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Laboratory of Infectious Diseases

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Yasutaka Hoshino, D.V.M.

Chief, Rotavirus Vaccine Development Section

Description of Research Program

Isolation and serotypic characterization of human and animal rotaviruses. Rotavirus, a major causative agent of infantile diarrhea, contains two independent outer shell protective antigens (VP4 and VP7) that elicit neutralizing antibodies and induce resistance to infection when used for immunization. Precise analysis is thus needed for a better understanding of rotavirus epidemiology and for formulation of an effective strategy for control of rotavirus disease by immunization. In this project we determine the major antigenic relationships of various rotavirus strains derived from humans and animals.

Rotavirus vaccine development. We have developed various live, attenuated rotavirus vaccines designed to be delivered orally because active immunization is thought to be the most effective approach to the prevention of rotavirus-induced diarrhea. This was done based on a “Jennerian” or modified “Jennerian” approach. In parallel with this strategy, we are pursuing an approach in which selected recombinant rotavirus proteins are either conjugated with bacterial polysaccharides ore fused to a rotavirus enterotoxin NSP4 protein. Such conjugated (or fusion) proteins can be delivered parenterally. These noninfectious vaccine approaches may prove important if intussusception following live rotavirus vaccination reemerges as a public health problem.

Genetic studies of rotavirus pathogenesis. The goals of this project are twofold: 1) to identify the viral genes that play a major role in virulence of rotaviruses by using a semi-homologous system of colostrum-deprived gnotobiotic newborn pigs and various reassortants of porcine rotavirus (which causes diarrhea in gnotobiotic piglets during infection) and human rotavirus (which does not induce productive infection or diarrhea in gnotobiotic piglets), and 2) to apply such information to the formulation of a strategy for the development of safe and effective rotavirus vaccines that are of optimal efficacy.


The 7th Annual Ralston Purina Small Animal Research Award (Virology).


  • Reoviridae Study Group of International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses
  • American Society for Virology
  • Conference of Research Workers in Animal Disease

Selected Publications

(Search PubMed.)

Hoshino Y, Kapikian AZ. Rotavirus Serotypes: Classification and importance in rotavirus epidemiology, immunity and vaccine development. J Health Popul Nutr. 2000. 18(1): 5-14.

Hosino Y, Jones RW, Kapikian AZ. Serotypic characterization of outer capsid spike protein VP4 of vervet monkey rotavirus SA11 strain. Arch Virol. 1998. 143: 1233-1244.

Hoshino Y, Jones RW, Chanock RM, Kapikian AZ. Construction of four double gene substitution human x bovine rotavirus reassortant vaccine candidates: each bears two outer capsid human rotavirus genes, one encoding P serotype 1A and the other encoding G serotype 1, 2, 3 or 4 specificity. J Med Virol. 1997. 51: 319-325.

Hoshino Y, Kapikian AZ. Classification of rotavirus VP4 and VP7 serotypes. Arch Virol. 1996. 12[Supp]: 99-111.

Hoshino Y, Saif LJ, Kang S-Y, Sereno MM, Chen W-K, Kapikian AZ. Identification of group A rotavirus genes associated with virulence of a porcine rotavirus and host range restriction of a human rotavirus int he gnotobiotic piglet model. Virology. 1995. 209: 274-280.

Hoshino Y, Kapikian AZ, Chanock RM. Selection of cold-adapted (ca) mutants of human rotaviruses that exhibit various degrees of growth restriction in vitro. J Virol. 1994. 68: 7598-7602.

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Last Updated August 24, 2010

Last Reviewed August 24, 2010