Molecular biology of avian infectious laryngotracheitis virus

Fuchs, Walter GND; Veits, Jutta GND; Wiesner, Dorothee GND; Granzow, Harald GND; Teifke, Jens Peter GND; Mettenleiter, Thomas C. GND

Infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV) is an alphaherpesvirus that causes an economically important chicken disease, which results in delayed growth, reduced egg production, and also frequently in death of the animals. After acute infection of the upper respiratory tract, the virus can establish latency in the central nervous system, and subsequent reactivations can lead to infection of naive chickens. For prevention of ILT, conventionally attenuated live vaccines are available. However, these vaccine strains are genetically not characterized, and reversions to a virulent phenotype occur. Although molecular analyses of ILTV are hampered by the lack of an optimal cell culture system, the complete nucleotide sequence of the ILTV genome has recently been elucidated, and several ILTV recombinants lacking nonessential, but virulence determining genes have been constructed. Animal trials indicated that genetically engineered stable gene deletion mutants are safe alternatives to the current vaccine strains. Furthermore, since live ILTV vaccines are suitable for fast and inexpensive mass administration, they are promising as vectors for immunogenic proteins of other chicken pathogens. Thus, immunization with ILTV recombinants expressing avian influenza virus hemagglutinin was shown to protect chickens against ILT and fowl plague. Using monospecific antisera and monoclonal antibodies several virion proteins of ILTV have been identified and characterized. Since they include immunogenic envelope glycoproteins, these results can contribute to the improvement of virus diagnostics, and to the development of marker vaccines

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Fuchs, Walter / Veits, Jutta / Wiesner, Dorothee / et al: Molecular biology of avian infectious laryngotracheitis virus. 2007.

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