Construction, characterization and immunogenicity of recombinant yellow fever 17D-dengue type 2 viruses

P S Caufour, M C Motta, A M Yamamura, S Vazquez, I I Ferreira, A V Jabor, M C Bonaldo, M S Freire, R Galler
Virus Research 2001 November 5, 79 (1): 1-14
Chimeric yellow fever (YF)-dengue type 2 (Den 2) viruses were constructed by replacing the premembrane (prM) and envelope (E) genes of YF 17D virus with those from Den 2 virus strains of south-east Asian genotype. Whereas viable chimeric viruses were successfully recovered when the YF 17D C gene and the Den 2 prM gene were fused at the signalase cleavage site, no virus could be rescued from the constructions fused at the viral protease cleavage site. Unlike YF virus that replicated in all the cell lines tested and similar to the Den 2 virus, the recombinant viruses did not replicate in vaccine-production certified CEF and MRC5 cells. Besides, chimeric 17D/Den 2 viruses and their parental viruses reached similar growth titers in Vero and C6/36 cell cultures. Analysis of mouse neurovirulence, performed by intracerebral inoculation, demonstrated that the 17D/Den 2 chimera is more attenuated in this system than the YF 17DD virus. Immunization of mice with this chimera induced a neutralizing antibody response associated with a partial protection against an otherwise lethal dose of mouse neurovirulent Den 2 NGC virus. Overall, these results provide further support for the use of chimeric viruses as an attractive methodology for the development of new live flavivirus vaccines.

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