroup B. Human cells infected with the recombinant virus (vFeLVenv) express and process the FeLV envelope protein similarly to cells infected with authentic FeLV. The mature gp70 protein is transported to and accumulates on the surface of vFeLVenv-infected cells. Vaccinia virus replication and FeLV gp70 accumulation was also observed in cells of feline and murine origin, albeit at levels somewhat reduced from those in human cells. Toward the goal of developing a recombinant vaccinia virus as a live vaccine for feline leukemia disease in cats, immunogenicity studies were performed in cats and mice. These experiments yielded surprising results: although animals mounted a typical virus-neutralizing antibody response to the vaccinia virus vector, we were unable to detect antibodies against FeLV gp70 in any of the vaccinated animals. A subsequent 'booster' immunization with killed FeLV was unable to elicit evidence of immunologic 'priming' by the recombinant virus. We are presently unable to explain the apparent lack of immunogenicity. These results may point to complexities involved in the development of vaccines to protect against retrovirus infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-67
Number of pages19
JournalVirus Research
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1987

Keywords

  • Envelope gene expression
  • Feline leukemia virus
  • Recombinant vaccinia virus
  • Retroviral vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Molecular Biology
  • Virology

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