Immune-stimulating complexes (iscoms), which have recently been shown to be highly effective for the antigenic presentation of membrane proteins of viruses, were prepared with affinity-purified fusion (F) protein of measles virus (MV), using an adaptation of the standard method for iscom preparation. Immunization of monkeys with the F iscom preparation induced biologically active anti-F protein antibodies as was shown in haemolysis inhibition and cell-cell fusion inhibition tests. A whole MV iscom preparation, which also contained the haemagglutinin protein, induced not only haemolysis-inhibiting antibodies, but, in contrast to the F iscom preparation, also haemagglutination-inhibiting and virus-neutralizing antibodies. In addition the F iscom preparation was shown to activate measles virus-specific T cells in mice. This was demonstrated by the generation of an MV-specific delayed type hypersensitivity response in F iscom-immunized animals and by the isolation of T cell clones specific for MV F protein with the T helper phenotype. Vaccination of mice with MV iscom or F iscom protected them from MV-induced fatal encephalopathy. The data concerning the immunogenicity of MV proteins presented in iscoms are discussed in relation to their potential for the development of an inactivated measles vaccine.


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