Protection by Recombinant Newcastle Disease Viruses (NDV) Expressing the Glycoprotein (G) of Avian Metapneumovirus (aMPV) Subtype A or B against Challenge with Virulent NDV and aMPV
Avian metapneumovirus (aMPV) and Newcastle disease virus (NDV) are threatening avian pathogens that can cause serious respiratory diseases in poultry worldwide. Vaccination, combined with strict biosecurity practices, has been the recommendation for controlling these diseases in the field. In the present study, we generated NDV LaSota vaccine strain-based recombinant viruses expressing the glycoprotein (G) of aMPV, subtype A or B, using reverse genetics technology. These recombinant viruses, rLS/aMPV-A G and rLS/aMPV-B G, were characterized in cell cultures and evaluated in turkeys as bivalent, next-generation vaccines. The results showed that these recombinant vaccine candi-dates were slightly attenuated in vivo, yet maintained similar growth dynamics, cytopathic effects, and virus titers in vitro when compared to the parental LaSota virus. The expression of the aMPV G protein in recombinant virus-infected cells was detected by immunofluorescence. Vaccination of turkeys with rLS/aMPV-A G or rLS/aMPV-B G conferred complete protection against velogenic NDV, CA02 strain challenge and partial protection against homologous patho-genic aMPV challenge. These results suggest that the LaSota recombinant virus is a safe and effective vaccine vector and expression of the G protein alone is not sufficient to provide full protection against aMPV-A or -B infections. Ex-pression of other aMPV-A or -B virus immunogenic protein(s) individually or in conjunction with the G protein may be necessary to induce stronger and more protective immunity against aMPV diseases.