The infection of epithelia] swine testicle and intestinal porcine epithelial (IPEC-1) cell lines by adenovirus type 5 (Ad5) has been studied in vitro by using an Ad5-luciferase recombinant containing the firefly luciferase gene as a reporter. Porcine cell lines supported Ad5 replication, showing virus titers, kinetics of virus production, and luciferase expression levels similar to those obtained in human 293 cells, which constitutively express the 5'-end 11% of the Ad5 genome. The tropism of Ad5-based vectors in swine and its ability to induce an efficient immune response against heterologous antigens expressed by foreign genes inserted in these vectors has been determined. Ad5 vectors replicate and express heterologous antigens in porcine lungs and mediastinal and mesenteric lymph nodes. Significant levels of heterologous antigen expression were also demonstrated in the small intestine (jejunum and ileum), but Ad5 replication in this organ was very poor, suggesting that Ad vectors undergo an abortive replication in the porcine small intestine. The tissues infected by Ad5 were dependent on the inoculation route. The oronasal route appeared to be best for inoculation of bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue infection, while the intraperitoneal route was best for gut-associated lymphoid tissue infection. Epithelial cells of bronchioles, macrophages, type II pneumocytes, and follicular dendritic cells were identified as targets for Ad5, while epithelial cells of the intestine were not infected by Ad5. Viruses with a deletion from 79.5 to 84.8 map units in the E3 region, with or without heterologous inserted genes, replicated to lower levels in porcine tissues than did wild-type Ad5. It was also shown that an Ad5 recombinant expressing the four antigenic sites (A, B, C, and D) of transmissible gastroenteritis coronavirus (TGEV) spike protein induced in swine immune responses which neutralized TGEV infectivity. In addition, porcine serum from Ad-TGEV-immune animals provide passive protection when mixed with fully virulent TGEV and orally administered to highly susceptible newborn piglets. These results taken together indicate that swine may be a good animal model for human Ad5 lung infection to aid in the evaluation of candidate adenovirus vaccines and that Ad5 may be suitable as a recombinant viral vaccine or for other applications in swine.