To analyze the contribution of neuraminidase (NA) toward protection against avian influenza virus (AIV) infection, three different recombinant Newcastle disease viruses (NDVs) expressing hemagglutinin (HA) or NA, or both, of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) were generated. The lentogenic NDV Clone 30 was used as backbone for the insertion of HA of HPAIV strain A/chicken/Vietnam/P41/05 (H5N1) and NA of HPAIV strain A/duck/Vietnam/TG24-01/05 (H5N1). The HA was inserted between the genes encoding NDV phosphoprotein (P) and matrixprotein (M), and the NA was inserted between the fusion (F) and hemagglutinin-neuraminidase protein (HN) genes, resulting in NDVH5VmPMN1FHN. Two additional recombinants were constructed carrying the HA gene between the NDV P and M genes (NDVH5VmPM) or the NA between F and HN (NDVN1FHN). All recombinants replicated well and stably expressed the HA gene, the NA gene, or both. Chickens immunized with NDVH5VmPMN1FHN or NDVH5VmPM were protected against two different HPAIV H5N1 and also against HPAIV H5N2. In contrast, immunization of chickens with NDVN1FHN induced NDV- and AIV N1–specific antibodies but did not protect the animals against a lethal dose of HPAIV H5N1. Furthermore, expression of AIV N1, in addition to AIV H5 by NDV, did not increase protection against HPAIV H5N1.
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Vol. 55 • No. 3