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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 428498, 8 pages
Research Article

Bacterial Artificial Chromosome Clones of Viruses Comprising the Towne Cytomegalovirus Vaccine

1Department of Pediatrics, Medical College of Virginia Campus of Virginia Commonwealth University, 1101 E. Marshall Street, P.O. Box 980163, Richmond, VA 23298-0163, USA
2MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research, 8 Church Street, Glasgow G11 5JR, UK
3Department of Vaccine Research, Vical Incorporated, 10390 Pacific Center Court, San Diego, CA 92121, USA
4Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Mansoura University, Mansoura 35516, Egypt

Received 14 July 2011; Accepted 24 August 2011

Academic Editor: Paul W. Doetsch

Copyright © 2012 Xiaohong Cui et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones have proven invaluable for genetic manipulation of herpesvirus genomes. BAC cloning can also be useful for capturing representative genomes that comprise a viral stock or mixture. The Towne live attenuated cytomegalovirus vaccine was developed in the 1970s by serial passage in cultured fibroblasts. Although its safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy have been evaluated in nearly a thousand human subjects, the vaccine itself has been little studied. Instead, genetic composition and in vitro growth properties have been inferred from studies of laboratory stocks that may not always accurately represent the viruses that comprise the vaccine. Here we describe the use of BAC cloning to define the genotypic and phenotypic properties of viruses from the Towne vaccine. Given the extensive safety history of the Towne vaccine, these BACs provide a logical starting point for the development of next-generation rationally engineered cytomegalovirus vaccines.