In a previous vaccination study in cats, the authors reported on accelerated feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) replication upon challenge in animals vaccinated with a candidate envelope subunit vaccine. Plasma transfer studies as well as antibody profiles in vaccinated cats indicated a causative role for antibodies directed against the hypervariable regions HV3, HV4 and HV5 (HV3-5) of the envelope glycoprotein. The present study was designed to investigate further the contribution of antibodies in envelope vaccine-induced acceleration of FIV infection. To this end, regions HV3-5 of the envelope glycoprotein were deleted from the original vaccine, thus addressing the contributing role of antibodies directed against these hypervariable regions. Interestingly, this approach did not prevent acceleration of challenge infection. Analysis of the antibody responses in the respective groups suggested that removal of HV3-5 redirected the humoral immune response towards other regions of the envelope glycoprotein, indicating that these regions can also induce antibodies that accelerate virus replication.

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Journal of General Virology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Huisman, W., Schrauwen, E., Pas, S., Karlas, J., Rimmelzwaan, G., & Osterhaus, A. (2004). Antibodies specific for hypervariable regions 3 to 5 of the feline immunodeficiency virus envelope glycoprotein are not solely responsible for vaccine-induced acceleration of challenge infection in cats. Journal of General Virology. Retrieved from