Recombinant Marek's disease virus (MDV) lacking the Meq oncogene confers protection against challenge with a very virulent plus strain of MDV

Lucy F. Lee, Blanca Lupiani, Robert F. Silva, Hsing-Jien Kung, Sanjay M. Reddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Scopus citations


Marek's disease virus (MDV) encodes a basic leucine-zipper protein, Meq, that shares homology with the Jun/Fos family of transcriptional factors. Conclusive evidence that Meq is an oncogene of MDV came from recent studies of a Meq-null virus, rMd5ΔMeq. This virus replicated well in vitro, but was non-oncogenic in vivo. Further characterization of this virus in vivo indicated that the meq gene is dispensable for cytolytic infection since it replicated well in the lymphoid organs and feather follicular epithelium. Since rMd5ΔMeq virus was apathogenic for chickens, we set out to investigate whether this virus could be a good candidate vaccine. Vaccine efficacy experiments conducted in Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratory (ADOL) 15I5 × 71 chickens vaccinated with rMd5ΔMeq virus or an ADOL preparation of CVI988/Rispens indicated that the Meq-null virus provided protection superior to CVI988/Rispens, the most efficacious vaccine presently available, following challenge with a very virulent (rMd5) and a very virulent plus (648A) MDV strains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1887-1892
Number of pages6
Issue number15
StatePublished - Mar 28 2008



  • Marek's disease virus
  • Meq oncogene
  • Recombinant MDV
  • Vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Microbiology
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • veterinary(all)

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