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J Med Virol 2011 May;83(5):910-20

Microarray hybridization for assessment of the genetic stability of chimeric West Nile/dengue 4 virus.

Laassri M, Bidzhieva B, Speicher J, Pletnev AG, Chumakov K


Genetic stability is an important characteristic of live viral vaccines because an accumulation of mutants can cause reversion to a virulent phenotype as well as a loss of immunogenic properties. This study was aimed at evaluating the genetic stability of a live attenuated West Nile (WN) virus vaccine candidate that was generated by replacing the pre-membrane and envelope protein genes of dengue 4 virus with those from WN. Chimeric virus was serially propagated in Vero, SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma and HeLa cells and screened for point mutations using hybridization with microarrays of overlapping oligonucleotide probes covering the entire genome. The analysis revealed several spontaneous mutations that led to amino acid changes, most of which were located in the envelope (E) and non-structural NS4A, NS4B, and NS5 proteins. Viruses passaged in Vero and SH-SY5Y cells shared two common mutations: G(2337) C (Met(457) Ile) in the E gene and A(6751) G (Lys(125) Arg) in the NS4A gene. Quantitative assessment of the contents of these mutants in viral stocks indicated that they accumulated independently with different kinetics during propagation in cell cultures. Mutant viruses grew better in Vero cells compared to the parental virus, suggesting that they have a higher fitness. When tested in newborn mice, the cell culture-passaged viruses did not exhibit increased neurovirulence. The approach described in this article could be useful for monitoring the molecular consistency and quality control of vaccine strains.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #21360544 DOI: 10.1002/jmv.22033
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Biologics
Entry Created: 2011-10-03 Entry Last Modified: 2012-08-29