Human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV) is the most important viral cause of severe respiratory tract disease in infants. Two subgroups (A and B) have been identified, which cocirculate during, or alternate between, yearly epidemics and cause indistinguishable disease. Existing in vitro and in vivo models of HRSV focus almost exclusively on subgroup A viruses. Here, a recombinant (r) subgroup B virus (rHRSVB05) was generated based on a consensus genome sequence obtained directly from an unpassaged clinical specimen from a hospitalized infant. An additional transcription unit containing the gene encoding enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) was introduced between the phosphoprotein and matrix genes (position 5) of the genome to generate rHRSVB05EGFP(5). The recombinant viruses replicated efficiently in both HEp-2 cells and in well-differentiated normal human bronchial cells grown at air-liquid interface. Intranasal infection of cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus) resulted in high numbers of EGFP+ cells in epithelia of the nasal septum and conchae. When administered in a relatively large inoculum volume, the virus also replicated efficiently in bronchiolar epithelial cells and spread extensively in both the upper and lower respiratory tracts. Virus replication was not observed in ciliated epithelial cells of the trachea. This is the first virulent rHRSV strain with the genetic composition of a currently circulating wild-type virus. In vivo tracking of infected cells by means of EGFP fluorescence in the absence of cytopathic changes increases the sensitivity of virus detection in HRSV pathogenesis studies.,
Journal of Virology
Department of Virology

Lemon, K., Nguyen, T., Ludlow, M., Rennick, L., Yüksel, S., van Amerongen, G., … Duprex, P. (2015). Recombinant subgroup B human respiratory syncytial virus expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein efficiently replicates in primary human cells and is virulent in cotton rats. Journal of Virology, 89(5), 2849–2856. doi:10.1128/JVI.03587-14