Mutating the CX3C motif in the G protein should make a live respiratory syncytial virus vaccine safer and more effective

S. Boyoglu-Barnum, S. O. Todd, Jia Meng, T. R. Barnum, T. Chirkova, L. M. Haynes, S. J. Jadhao, R. A. Tripp, A. G. Oomens, M. L. Moore, L. J. Anderson

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45 Citations (Scopus)


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) belongs to the family Paramyxoviridae and is the single most important cause of serious lower respiratory tract infections in young children, yet no highly effective treatment or vaccine is available. Through a CX3C chemokine motif (182CWAIC186) in the G protein, RSV binds to the corresponding chemokine receptor, CX3CR1. Since RSV binding to CX3CR1 contributes to disease pathogenesis, we investigated whether a mutation in the CX3C motif by insertion of an alanine, A186, within the CX3C motif, mutating it to CX4C (182CWAIAC187), which is known to block binding to CX3CR1, might decrease disease. We studied the effect of the CX4C mutation in two strains of RSV (A2 and r19F) in a mouse challenge model. We included RSV r19F because it induces mucus production and airway resistance, two manifestations of RSV infection in humans, in mice. Compared to wild-type (wt) virus, mice infected with CX4C had a 0.7 to 1.2 log10-fold lower virus titer in the lung at 5 days postinfection (p.i.) and had markedly reduced weight loss, pulmonary inflammatory cell infiltration, mucus production, and airway resistance after challenge. This decrease in disease was not dependent on decrease in virus replication but did correspond to a decrease in pulmonary Th2 and inflammatory cytokines. Mice infected with CX4C viruses also had higher antibody titers and a Th1-biased T cell memory response at 75 days p.i. These results suggest that the CX4C mutation in the G protein could improve the safety and efficacy of a live attenuated RSV vaccine.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere02059-16
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017
Externally publishedYes


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