Intra-muscular and oral vaccination using a Koi Herpesvirus ORF25 DNA vaccine does not confer protection in common carp (Cyprinus carpio L.)

Carmen W.E. Embregts, Roni Tadmor-Levi, Tomáš Veselý, Dagmar Pokorová, Lior David, Geert F. Wiegertjes, Maria Forlenza*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Koi Herpes Virus (KHV or Cyprinid Herpesvirus 3, CyHV-3) is among the most threatening pathogens affecting common carp production as well as the highly valuable ornamental koi carp. To date, no effective commercial vaccine is available for worldwide use. A previous study reported that three intramuscular injections with an ORF25-based DNA vaccine, led to the generation of neutralizing antibodies and conferred significant protection against an intraperitoneal challenge with KHV. In the present study, we set out to optimize an ORF25-based DNA vaccination protocol that required fewer injections and would confer protection upon a challenge that better resembled the natural route of infection. To this end, ORF25 was cloned in pcDNA3 either as a soluble protein or as a full-length transmembrane GFP-fusion protein. We tested our ORF25-based DNA vaccines in multiple vaccination trials using different doses, vaccination routes (i.m. injection and oral gavage) and challenge methods (bath and cohabitation). Furthermore, we analysed local and systemic responses to the i.m. injected DNA vaccine through histological and RT-qPCR analysis. We observed a strong protection when fish received three injections of either of the two DNA vaccines. However, this protection was observed only after bath challenge and not after cohabitation challenge. Furthermore, protection was insufficient when fish received one injection only, or received the plasmid orally. The importance of choosing a challenge model that best reflects the natural route of infection and the possibility to include additional antigens in future DNA vaccination strategies against KHV will be discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)90-98
Number of pages9
JournalFish and Shellfish Immunology
StatePublished - Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s)


  • Cohabitation challenge
  • DNA vaccine
  • KHV ORF25
  • KHV surface glycoprotein
  • Oral vaccination


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