Expression of rabbit IL-4 by recombinant myxoma viruses enhances virulence and overcomes genetic resistance to myxomatosis

P. J. Kerr, H. D. Perkins, B. Inglis, R. Stagg, E. McLaughlin, S. V. Collins, B. H. Van Leeuwen

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29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Rabbit IL-4 was expressed in the virulent standard laboratory strain (SLS) and the attenuated Uriarra (Ur) strain of myxoma virus with the aim of creating a Th2 cytokine environment and inhibiting the development of an antiviral cell-mediated response to myxomatosis in infected rabbits. This allowed testing of a model for genetic resistance to myxomatosis in wild rabbits that have undergone 50 years of natural selection for resistance to myxomatosis. Expression of IL-4 significantly enhanced virulence of both virulent and attenuated virus strains in susceptible (laboratory) and resistant (wild) rabbits. SLS-IL-4 completely overcame genetic resistance in wild rabbits. The pathogenesis of SLS-IL-4 was compared in susceptible and resistant rabbits. The results support a model for resistance to myxomatosis of an enhanced innate immune response controlling virus replication and allowing an effective antiviral cell-mediated immune response to develop in resistant rabbits. Expression of IL-4 did not overcome immunity to myxomatosis induced by immunization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-128
Number of pages12
JournalVirology
Volume324
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2004
Externally publishedYes

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    Kerr, P. J., Perkins, H. D., Inglis, B., Stagg, R., McLaughlin, E., Collins, S. V., & Van Leeuwen, B. H. (2004). Expression of rabbit IL-4 by recombinant myxoma viruses enhances virulence and overcomes genetic resistance to myxomatosis. Virology, 324(1), 117-128. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.virol.2004.02.031