The myristoylated capsid precursor mP1-2A of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV), when expressed in mammalian cells and processed by the FMDV 3C protease, can self-assemble into virus-like particles (VLPs). In the present study, nine amino acids of the 3C protease were replaced by site-directed mutagenesis to create a mutant 3C protease, 9m3C. To coexpress mP1-2A and 9m3C and test the resulting proteolytic processing and VLP assembly, two recombinant goatpox viruses (rGTPVs) were constructed by the insertion of two coding regions, one for mP1-2A and the other for either 9m3C ( rGTPV-mP1-2A-9m3C ) or Theileria protective antigen (TPA) as a control ( rGTPV-mP1-2A-TPA ). The two exogenous genes were inserted into an intergenic region between loci gp_24 and gp_24.5 of the rGTPV genome. Western blotting of cells infected with rGTPV-mP1-2A-9m3C showed that proteins VP0, VP1, and VP3 from the mP1-2A processed by the 9m3C protease could be detected by polyclonal FMDV sera. As observed by electron microscopy, the infected cells produced VLPs with a diameter of about 25 ± 2 nm. Titers of neutralizing antibody against FMDV were significantly higher in mice inoculated with rGTPV-mP1-2A-9m3C , which expresses the 9m3C protease together with mP1-2A, than mice inoculated with the control rGTPV-mP1-2A-TPA , which does not express the protease. An ovine immunization test determined that sheep inoculated intramuscularly with rGTPV-mP1-2A-9m3C produced FMDV-specific neutralizing antibody, but its titers did not meet the requirement of the World Organization for Animal Health. The result indicates that further modifications of rGTPV-mP1-2A-9m3C are necessary to produce an effective vaccine.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 1, 2014
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