Several immunological epitopes are known to be located within the Friend murine leukemia virus (F-MuLV) envelope protein, but their relative contributions to protection from Friend virus-induced disease are not known. To determine how expression of various immunological determinants affected protection, mice were immunized with recombinant vaccinia viruses expressing different portions of the F-MuLV envelope protein, and they were then challenged with a lethal dose of Friend virus complex. The disease parameters that were followed in the mice were early viremia, early splenomegaly, and late splenomegaly. Both the N-terminal and C-terminal portions of the F-MuLV gp70 were found to protect against late splenomegaly, the primary clinical sign associated with virus-induced erythroleukemia. However, neither region alone protected against early splenomegaly and early viremia, indicating poor immunological control over early virus replication and spread through the spleen and blood. In contrast, mice immunized with a vaccine expressing the entire F-MuLV envelope protein were protected against all three disease parameters. The results indicated that expression of multiple immunological determinants including both T-helper and B cell epitopes was necessary for full protection.
Copyright 1998 Academic Press.