Effective vaccination against long-term gammaherpesvirus latency

Scott A. Tibbetts, J. Scott McClellan, Shivaprakash Gangappa, Samuel H. Speck, Herbert W. Virgin IV

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


The fundamental question of whether a primed immune system is capable of preventing latent gammaherpesvirus infection remains unanswered. Recent studies showing that vaccination can reduce acute replication and short-term latency but cannot alter long-term latency further call into question the possibility of achieving sterilizing immunity against gammaherpesviruses. Using the murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (γHV68) system, we demonstrate that it is possible to effectively vaccinate against long-term latency. By immunizing mice with a γHV68 mutant virus that is deficient in its ability to reactivate from latency, we reduced latent infection of wild-type challenge virus to a level below the limit of detection. Establishment of latency was inhibited by vaccination regardless of whether mice were challenged intraperitoneally or intranasally. Passive transfer of antibody from vaccinated mice could partially reconstitute the effect, demonstrating that antibody is an important component of vaccination. These results demonstrate the potential of a memory immune response against gammaherpesviruses to alter long-term latency and suggest that limiting long-term latent infection in a clinically relevant situation is an attainable goal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2522-2529
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2003


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