HSV is intermittently shed from the genital mucosa in the absence of symptoms causing subconscious transmission of disease . Vertical transmission of HSV to neonates is associated with a high mortality rate and a high incidence of neurological sequelae in survivors . In addition, genital herpes has been linked to an increased risk of sexually acquiring and transmitting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which can be strongly reduced by HSV antiviral therapy [13, 14]. To date, the treatment and prevention of primary and recurrent disease is limited . Experimental vaccine approaches against genital herpes have included
peptides, proteins, killed virus, DNA vaccines, heterologous replicating viral vectors, replication-defective viruses, and attenuated replication-competent viruses [16, 17]. Considering the general Crizotinib impact of HSV-1 diseases and rising importance of primary genital herpes caused by HSV-1, a desirable vaccine should be capable of offering effective protective immunity against both HSV subtypes. A main
target for subunit vaccine development has been HSV glycoprotein D (gD), a major antigen on the viral envelope . Subunit vaccines containing gD in combination with an adjuvant appeared to be safe and effective against genital herpes in guinea pigs [18–20], but failed to provide general protection in clinical trials [21, 22]. Replication-defective viruses lacking functions essential for viral replication or assembly of progeny virus particles have a broad antigenic spectrum and are more efficient than subunit vaccines in eliciting protective immune selleck responses against genital HSV in mice and guinea pigs . However,
the use of replication-defective viruses, particularly when used in latently infected individuals, imposes certain risks, as they might regain replication competence in the presence of wild-type Tyrosine-protein kinase BLK virus or reactivate latent wild-type virus infections . To minimize these safety concerns, using the T-REx™ gene switch technology (Invitrogen, Carlsbad, CA) developed in our laboratory and the dominant-negative mutant polypeptide UL9-C535C of HSV-1 origin binding protein UL9, we generated a novel class of replication-defective HSV-1 recombinant, CJ83193, which can prevent its own viral DNA replication as well as that of wild-type HSV-1 and HSV-2 in co-infected cells [25, 26]. To increase its safety and vaccine efficacy against HSV infections, we recently constructed a CJ83193-derived HSV-1 recombinant CJ9-gD by replacing the essential UL9 gene with an extra copy of the HSV-1 gD (gD1) gene under the control of the tetO-bearing hCMV major immediate-early promoter . We demonstrated that unlike the gD gene controlled by the endogenous promoter whose expression is dependent on viral replication , CJ9-gD expresses high-levels of gD at the immediate-early phase of HSV infection.