Protein subunit vaccines were prepared from a mixture of the haemagglutinin (HN) and fusion (F) glycoproteins of parainfluenza type 3 virus (PI-3). The glycoproteins were isolated in three different forms and characterized by their sedimentation coefficients: 30S protein micelles (a complex of several HN and F glycoproteins devoid of detergent and lipid), 18S protein-TX complexes (a complex of several glycoproteins containing the detergent Triton X-100), and 4S protein-TX complexes (probably monomers of the glycoproteins complexed to Triton X-100). These preparations were tested as vaccines in mice and lambs. The immune response in the mice was assayed both in the serum and in extracts from the lungs using an ELISA technique. Both of the multimeric complexes were highly immunogenic. The 30S protein micelles induced a high antibody response after two injections with either 10 or 1 µg protein. The serum IgG titres reached levels of about 90 µg/ml and 40 µg/ml respectively. Similar titres were reached with the 18S protein-TX complexes. After two injections of either the 30S or the 18S complexes IgA antibody responses were detected in the lung extracts. The 4S protein-TX complexes were poor immunogens and induced low antibody responses in mice. The lambs were vaccinated with the 30S protein micelles, and the immune response was evaluated serologically and in challenge experiments. The 30S protein micelles in an oil adjuvant induced detectable serum antibody titres as well as protective immunity against the pneumonia caused by the PI-3 virus.


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