Protection of chickens against H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza virus infection by live vaccination with infectious laryngotracheitis virus recombinants expressing H5 hemagglutinin and N1 neuraminidase.Vaccine. 2009 Jan 29; 27(5):773-85.V
Attenuated vaccine strains of the alphaherpesvirus causing infectious laryngotracheitis of chickens (ILTV, gallid herpesvirus 1) can be used for mass application. Previously, we showed that live virus vaccination with recombinant ILTV expressing hemagglutinin of highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIV) protected chickens against ILT and fowl plague caused by HPAIV carrying the corresponding hemagglutinin subtypes [Lüschow D, Werner O, Mettenleiter TC, Fuchs W. Protection of chickens from lethal avian influenza A virus infection by live-virus vaccination with infectious laryngotracheitis virus recombinants expressing the hemagglutinin (H5) gene. Vaccine 2001;19(30):4249-59; Veits J, Lüschow D, Kindermann K, Werner O, Teifke JP, Mettenleiter TC, et al. Deletion of the non-essential UL0 gene of infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT) virus leads to attenuation in chickens, and UL0 mutants expressing influenza virus haemagglutinin (H7) protect against ILT and fowl plague. J Gen Virol 2003;84(12):3343-52]. However, protection against H5N1 HPAIV was not satisfactory. Therefore, a newly designed dUTPase-negative ILTV vector was used for rapid insertion of the H5-hemagglutinin, or N1-neuraminidase genes of a recent H5N1 HPAIV isolate. Compared to our previous constructs, protein expression was considerably enhanced by insertion of synthetic introns downstream of the human cytomegalovirus immediate-early promoter within the 5'-nontranslated region of the transgenes. Deletion of the viral dUTPase gene did not affect in vitro replication of the ILTV recombinants, but led to sufficient attenuation in vivo. After a single ocular immunization, all chickens developed H5- or N1-specific serum antibodies. Nevertheless, animals immunized with N1-ILTV died after subsequent H5N1 HPAIV challenge, although survival times were prolonged compared to non-vaccinated controls. In contrast, all chickens vaccinated with either H5-ILTV alone, or H5- and N1-ILTV simultaneously, survived without showing any clinical signs. Real-time RT-PCR indicated limited challenge virus replication after vaccination with H5-ILTV only, which was completely blocked after coimmunization with N1-ILTV. Thus, chickens can be protected from H5N1 HPAIV-induced disease by live vaccination with an attenuated hemagglutinin-expressing ILTV recombinant, and efficacy can be further increased by coadministration of an ILTV mutant expressing neuraminidase. Furthermore, chickens vaccinated with ILTV vectors can be easily differentiated from influenza virus-infected animals by the absence of serum antibodies against the AIV nucleoprotein.