Attenuated NYCBH vaccinia virus deleted for the E3L gene confers partial protection against lethal monkeypox virus disease in cynomolgus macaques

Karen L. Denzler, Tahar Babas, Amy Rippeon, Trung Huynh, Nobuko Fukushima, Lowrey Rhodes, Peter M. Silvera, Bertram Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The New York City Board of Health (NYCBH) vaccinia virus is the currently licensed vaccine for use in the US against smallpox. The vaccine under investigation in this study has been attenuated by deletion of the innate immune evasion gene, E3L, and shown to be protective in homologous virus mouse challenge and heterologous virus mouse and rabbit challenge models. In this study we compared NYCBH deleted for the E3L gene (NYCBHΔE3L) to NYCBH for the ability to induce phosphorylation of proinflammatory signaling proteins and the ability to protect cynomolgus macaques from heterologous challenge with monkeypox virus (MPXV). NYCBHΔE3L induced phosphorylation of PKR and eIF2α as well as p38, SAPK/JNK, and IRF3 which can lead to induction of proinflammatory gene transcription. Vaccination of macaques with two doses of NYCBHΔE3L resulted in negligible pock formation at the site of scarification in comparison to vaccination using a single dose of NYCBH, but still elicited neutralizing antibodies and protected 75% of the animals from mortality after challenge with MPXV. However, NYCBHΔE3L-vaccinated animals developed a high number of secondary skin lesions and blood viral load similar to that seen in unvaccinated controls. The NYCBHΔE3L-vaccinated animals that survived MPXV challenge were able to show resolution of blood viral load, a decrease in number of skin lesions, and an improved clinical score by three weeks post challenge. These results suggest that although the highly attenuated NYCBHΔE3L allows proinflammatory signal transduction to occur, it does not provide full protection against monkeypox challenge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9684-9690
Number of pages7
Issue number52
StatePublished - Dec 6 2011


  • E3L
  • Monkeypox virus
  • Smallpox
  • Vaccinia virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • veterinary(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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