Characterization of a very virulent Marek's disease virus mutant expressing the pp38 protein from the serotype 1 vaccine strain CVI988/Rispens. Academic Article uri icon


  • Marek's disease virus (MDV), a highly cell-associated oncogenic chicken herpesvirus, causes Marek's disease in domestic chickens. A unique phosphoprotein of MDV, pp38, has previously been associated with the maintenance of transformation in MDV-induced tumor cell lines. However, recently, the biological properties of a deletion mutant virus (rMd5Deltapp38) revealed that pp38 is involved in early cytolytic infection in lymphocytes but not in the induction of tumors. Thus, pp38 is important for early cytolytic infection and not for transformation. The pp38 protein of the MDV serotype 1 vaccine strain CVI988/Rispens differs by one amino acid when compared to the pathogenic strains of MDV. Monoclonal antibody, H19, recognizes all serotype 1 MDV strains except CVI988/Rispens. Previous studies have also shown that the unique pp38 epitope in CVI988/Rispens induced high antibody response. In order to study the role of this epitope in the protective properties of CVI988/Rispens, we generated a mutant rMd5 virus in which the wild type pp38 gene has been substituted with that of CVI988/Rispens (rMd5/pp38CVI). The replication properties of rMd5/pp38CVI, both in vitro and in vivo, and tumor induction were examined. We found that the biological properties of rMd5/pp38CVI were similar to the wild type rMd5 virus with regards to in vivo replication, antibody response and tumor induction. This shows that the pp38 derived from CVI988/Rispens is not involved in protective properties as was previously suggested.

published proceedings

  • Virus Genes

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Lee, L. F., Cui, X., Cui, Z., Gimeno, I., Lupiani, B., & Reddy, S. M.

citation count

  • 14

complete list of authors

  • Lee, Lucy F||Cui, Xiaoping||Cui, Zhizhong||Gimeno, Isabel||Lupiani, Blanca||Reddy, Sanjay M

publication date

  • August 2005