Development of a DNA vaccine for the prevention of Psittacine beak and feather disease
Psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD) is a readily recognisable dermatologic condition in wild and captive psittacines worldwide. It is caused by Beak and feather disease virus (BFDV) which is classified in the family Circoviridae and the genus Circovirus. BFDV has a circular ss-DNA genome consisting of seven open reading frames (ORFs), three being conserved in all BFDV isolates, ORF 1 which encodes the Rep protein, ORF 2 which encodes the coat or capsid protein (CP) and ORF 5 which encodes a protein whose function is as yet unknown. General symptoms of the disease include the symmetrical loss of feathers, feather abnormalities, beak and claw deformities, weight loss, anorexia and immunosuppression. The inability to grow BFDV in tissue culture or in embryonated eggs has hindered the routine diagnosis of PBFD affected birds and the development of reliable diagnostic tests and an effective vaccination program. PBFD is widespread in South Africa, leading to a loss of at least 10% of psittacine breeding stocks annually. The disease is also a major threat to the already endangered Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus) and the black-cheeked lovebird (Agapornis nigrigenis) and it is only a matter of time before we may see the extinction of these and other parrot species due to the lack of a preventative vaccine. The economical and natural implications of the attack by PBFD led to the aims of the present study which were to develop a potential DNA vaccine candidate, develop an expression system for production of recombinant CP as antigenic protein and establish an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay for the detection of BFDV-specific antibodies in parrots. The entire CP gene which has been suggested to encode for the epitopic protein of the virus was amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and ligated into a bacterial vector, pBAD/His B or a yeast vector, pKOV136 for expression of recombinant CP in Escherichia coli or Yarrowia lipolytica, respectively. Alternatively, CP gene PCR products were ligated into the mammalian expression vector pcDNA™3.1D/V5-His-TOPO® which was the vector of choice for DNA vaccine design and used to transiently transfect Chinese hamster ovary cells. Subsequently, the candidate DNA vaccine was used in a basic vaccine trial where budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus) were vaccinated either with the DNA vaccine candidate or a sub-unit vaccine consisting of purified recombinant CP. Expression of recombinant CP was monitored using polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE), chemiluminescent and colorimetric detection on Western blots and ELISAs. While expression of the recombinant CP was unsuccessful in the yeast system using pKOV136, expression of recombinant CP was achieved in E. coli cells using the pBAD vector. Recombinant CP was partially purified and applied in both indirect and indirect competitive ELISAs as coating antigen for the detection of BFDV specific antibodies. Using the established ELISAs, BFDV specific antibodies could be detected in naturally infected parrots as well as in budgerigars vaccinated with the DNA vaccine and sub-unit vaccine. Comparable results were obtained when nonpurified recombinant CP was applied in the ELISAs in lieu of partially purified recombinant CP. Vaccinated budgerigars formed BFDV specific antibodies in response to the DNA vaccine and sub-unit vaccine that were detected using the indirect competitive ELISA established in the study. The antibody responses to the sub-unit vaccine were higher than those in response to vaccination with the DNA vaccine candidate. Although the indirect competitive ELISA could not provide an indication of whether these antibody responses are protective, the results obtained during the trial are a preliminary indication that both the DNA vaccine and sub-unit vaccine may be functional in parrots and safe to use as no adverse reactions were observed.
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Establishment of serological and molecular techiques to investigate diversity of psittacine beak and feather disease virus in different psittacine birds in South Africa Kondiah, Kulsum (University of the Free State, 2004)Psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD) is a readily recognizable disease of wild and captive psittacines in Australia but it is also a problem worldwide wherever captive species are bred. The disease caused by beak and ...
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