Previously, we have demonstrated that the recombinant Newcastle disease virus (NDV) expressing the infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV) glycoprotein D (gD) conferred protection against both virulent NDV and ILTV challenges in chickens. In this study, we evaluated the genetic stability of the recombinant vaccine after eight serial passages in embryonated chicken eggs (ECE). The vaccine master seed virus at the original egg-passage level 3 (EP3) was diluted and passaged in three separate repetitions (A, B and C) in ECE eight times (EP4 to EP11). RT-PCR analysis of the vaccine seed and egg-passaged virus stocks showed that there was no detectable insertion/deletion in the ILTV gD insert region. Next-generation sequencing analysis of the EP3 and EP11 virus stocks confirmed their genome integrity and revealed a total of thirteen single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). However, none of these SNPs were located in the ILTV gD insert or any of the known critical biological determinant positions. Virological and immunofluorescent assays provided additional evidence that the EP11 virus stocks retained their growth kinetics, low pathogenicity, and robust level of gD expression comparable to that of the vaccine master seed virus. This indicated that the SNPs were non-detrimental sporadic mutations. These results demonstrated that the insertion of ILTV gD gene into the NDV LaSota backbone did not significantly affect the genetic stability of the recombinant virus and that the rLS/ILTV-gD virus is a safe and genetically stable vaccine candidate after at least eight serial passages in ECE.
Keywords: Genetic stability; ILTV-gD; NDV vector; Next-generation sequencing; Recombinant vaccine.
Published by Elsevier Ltd.