Convalescent Immunity to Guinea Pig Cytomegalovirus Induces Limited Cross Strain Protection against Re-Infection but High-Level Protection against Congenital Disease. Academic Article uri icon


  • The guinea pig is the only small animal model for congenital cytomegalovirus (cCMV) but requires guinea pig cytomegalovirus (GPCMV). Current GPCMV research utilizes prototype strain 22122, which limits the translational impact of GPCMV as numerous human CMV strains exist and cCMV is possible in the setting of re-infection. A novel strain of GPCMV (TAMYC) exhibited differences to 22122 in various glycoproteins with GP74 (gO homolog) the most variable (25% difference). Antibody ELISAs for TAMYC-convalescent animals evoked similar immune response to viral glycoprotein complexes (gB, gH/gL, gM/gN, pentamer) and cell-mediated response to pp65 homolog (GP83). Convalescent sera from TAMYC-infected animals neutralized GPCMV infection on fibroblasts but was less effective on epithelial cells. TAMYC-convalescent animals were not protected from dissemination of heterogenous virus challenge (22122). However, in a cCMV protection study, TAMYC-convalescent animals challenged mid-pregnancy (22122) exhibited high-level protection against cCMV compared to seronegative animals with pup transmission reduced from 80% (control) to 12%. Overall, pre-existing immunity in guinea pigs provides limited ability to prevent GPCMV re-infection by a different viral strain but provides a high level of protection against cCMV in heterogenous strain challenge. This level of cross protection against cCMV should be a prerequisite of any CMV vaccine.

published proceedings

  • Int J Mol Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Choi, K. Y., El-Hamdi, N. S., & McGregor, A.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Choi, K Yeon||El-Hamdi, Nadia S||McGregor, Alistair

publication date

  • August 2020