Identification of mutated cyclization sequences that permit efficient replication of West Nile virus genomes: Use in safer propagation of a novel vaccine candidate

Academic Article


  • Existing live-attenuated flavivirus vaccines (LAV) could be improved by reducing their potential to recombine with naturally circulating viruses in the field. Since the highly conserved cyclization sequences (CS) found in the termini of flavivirus genomes must be complementary to each other to support genome replication, we set out to identify paired mutant CS that could support the efficient replication of LAV but would be unable to support replication in recombinant viruses harboring one wild-type (WT) CS. By systematic evaluation of paired mutated CS encoded in West Nile virus (WNV) replicons, we identified variants having single and double mutations in the 5′- and 3′-CS components that could support genome replication at WT levels. Replicons containing only the double-mutated CS in the 5′ or the 3′ ends of the genome were incapable of replication, indicating that mutated CS could be useful for constructing safer LAV. Despite the identity of the central portion of the CS in all mosquito-borne flaviviruses, viruses carrying complementary the double mutations in both the 5′- and the 3′-CS were indistinguishable from WT WNV in their replication in insect and mammalian cell lines. In addition to the utility of our novel CS pair in constructing safer LAV, we demonstrated that introduction of these mutated CS into one component of a recently described two-component genome system (A. V. Shustov, P. W. Mason, and I. Frolov, J. Virol. 81:11737-11748, 2007) enabled us to engineer a safer single-cycle WNV vaccine candidate with reduced potential for recombination during its propagation. Copyright © 2008, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Suzuki R; Fayzulin R; Frolov I; Mason PW
  • Start Page

  • 6942
  • End Page

  • 6951
  • Volume

  • 82
  • Issue

  • 14