PhD candidate, The University of Melbourne
Natural recombination events in live attenuated ILT vaccines and formation of virulent strains
Recently, two very successful vaccines that were used to control a respiratory disease in chickens have stopped working. Previously, this disease was not a major problem in poultry industry but now it causes mortalities up to 30% and the current vaccines are not able to control it. Our team has done in-depth research to describe the reason for the failure of these vaccines. With the current knowledge, we're able to suggest optimised vaccination protocols and contribute to the vaccine research in order to avoid to have the similar situations with other viruses from the same family.
Abstract: In contrast to the RNA viruses, the genome of large DNA viruses such as herpesviruses have been considered to be relatively stable. Intra-specific recombination has been proposed as an important, but underestimated, driving force in herpesvirus evolution. Recently, two distinct field strains of infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV) have been shown to have arisen from independent recombination events between different commercial ILTV vaccines. In this study we sequenced the genomes of additional ILTV strains and also utilized other recently updated complete genome sequences of ILTV to confirm the existence of a number of ILTV recombinants in nature. Multiple recombination events were detected in the unique long and repeat regions of the genome, but not in the unique short region. Most recombinants contained a pair of crossover points between two distinct lineages of ILTV, corresponding to the European origin and the Australian origin vaccine strains of ILTV. These results suggest that there are two distinct genotypic lineages of ILTV and that these commonly recombine in the field.
Pub.: 06 Feb '13, Pinned: 30 Jun '17
Abstract: Attenuated live infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV) vaccines are widely used in the poultry industry to control outbreaks of disease. Natural recombination between commercial ILTV vaccines has resulted in virulent recombinant viruses that cause severe disease, and that have now emerged as the dominant field strains in important poultry producing regions in Australia. Genotype analysis using PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism has shown one recombinant virus (class 9) has largely replaced the previously dominant class 2 field strain. To examine potential reasons for this displacement we compared the growth kinetics and transmission potential of class 2 and class 9 viruses. The class 9 ILTV grew to higher titres in cell culture and embryonated eggs, but no differences were observed in entry kinetics or egress into the allantoic fluid from the chorioallantoic membrane. In vivo studies showed that birds inoculated with class 9 ILTV had more severe tracheal pathology and greater weight loss than those inoculated with the class 2 virus. Consistent with the predominance of class 9 field strains, birds inoculated with 10(2) or 10(3) plaque forming units of class 9 ILTV consistently transmitted virus to in-contact birds, whereas this could only be seen in birds inoculated with 10(4) PFU of the class 2 virus. Taken together, the improved growth kinetics and transmission potential of the class 9 virus is consistent with improved fitness of the recombinant virus over the previously dominant field strain.
Pub.: 19 Mar '15, Pinned: 30 Jun '17
Abstract: Recombination between herpesviruses has been seen in vitro and in vivo under experimental conditions. This has raised safety concerns about using attenuated herpesvirus vaccines in human and veterinary medicine and adds to other known concerns associated with their use, including reversion to virulence and disease arising from recurrent reactivation of lifelong chronic infection. We used high-throughput sequencing to investigate relationships between emergent field strains and vaccine strains of infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV, gallid herpesvirus 1). We show that independent recombination events between distinct attenuated vaccine strains resulted in virulent recombinant viruses that became the dominant strains responsible for widespread disease in Australian commercial poultry flocks. These findings highlight the risks of using multiple different attenuated herpesvirus vaccines, or vectors, in the same populations.
Pub.: 17 Jul '12, Pinned: 30 Jun '17