2013 Annual Report
Objective 2: Elucidate the host-pathogen interactions associated with the Bovine Respiratory Disease Complex (BRDC) by defining host pathways modulated as a result of viral infections and characterizing the role of stress and immunological related host effector molecules in BRDC. Subobjectives: (2a) Define interactions of viral pathogens that may contribute to the development of respiratory disease; (2b) Define modulation of host immune response to viral infection associated with stress caused by vitamin D insufficiency.
Objective 3: Evaluate formulations and delivery systems for vaccination of neonates by identifying means to modulate stress and immunological factors associated with BRDC. Generate identification criteria and means to generate “vaccine ready” calves to develop intervention strategies for controlling viral respiratory infections of ruminants. Subobjectives: (3a) Identify factors, associated with common management practices, that modulate immune function in neonatal calves; (3b) Evaluate candidate vaccine for use in calves.
In support of objective 2, ARS researchers in Ames, IA compared immune tissue collected from non infected calves and calves infected with BVDV strains of varying virulence. They found that regardless of virulence, BVDV infections leave calves with damaged lymphoid tissues which might make them less able to fight off subsequent infections. We have also examined host genetic markers that are associated with BVDV immunosuppression and persistent infection. Studies are being designed to determine the function of these genetic markers. We have evaluated the effects of vitamin D status on immune response to infection with BRSV and BVDV. Results suggested that vitamin D status has a positive effect the immune response to BRSV and BVDV infections. We also found that proteins produced by BVDV bind host proteins associated with immune response. This may slow the host’s ability to fight off pathogens.
In support of Objective 3, two collaborations focused on vaccine development. In one, ARS researchers in Ames, IA made a vaccine against BRSV based on the attachment of proteins to small spheres (nanoparticles). This vaccine has been tested in cultured cells and plans are to test it in cattle. In another, ARS researchers at Ames, IA and a commercial biologics company developed a killed BVDV vaccine, based on expression of BVDV proteins in a defective Alphavirus particle called a replicon. Replicons infect cells and make viral proteins but do not to give rise to offspring viruses that are able to infect cells. It was shown that the new vaccine protected calves from disease. A third collaboration between ARS researchers in Ames, IA and a land grant university examined response to vaccination in cattle herds. It was found that not all cattle are protected from infection following vaccination. Future research will focus on why some cattle are protected and others are not.
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