Members of the order express their genes in a transcription gradient from 3′ to 5′. To assess how this impacts on expression of a foreign transgene, the haemagglutinin (HA) of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) A/chicken/Vietnam/P41/05 (subtype H5N1) was inserted between the phosphoprotein (P) and matrix protein (M), M and fusion protein (F), or F and haemagglutinin–neuraminidase protein (HN) genes of attenuated Newcastle disease virus (NDV) Clone 30. In addition, the gene encoding the neuraminidase of HPAIV A/duck/Vietnam/TG24-01/05 (subtype H5N1) was inserted into the NDV genome either alone or in combination with the HA gene. All recombinants replicated well in embryonated chicken eggs. The expression levels of HA-specific mRNA and protein were quantified by Northern blot analysis and mass spectrometry, with good correlation. HA expression levels differed only moderately and were highest in the recombinant carrying the HA insertion between the F and HN genes of NDV.


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