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Sequential addition of temperature-sensitive missense mutations into the PB2 gene of influenza A transfectant viruses can effect an increase in temperature sensitivity and attenuation and permits the rational design of a genetically engineered live influenza A virus vaccine

Subbarao, E.K., Park, E.J., Lawson, C.M., Chen, A.Y. and Murphy, B.R. (1995) Sequential addition of temperature-sensitive missense mutations into the PB2 gene of influenza A transfectant viruses can effect an increase in temperature sensitivity and attenuation and permits the rational design of a genetically engineered live influenza A virus vaccine. Journal of Virology, 69 (10). pp. 5969-5799.

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Abstract

We have previously described a strategy for the recovery of a synthetic influenza A virus wild-type (wt) PB2 gene (derived from influenza A/Ann Arbor/6/60 [AA] virus) into an infectious virus. It was possible to introduce an attenuating temperature-sensitive (ts) mutation at amino acid residue 265 of the AA wt PB2 gene and to rescue this mutant gene into infectious virus. Application of this new technology to influenza A virus vaccine development requires that multiple attenuating mutations be introduced to achieve a satisfactorily attenuated virus that retains the attenuation (att) phenotype following replication in vivo. In this report, we demonstrate that putative ts mutations at amino acids 112, 556, and 658 each indeed specify the ts and att phenotypes. Each of these mutations was introduced into a cDNA copy of the AA mutant mt265 PB2 gene to produce three double-mutant PB2 genes, each of which was rescued into an infectious virus. In general, the double-mutant PB2 transfectant viruses were more ts and attenuated in the lower respiratory tracts of hamsters than the single-mutant transfectant viruses, and the ts phenotype of two of three double-mutant PB2 transfectant viruses was stable even after prolonged replication in the upper respiratory tracts of immunocompromised mice. Two triple-mutant PB2 transfectant viruses with three predicted amino acid substitutions resulting from five nucleotide substitutions in the cDNA were then generated. The triple-mutant PB2 transfectant viruses were more ts and more attenuated than the double-mutant PB2 transfectant viruses. These results indicate that sequential introduction of additional ts mutations into the PB2 gene can yield mutants that exhibit a stepwise increase in temperature sensitivity and attenuation compared with the preceding mutant(s) in the series. Furthermore, the level of temperature sensitivity of the transfectant viruses correlated significantly with the level of attenuation of these viruses in hamsters. Although the triple-mutant PB2 transfectant viruses were attenuated in hamsters, intranasal administration of these viruses elicited a vigorous serum hemagglutination-inhibiting antibody response, and this was associated with resistance of the lower respiratory tract to subsequent wt virus challenge. These observations suggest the feasibility of using PB2 reverse genetics to generate a live influenza A virus vaccine donor strain that contains three attenuating mutations in one gene. It is predicted that reassortant viruses derived from such a donor virus would have the properties of attenuation, genetic stability, immunogenicity, and protective efficacy against challenge with wt virus.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/24369
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