A Fully Protective Congenital CMV Vaccine Requires Neutralizing Antibodies to Viral Pentamer and gB Glycoprotein Complexes but a pp65 T-Cell Response Is Not Necessary. Academic Article uri icon


  • A vaccine against congenital cytomegalovirus infection is a high priority. Guinea pig cytomegalovirus (GPCMV) is the only congenital CMV small animal model. GPCMV encodes essential glycoprotein complexes for virus entry (gB, gH/gL/gO, gM/gN) including a pentamer complex (gH/gL/GP129/GP131/GP133 or PC) for endocytic cell entry. The cohorts for protection against congenital CMV are poorly defined. Neutralizing antibodies to the viral glycoprotein complexes are potentially more important than an immunodominant T-cell response to the pp65 protein. In GPCMV, GP83 (pp65 homolog) is an evasion factor, and the GP83 mutant GPCMV has increased sensitivity to type I interferon. Although GP83 induces a cell-mediated response, a GP83-only-based vaccine strategy has limited efficacy. GPCMV attenuation via GP83 null deletion mutant in glycoprotein PC positive or negative virus was evaluated as live-attenuated vaccine strains (GP83dPC+/PC-). Vaccinated animals induced antibodies to viral glycoprotein complexes, and PC+ vaccinated animals had sterilizing immunity against wtGPCMV challenge. In a pre-conception vaccine (GP83dPC+) study, dams challenged mid-2nd trimester with wtGPCMV had complete protection against congenital CMV infection without detectable virus in pups. An unvaccinated control group had 80% pup transmission rate. Overall, gB and PC antibodies are key for protection against congenital CMV infection, but a response to pp65 is not strictly necessary.

published proceedings

  • Viruses

author list (cited authors)

  • Choi, K. Y., & McGregor, A.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Choi, K Yeon||McGregor, Alistair

publication date

  • July 2021