In previous studies, we demonstrated protection against plague in mice and prairie dogs using a raccoon pox (RCN) virus-vectored vaccine that expressed the F1 capsular antigen of Yersinia pestis. In order to improve vaccine efficacy, we have now constructed additional RCN-plague vaccines containing two different forms of the lcrV (V) gene, including full-length (Vfull) and a truncated form (V307). Mouse challenge studies with Y. pestis strain CO92 showed that vaccination with a combination of RCN-F1 and the truncated V construct (RCN-V307) provided the greatest improvement (P=0.01) in protection against plague over vaccination with RCN-F1 alone. This effect was mediated primarily by anti-F1 and anti-V antibodies and both contributed independently to increased survival of vaccinated mice.
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