1887

Abstract

The potential of RNA-based vaccines was evaluated for the generation of a protective immune response in the mouse model of influenza type A virus infection using the internal nucleoprotein (NP) as antigen. This antigen is of particular interest, since it has the potential to elicit protective cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) against heterologous strains of influenza A virus. In view of the short half-life of RNA, self-replicating RNAs or replicons of the positive-stranded genomes of Semliki Forest virus (SFV) and poliovirus were engineered to synthesize the influenza A virus NP in place of their structural proteins. NP expression was demonstrated by immunoprecipitation after transfection of cells with RNA from the SFV (rSFV-NP) and poliovirus (rΔP1-E-NP) genome-derived replicons transcribed . C57BL/6 mice were injected intramuscularly with these synthetic RNAs in naked form. Both replicons, rSFV-NP and rΔP1-E-NP, induced antibodies against the influenza virus NP, but only mice immunized with the rSFV-NP replicon developed a CTL response against the immunodominant H-2D epitope NP366. Finally, the protective potential of the CTL response induced by immunization of mice with rSFV-NP RNA was demonstrated by the reduction of virus load in the lungs after challenge infection with mouse-adapted influenza A/PR/8/34 virus and was comparable to the protective potential of the response induced by plasmid DNA immunization. These results demonstrate that naked RNA immunization with self-replicating molecules can effectively induce both humoral and cellular immune responses and constitutes an alternative strategy to DNA immunization.

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2001-07-01
2021-05-17
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