Spring 2012 Newsletter
Development of DNA vaccine against H1N1 subtype swine influenza viruses
by Huiling Wei, S Lenz, D Thomson, R Pogranichniy

DNA vaccineSwine influenza virus (SIV) is an important viral pathogen in pig populations. However, commercial vaccines cannot provide complete protection with induced humoral immunity only and require frequent updates to fight against current isolates. DNA vaccination is an effective means of eliciting both arms of immune system, humoral and cellular immune responses. In this study, DNA vector pcDNA3.1 was inserted with a chimeric intron downstream of the CMV promoter region followed by a Kozak sequence to enhance the expression of gene inserts. The C-terminal of VP22 gene (VP22c), encoding the tegument protein of bovine herpesvirus-1, was fused separately to the N-terminal of four quadruplicated epitopes, two B-cell epitopes (HA and M2e)) and two T-cell epitopes (NP1 and NP2), which were conserved at least among H1 SIV isolates. Linkers-KK– was used to space between each copy of the two B-cell epitopes and –RVKR– was used for the two T-cell epitopes in order to enhance the presentation of epitopes to the immune system. The expression of epitopes was confirmed in in vitro transfection of 293FT cells and higher numbers of epitope-positive cells were achieved from those containing VP22c than those without. After the DNA plasmids were administered to mice intramuscularly in combination or separately, or boosted with recombinant proteins of quadruplicated epitopes fused to VP22c, the vaccine stimulated desired epitope-specific humoral immunity to the two B-cell epitopes and cellular immunity to the epitope NP380-393. Our results indicate that the DNA vaccines with quadruplicated epitopes fused to the VP22c may be a potential strategy in developing universal vaccines against SIV.

Huiling Wei’s research project won the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists award at the Conference for Research Workers in Animal Disease annual meeting in Chicago, December, 2011.
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