The spike 1 (S1) surface glycoprotein of infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) is the major inducer of the generation of virus neutralizing antibodies, and the administration of purified S1 has been shown to elicit a protective immune response against virulent virus challenge. On the basis of these observations, recombinant fowl poxvirus (rFPV) containing a cDNA copy of the S1 gene of IBV Mass 41 (rFPV-S1) was constructed and its immunogenicity and vaccine potential were evaluated. Initially, rFPV-S1 was shown to express the S1 in vitro by indirect immunofluorescence staining and western blot analyses. Later, in vivo expression was demonstrated by the detection of IBV-specific serum immunoglobulin G and neutralization antibodies in the sera of chickens immunized with rFPV-S1. That the recombinant virus elicited anti-IBV protective immunity was indicated by the manifested, relatively mild clinical signs of disease, decreased titers of recovered challenge virus, and less severe histologic changes of the tracheas in virulent IBV Mass 41–challenged chickens previously receiving rFPV-S1 as compared with parental fowl poxvirus (FPV)-vaccinated control birds. In contrast, chickens immunized with either recombinant or parental FPV were resistant to a subsequent virulent FPV challenge. As to a preferred method of immunization, wing web administration appeared to be superior to the subcutaneous route because a greater percentage of birds vaccinated by the former protocol exhibited an anti-IBV humoral immune response. Thus, rFPV-S1 has potential as a poultry vaccine against both fowl pox and infectious bronchitis.
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Vol. 46 • No. 4