The rabies virus (RABV) glycoprotein (G) is responsible for inducing neutralizing antibodies against rabies virus. Development of recombinant vaccines using the G genes from attenuated strains rather than street viruses is a regular practice. In contrast to this scenario, we generated three human adenovirus type 5 recombinants using the G genes from the vaccine strains SRV9 and Flury-LEP, and the street RABV strain BD06 (nrAd5-SRV9-G, nrAd5-Flury-LEP-G, and nrAd5-BD06-G). These recombinants were non-replicative, but could grow up to ~108 TCID50/ml in helper HEK293AD cells. Expression of the G protein was verified by immunostaining, quantitative PCR and cytometry. Animal experiments revealed that immunization with nrAd5-BD06-G can induce a higher seroconversion rate, a higher neutralizing antibody level, and a longer survival time after rabies virus challenge in mice when compared with the other two recombinants. Moreover, the expression of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) was significantly higher in mice immunized with nrAd5-BD06-G, which might also contribute to the increased protection. These results show that the use of street RABV G for non-replicative systems may be an alternative for developing effective recombinant rabies vaccines.
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