Research at the Pirbright Institute reveals that foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) interacts with immune cells in tissues called lymphoid tissues, which are an essential part of the immune system.
This helps the virus to persist in animals such as African buffalo and allows these animals to become ‘carriers of the disease, which in turn poses a risk to other susceptible livestock.
Understanding how the animal immune system fights FMDV may provide further insight into how to create vaccines that give long-lasting immunity to livestock.
Current vaccines provide short term protection, so a better understanding of immunity to this devastating disease could lead to the development of longer lasting vaccines that would benefit those farmers whose livelihoods (food and economic security) depend on their herds.
Previous Pirbright research has shown that FMDV persists in African buffalo and understanding how this occurred is the next step in the fight against this virus. In this study, scientists used a mouse model for a detailed investigation. They discovered that FMDV binds to cells in the immune system called follicular dendritic cells, which are essential for presenting the virus to the immune system so that it can prevent disease.
Follicular dendritic cells are only found in lymphoid tissues, such as lymph nodes and the spleen. These tissues are part of the adaptive immune response which allows the immune system to mount a specific response and have ‘memory’ of it so it can recognise a subsequent infection.
Researchers also found that FMDV binds to a receptor known as CR2/CR1 on the follicular dendritic cells. This receptor is important in the adaptive immune response and this research demonstrated that it was essential for trapping and retaining the virus, which in turn leads to a better, and longer-lived immune response.
Interestingly, the study also revealed which lymphoid tissues were important in FMDV infection and correlated to researchers’ predictions on the origins of persistence in African buffalo.
Professor Bryan Charleston, Director of The Pirbright Institute and Head of the Viral Immunology group said: “This research helps to bridge the knowledge gap of how the immune system deals with FMDV infection in large animals. Our extensive work in African buffalo, a natural host of the disease, allowed us to predict why and how persistence may occur and then test this theory in a small animal model. This has given us new insights into the immune responses to FMDV and could provide clues about how to increase vaccine protection longevity.”
For more information please contact email@example.com
Tel: +44 (0) 1483 231120.
Notes to Editors
The paper ‘Foot-and-mouth disease virus localisation on follicular dendritic cells 5 and sustained induction of neutralising antibodies is dependent on 6 binding to complement receptors (CR2/CR1)’ will be available in PLOS Pathogens with the DOI/link https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1009942
This research was funded by UK Research and Innovation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
About The Pirbright Institute
The Pirbright Institute is a world leading centre of excellence in research and surveillance of virus diseases of farm animals and viruses that spread from animals to humans. Based in the UK and receiving strategic funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the Institute works to enhance capability to contain, control and eliminate these economically and medically important diseases through highly innovative fundamental and applied bioscience.
The Institute is an independent company, limited by guarantee and a registered charity, governed by a Board of non-executive Trustee Directors.
With an annual income of £37 million from grants and commercial activity, and a total of £43.7 million strategic investment from BBSRC UKRI during 2021-2022, the Institute contributes to global food security and health, improving quality of life for animals and people.
For more information about The Pirbright Institute see: www.pirbright.ac.uk
Follow The Pirbright Institute on social media: Facebook Twitter Linkedin
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.
BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.
Funded by government, BBSRC invested £451 million in world-class bioscience in 2019-20. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.
More information about BBSRC UKRI, its science and its impact: www.bbsrc.ukri.org
More information about BBSRC UKRI strategically funded institutes
You are receiving this content as we believe it will be in your interest. Should you no longer want to receive Pirbright press releases please reply with STOP or should you wish to know more about how we will use your data please refer to our Data Privacy Notice.