A novel genotype VII Newcastle disease virus

Abstract

Administration of vaccines combined with the good management and strict biosecurity is an effective way for Newcastle disease (ND) control. However, vaccine failure is continuously reported in some countries mainly because the antigenic difference between the used vaccine and field strains even they are of one serotype. Therefore, development of antigen-matched ND vaccines is needed to improve the vaccine efficacy in birds. In this study, we introduced four site mutations, K1756A, D1881A, K1917A and E1954Q, respectively, into the large protein gene of the virulent genotype VII Newcastle disease virus (NDV) G7 strain using reverse genetics technology. Four rescued NDVs were sharply attenuated for the pathogenicity in chickens. One of these mutants, E1954Q, was further manipulated by replacing the F cleavage site sequence of typical velogenic strains with that of the LaSota vaccine, resulting in a new mutant, G7M. Biological characterization showed that G7M was safe and genetically stable after serial passages in embryos and chickens. Vaccination of chickens with G7M induced a progressive elevation of the homologous antibodies and markedly higher CD8+ T cell percentage, T cell proliferation and IFN-γ than LaSota. G7M conferred full protection against genotype VII NDV challenge, and more importantly, it effectively reduced the challenge virus replication and shedding in chickens. Together, our data suggest that G7M is a promising genotype VII vaccine candidate, and the novel attenuation approach designed in this study could be used to develop new antigen-matched NDV vaccines.

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