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Recombinant Infectious Bronchitis Viruses expressing chimaeric spike glycoproteins induce partial protective immunity against homologous challenge despite limited replication in vivo

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    Rights statement: Copyright © 2018 Ellis et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

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Original languageEnglish
Article numbere01473-18
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number23
Early online date12 Sep 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


Vaccination regimes against Infectious bronchitis virus, which are based on a single virus serotype, often induce insufficient levels of cross-protection against serotypes and two or more antigenically diverse vaccines are used in attempt to provide broader protection. Amino acid differences in the surface protein, spike (S), in particular the S1 subunit, are associated with poor cross-protection. Here, homologous vaccination trials with recombinant IBVs, based on the apathogenic strain, BeauR, were conducted to elucidate the role of S1 in protection. A single vaccination of SPF-chickens with rIBV expressing S1 of virulent strains M41 or QX, BeauR-M41(S1) and BeauR-QX(S1), gave incomplete protection against homologous challenge, based on ciliary activity and clinical signs. There could be conformational issues with the spike if heterologous S1 and S2 are linked, suggesting a homologous S2 might be essential. To address this, a homologous vaccination-challenge trial incorporating rIBVs expressing full spike from M41, BeauR-M41(S), and S2 subunit from M41, BeauR-M41(S2) was conducted. All chimaeric viruses grew to similar titres in vitro, induced virus-specific partial protective immunity, evident by cellular infiltrations, reductions in viral RNA load in the trachea and conjunctiva and higher serum anti-IBV titres. Collectively, these show that vaccination with rIBVs primed the birds for challenge but the viruses were cleared rapidly from the mucosal tissues in the head. Chimaeric S1 and S2 viruses did not protect as effectively as BeauR-M41(S) based on ciliary activity and clinical signs. Booster vaccinations and a rIBV with improved in vivo replication may improve the levels of protection.

    Research areas

  • Avian Infectious bronchitis virus, coronavirus, spike, S1, protection, recombinant, BeauR

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