Recombinant turkey herpesvirus expressing H9N2 HA gene at the HVT005/006 site induces better protection than that at the HVT029/031 site

Turkey herpesvirus (HVT) is widely used as an effective recombinant vaccine vector for expressing protective antigens of multiple avian pathogens from different loci of the HVT genome. These include the HVT029/031 (UL22–23) locus for the insertion of IBDV VP2 and the recently identified HVT005/006 locus as a novel site for expressing heterologous proteins. In order to compare the efficacy of recombinant vaccines with the HA gene at different sites, the growth curves and the HA expression levels of HVT-005/006-hCMV-HA, HVT-005/006-MLV-HA, and HVT-029/031-MLV-HA were first examined in vitro. While the growth kinetics of three recombinant viruses were not significantly different from those of parent HVT, higher expression of the HA gene was achieved from the HVT005/006 site than that from the HVT029/031 site. The efficacy of the three recombinant viruses against avian influenza H9N2 virus was also evaluated using one-day-old SPF chickens. Chickens immunized with HVT-005/006-MLV-HA or HVT-005/006-hCMV-HA displayed reduced virus shedding compared to HVT-029/031-MLV-HA vaccinated chickens. Moreover, the overall hemagglutination inhibition (HI) antibody titers of HVT-005/006-HA-vaccinated chickens were higher than that of HVT-029/031-HA-vaccinated chickens. However, HVT-005/006-MLV-HA and HVT-005/006-hCMV-HA did not result in a significant difference in the level of HA expression in vitro and provided the same protective efficacy (100%) at 5 days after challenge. In the current study, the results suggested that recombinant HVT005/006 vaccines caused better expression of HA than recombinant HVT029/031 vaccine, and that HVT-005/006-MLV-HA or HVT-005/006-hCMV-HA could be a candidate vaccine for the protection of chickens against H9N2 influenza.

Trim content

® The Pirbright Institute 2024 | A company limited by guarantee, registered in England no. 559784. The Institute is also a registered charity.