2013 Annual Report
1.1. To generate GaHV-2 recombinants containing genes encoding immunomodulators to elicit Th1 immunity.
1.2. To develop and test vaccines that mediate cell free egress.
2. Discover novel infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV) vaccine platforms that are safe, efficacious, and cost effective by determining genetic and biological determinants of gallid herpesvirus type 1 (GaHV-1) virulence and by identifying mechanisms of GaHV-1 protective immunity.
2.1. To identify predictors of virulence through sequencing of ILTV genomes of attenuated and virulent isolates from the United States.
2.2. To develop and test vaccines containing deletions in genes involved in ILTV virulence but also containing host gene additions to mediated Th1 immunity.
2. To develop and test vaccines that mediate cell-free egress. Cell free GaHV-2 vaccines will be generated by tranfering the packaging sites from the genome of a cell free avian herpesviruses into the genome of vaccine strain of GaHV-2. This hybrid genome will be encapsulated into cell free virions using either a helper virus or a packaging cell line. Chimera virions will be lyophilized and used in animal challenging experiments.
3. To identify predictors of virulence through sequencing of GaHV-1 genomes of attenuated and virulent isolates from the United States. The nucleotide sequenced of both attenuated and virulent strains of GaHV-1 will be determined using second and third generation sequencing technologies. Comparative genomic will be used to determine the polymorphorisms that occur in the attenuated genomes.
4. To develop and test vaccines containing deletions in genes involved in ILTV virulence but also containing host gene additions to mediated Th1 immunity.
Comparative genomic will be implemented to identify genes associated with virulence. These genes will be deleted and replaced with genes encoding cytokines and/or RNAi constructs in order to elicit Th1 type immunity. Candidate vaccines will be tested in animal challenging experiments with virulent field isolates.
Another project under the Marek’s program involved the nucleotide sequence determination of strains of gallid herpesvirus 2 exhibiting thymic atrophy phenotypes and mutants lacking this phenotype. It is anticipated that these sequences will be analyzed in the 4th quarter of 2013.
The genomic infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV) program for 2012 involved the generation of reagents needed to investigate the biological function of a gene (ORF C) previously identified through a comparative analysis of virulent and vaccine strains of gallid herpesvirus type 1. These reagents include the production of recombinant ORF C protein in E. coli and the use of this protein to generated monoclonal antibodies.
In the autumn of 2012, experiments were implemented to generate a recombinant containing a deletion in the ORF C gene within a virulent ILTV background. Pathogenicity studies in the spring of 2013 indicated that this recombinant was attenuated and replicated in the trachea to the same extinct as wild type virus. Clinical protection studies were likewise encouraging. These studies indicated that an ORF C deletion of ILTV can act as a potential vaccine candidate and protect against virulent ILTV challenge. The results were presented at the International Herpesvirus Workshop in Grand Rapid, MI and the American Association of Avian Pathologists in Chicago IL. In the last quarter of 2013 we have determined whether this vaccine is safe and protective when administered in ovo.
Little progress has occurred in the generation of nucleotide sequencing data from backyard field isolate of ILTV due to their poor growth characteristics in cell culture and the likelihood that the isolates are contaminated with other avian viruses. Also little progress has occurred in the generation of an ILTV recombinant containing IL-18. This was mainly due to the lack of a technician from August 2012 through June 2013.