Effects of interferon-γ knockdown on vaccine-induced immunity against Marek’s disease in chickens

Can J Vet Res. 2015 Jan;79(1):1-7.


Interferon (IFN)-γ has been shown to be associated with immunity to Marek’s disease virus (MDV). The overall objective of this study was to investigate the causal relationship between IFN-γ and vaccine-conferred immunity against MDV in chickens. To this end, 3 small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) targeting chicken IFN-γ, which had previously been shown to reduce IFN-γ expression in vitro, and a control siRNA were selected to generate recombinant avian adeno-associated virus (rAAAV) expressing short-hairpin small interfering RNAs (shRNAs). An MDV challenge trial was then conducted: chickens were vaccinated with herpesvirus of turkey (HVT), administered the rAAAV expressing shRNA, and then challenged with MDV. Tumors were observed in 4 out of 10 birds that were vaccinated with HVT and challenged but did not receive any rAAAV, 5 out of 9 birds that were administered the rAAAV containing IFN-γ shRNA, and 2 out of 10 birds that were administered a control enhanced green fluorescent protein siRNA. There was no significant difference in MDV genome load in the feather follicle epithelium of the birds that were cotreated with the vaccine and the rAAAV compared with the vaccinated MDV-infected birds. These results suggest that AAAV-based vectors can be used for the delivery of shRNA into chicken cells. However, administration of the rAAAV expressing shRNA targeting chicken IFN-γ did not seem to fully abrogate vaccine-induced protection.


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