New Paper Highlights Risks and Unintended Effects of Using GE Viruses as Vaccines (2)

Virus Research 109 (2005) 39–49

Avipoxvirus multiplication in a mammalian cell line

Simon Chioma Welia,∗,1, Øivind Nilssenb, Terje Traavika,c

a Department of Microbiology and Virology, University of Tromsø, Brevika, N-9037 Tromsø, Norway

b Department of Medical Genetics, University of Tromsø, Brevika, N-9037 Tromsø, Norway

c Norwegian Institute of Gene Ecology, Tromsø Science Park, N-9291 Tromsø, Norway

Received 17 June 2004; received in revised form 7 October 2004; accepted 7 October 2004

Available online 26 November 2004


Avipoxviruses have many advantages and are being increasingly employed as recombinant vaccine vectors. One attractive feature is that while inserted transgenes are expressed in immunologically favourable ways, avipoxvirus infections of mammalian cells are believed to be abortive. The experimental evidence supporting this belief is, however, based on a limited number of mammalian cell-types and a few avipoxvirus species. We evaluated two avian and eight mammalian cell lines for permissivity to three avipoxvirus strains, one reference fowlpoxvirus and two newly isolated strains from sparrow and pigeon, respectively. Both avian cell lines were, as expected, permissive for all three avipoxvirus strains. However, by multiplication assays, we found to our surprise that Syrian baby hamster kidney (BHK-21) cells were equally permissive to all virus strains. Results from electron microscopy of infected BHK-21 cells revealed viral morphogenesis proceeding to various forms of infectious viruses. These results were supported by the demonstration of avipoxvirus specific late gene expression and avipoxvirus specific DNA restriction pattern in BHK-21 infected cells.

Keywords: Syrian baby hamster kidney; Avipoxvirus; DNA; Safety

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