Attenuation of monkeypox virus by deletion of genomic regions

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Monkeypox virus (MPXV) is an emerging pathogen from Africa that causes disease similar to smallpox. Two clades with different geographic distributions and virulence have been described. Here, we utilized bioinformatic tools to identify genomic regions in MPXV containing multiple virulence genes and explored their roles in pathogenicity; two selected regions were then deleted singularly or in combination. In vitro and in vivostudies indicated that these regions play a significant role in MPXV replication, tissue spread, and mortality in mice. Interestingly, while deletion of either region led to decreased virulence in mice, one region had no effect on in vitro replication. Deletion of both regions simultaneously also reduced cell culture replication and significantly increased the attenuation in vivo over either single deletion. Attenuated MPXV with genomic deletions present a safe and efficacious tool in the study of MPX pathogenesis and in the identification of genetic factors associated with virulence.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Attenuation of monkeypox virus by deletion of genomic regions
Series title Virology
DOI 10.1016/j.virol.2014.11.009
Volume 475
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) National Wildlife Health Center
Description 10 p.
First page 129
Last page 138
Other Geospatial Africa
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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