Recombinant infectious bronchitis viruses expressing heterologous S1 subunits: potential for a new generation of vaccines that replicate in Vero cells

The spike glycoprotein (S) of infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) comprises two subunits, S1 and S2. We have previously demonstrated that the S2 subunit of the avirulent Beau-R strain is responsible for its extended cellular tropism for Vero cells. Two recombinant infectious bronchitis viruses (rIBVs) have been generated; the immunogenic S1 subunit is derived from the IBV vaccine strain, H120, or the virulent field strain, QX, within the genetic background of Beau-R. The rIBVs BeauR-H120(S1) and BeauR-QX(S1) are capable of replicating in primary chicken kidney cell cultures and in Vero cells. These results demonstrate that rIBVs are able to express S1 subunits from genetically diverse strains of IBV, which will enable the rational design of a future generation of IBV vaccines that may be grown in Vero cells.

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