Vaccinia virus is the prototypical orthopoxvirus of Poxviridae, a family of viruses that includes the human pathogens Variola (smallpox) and Monkeypox. Core viral functions are conserved among orthopoxviruses, and consequently Vaccinia is routinely used to study poxvirus biology and screen for novel antiviral compounds. Here we describe the development of a series of fluorescent protein-based reporter Vaccinia viruses that provide unprecedented resolution for tracking viral function. The reporter viruses are divided into two sets: (1) single reporter viruses that utilize temporally regulated early, intermediate, or late viral promoters; and (2) multi-reporter viruses that utilize multiple temporally regulated promoters. Promoter and reporter combinations were chosen that yielded high signal-to-background for stage-specific viral outputs. We provide examples for how these viruses can be used in the rapid and accurate monitoring of Vaccinia function and drug action.
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