Recombinant Semliki Forest virus vector exhibits potential for avian virus vaccine development

Kerry V. Phenix, Kim Wark, Cliff J. Luke, Mike A. Skinner, Joan A. Smyth, Karen A. Mawhinney, Daniel Todd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The Semliki Forest virus (SFV) expression system was evaluated as a basis for avian vaccine development. Initial studies indicated that 1-day-old specific pathogen-free (SPF) chicks were susceptible to infection with an infectious strain of SFV, producing SFV-specific antibodies but no clinical disease. One-day-old SPF chicks immunised intramuscularly with recombinant replication-defective SFV (rSFV) particles expressing the Escherichia coli (E. coli) lacZ reporter gene developed high titres of β-gal- specific antibodies at 4 weeks p.i. after two inoculations. In contrast, significantly lower antibody levels were elicited in chicks immunised with a recombinant SFV-based DNA construct or a conventional CMV promoter-based DNA plasmid. rSFV particles encoding the protective VP2 protein or the VP2/VP4/VP3 polyprotein of infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) were produced and the expressed antigens were characterised in cell culture. Proteins of the correct size were generated and found to react against a range of IBDV-specific monoclonal antibodies. Immunisation of 1-day-old SPF chicks with rSFV particles encoding the IBDV proteins resulted in specific antibodies being elicited in all birds, neutralising antibodies being induced in some but not all birds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3116-3123
Number of pages8
Issue number23-24
StatePublished - Apr 30 2001


  • Avian vaccine
  • IBDV
  • Recombinant SFV virus vector
  • Semliki forest virus


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