Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) is a prototypic enveloped animal virus that has been used extensively to study virus entry, replication and assembly due to its broad host range and robust replication properties in a wide variety of mammalian and insect cells. Studies on VSV assembly led to the creation of a recombinant VSV in which the glycoprotein (G) gene was deleted. This recombinant (rVSV-ΔG) has been used to produce VSV pseudotypes containing the envelope glycoproteins of heterologous viruses, including viruses that require high-level biocontainment; however, because the infectivity of rVSV-ΔG pseudotypes is restricted to a single round of replication the analysis can be performed using biosafety level 2 (BSL-2) containment. As such, rVSV-ΔG pseudotypes have facilitated the analysis of virus entry for numerous viral pathogens without the need for specialized containment facilities. The pseudotypes also provide a robust platform to screen libraries for entry inhibitors and to evaluate the neutralizing antibody responses following vaccination. This manuscript describes methods to produce and titer rVSV-ΔG pseudotypes. Procedures to generate rVSV-ΔG stocks and to quantify virus infectivity are also described. These protocols should allow any laboratory knowledgeable in general virological and cell culture techniques to produce successfully replication-restricted rVSV-ΔG pseudotypes for subsequent analysis.
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