A herpesvirus of turkeys (HVT) recombinant containing a 3.9 kbp fragment of Marek's disease virus (MDV) DNA encoding MDV glycoprotein B (gB), stably integrated into the thymidine kinase (TK) gene of HVT, has been constructed. The replication of the recombinant in chick embryo fibroblasts (CEF) was comparable to that of wild-type HVT. The recombinant expressed authentic MDV gB and its processed forms (110K, 65K and 48K) in CEF as shown by immunoblotting using an MDV-specific anti-peptide serum. Northern blot analysis showed that MDV gB mRNA was transcribed from MDV promoter sequences flanking the MDV gB open reading frame and also from the HVT TK promoter. However, the level of replication of the recombinant appeared to be lower than wild-type HVT as shown by the titres of HVT antibodies, determined by ELISA. Pathogenicity tests showed that the recombinant was safe and did not cause microscopic or gross Marek's disease lesions or other abnormalities. The results suggest that HVT has potential as a vector for recombinant vaccines.


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