1887

Abstract

The genetic variation of equine infectious anaemia virus (EIAV) clearly affects the antigenic properties of the viral envelope; however, effects on immunogenicity remain undefined, although widely assumed. Here, the immunogenicity is reported of a novel, neutralization-resistant, pony-isolate envelope EIAV that contains a 14-residue deletion in the designated principal neutralizing domain (PND) of the gp90 protein. Two ponies inoculated with a chimeric virus, EIAV, containing the EIAV envelope in a reference provirus strain, remained asymptomatic through 14 months post-inoculation, producing high steady-state levels of envelope-specific antibodies but no detectable serum-neutralizing antibodies. Consequent dexamethasone-induced immune suppression produced characteristic EIA that resolved concomitantly with the development of high-titre, strain-specific, neutralizing antibodies and a 100-fold reduction in steady-state virus loads. These results demonstrate: natural variations in the EIAV envelope have profound effects on both antigenic and immunogenic properties; the PND is not required for neutralizing antibody responses; and transient immune suppression can enhance established host immunity to achieve more effective control of steady-state lentivirus replication.

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2002-06-01
2021-01-23
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