Expression of bovine interleukin-1 beta in a bovine herpesvirus-1 vector: in vitro analysis

Virology. 1996 Jul 1;221(1):78-86. doi: 10.1006/viro.1996.0354.


In order to evaluate whether bovine herpesvirus-1 (BHV-1) could be used as a live viral vector for the expression of cytokines, we constructed a recombinant BHV-1 expressing bovine interleukin-1 beta (boIL-1 beta). The boIL-1 beta coding sequence, corresponding to the cleaved mature product, was fused with the BHV-1 glycoprotein C (gC) signal peptide sequence; the resultant gC-boIL-1 beta fusion gene was recombined into the gC locus of the BHV-1 genome. Southern blot analysis confirmed the proper genomic configuration of the recombinant virus. Results from transcript analysis showed that boIL-1 beta was expressed in infected cells with kinetics similar to that of gC. Indirect immunofluorescence and immunoprecipitation assays showed that the recombinant protein was produced in both cell-associated and secreted forms. Western blot analysis detected a 19.3-kDa protein. Further analysis, using an IL-1 beta bioassay demonstrated that both the cellular and secreted forms of recombinant boIL-1 beta possessed biological activity. The expression of the boIL-1 beta protein did not affect the in vitro growth efficiency of the virus, which exhibited similar growth kinetics to that of a simple gC deletion mutant. The results from this study demonstrate that BHV-1 can be used to express a functional cytokine, thereby establishing the basis to further study recombinant BHV-1 expressing cytokines as an alternative means to attenuate the virus and also as a potential in situ cytokine delivery system to modulate immune responses against BHV-1 and other cattle pathogens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cattle
  • Cell Line
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA, Viral
  • Gene Expression
  • Genetic Vectors*
  • Herpesvirus 1, Bovine / genetics*
  • Herpesvirus 1, Bovine / growth & development
  • Interleukin-1 / genetics*
  • Interleukin-1 / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • RNA, Viral / analysis
  • Rabbits
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism


  • DNA, Viral
  • Interleukin-1
  • RNA, Viral
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins