Subunit vaccines comprised of glycoprotein D (gD-2) failed to prevent HSV-2 highlighting need for novel strategies. To test the hypothesis that deletion of gD-2 unmasks protective antigens, we evaluated the efficacy and safety of an HSV-2 virus deleted in gD-2 and complemented allowing a single round of replication on cells expressing HSV-1 gD (ΔgD(-/+gD-1)). Subcutaneous immunization of C57BL/6 or BALB/c mice with ΔgD(-/+gD1) provided 100% protection against lethal intravaginal or skin challenges and prevented latency. ΔgD(-/+gD1) elicited no disease in SCID mice, whereas 1000-fold lower doses of wild-type virus were lethal. HSV-specific antibodies were detected in serum (titer 1:800,000) following immunization and in vaginal washes after intravaginal challenge. The antibodies elicited cell-mediated cytotoxicity, but little neutralizing activity. Passive transfer of immune serum completely protected wild-type, but not Fcγ-receptor or neonatal Fc-receptor knock-out mice. These studies demonstrate that non-neutralizing Fc-mediated humoral responses confer protection and support advancement of this attenuated vaccine.
- infectious disease
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