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Measles Virus Vectoring Hepatitis C Non-structural Protein 3: Towards a Hepatitis C Vaccine

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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a globally prevalent infection which is a main contributor to the global burden of liver disease. Due to its ability to establish a chronic infection,

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a globally prevalent infection which is a main contributor to the global burden of liver disease. Due to its ability to establish a chronic infection, and the lack of usefulness of traditional neutralizing antibody vaccine design in producing a protective immune response, a preventative vaccine has been notoriously difficult to produce. To overcome this, a vaccine using non-structural protein 3 (NS3) as a target to elicit a T cell specific immune response is thought to be a possible strategy for eliciting a protective immune response against hepatitis C infection. In this paper, a recombinant strain of measles virus (MV) that expresses HCV NS3 protein was analyzed. The replication fitness of this recombinant virus also indicates that this construct replicates at a higher rate than parental measles strain. It is also demonstrated through western blot analysis of protein expression and immunofluorescence that this recombinant virus expresses both the inserted HCV NS3 protein, as well as native measles proteins.

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  • 2015-05

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Immunogenic subviral particles displaying domain III of dengue 2 envelope protein vectored by measles virus

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Vaccines against the arthropod-borne dengue virus (DENV) are still commercially nonexistent. A subunit immunization strategy may be of value, especially if a safe viral vector acts as a biologically active

Vaccines against the arthropod-borne dengue virus (DENV) are still commercially nonexistent. A subunit immunization strategy may be of value, especially if a safe viral vector acts as a biologically active adjuvant. The DENV envelope protein (E), the main target for neutralizing immune responses, has three conformational domains. The immunoglobulin-like and independently folding domain III (DIII) contains epitopes that elicit highly specific neutralizing antibodies. The hepatitis B small surface antigen (HBsAg, S) was used as a scaffold to display DENV 2 DIII on a virus-like particle (VLP). A measles virus (MV) was engineered to vector HBsAg and the hybrid glycoprotein DIII-HBsAg in two different loci (DIII-S). Despite the relatively deleterious effect on replication caused by the insertion of two transcription cassettes, the recombinant virus MVvac2(DIII-S,S)P induced the secretion of DIII-S hybrid VLP with a similar sucrose density as HBsAg particles (1.10-1.12g/ml) and peaked at 48 h post-infection producing 1.3x106 TCID50/ml infectious MV units in vitro. A second recombinant virus, MVvac2(DIII-S)N, was engineered to vector only the hybrid DIII-S. However, it did not induce the secretion of hybrid HBsAg particles in the supernatant of infected cells. The immunogenicity of the recombinant viruses was tested in a MV-susceptible small animal model, the experimental group which received two 105 TCID50 I.P. doses of MVvac2(DIII-S,S)P in a 28 day interval developed a robust immune response against MV (1:1280), HBsAg (787 mIU/ml) and DENV2 (Log10 neutralization index of 1.2) on average. In summary, it is possible to display DENV E DIII on hybrid HBsAg particles vectored by MV that elicit an immune response. This forms the basis for a potential vaccine platform against DENV.

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  • 2015

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Vaccination strategy to protect against flavivirus infection based on recombinant measles vaccine

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Despite the approval of a Dengue virus (DV) vaccine in five endemic countries, dengue prevention would benefit from an immunization strategy highly immunogenic in young infants and not curtailed by

Despite the approval of a Dengue virus (DV) vaccine in five endemic countries, dengue prevention would benefit from an immunization strategy highly immunogenic in young infants and not curtailed by viral interference. Problematically, infants younger than 9 year of age, whom are particularly prone to Dengue severe infection and death, cannot be immunized using current approved DV vaccine. The most important issues documented so far are the lack of efficiency and enhancement of the disease in young seronegative recipients, as well as uneven protection against the four DV serotypes. Based on data from clinical trials that showed enhanced performance of dengue vaccines when the host has previous anti-flaviviral immunity, I proposed here an attractive solution to complement the current vaccine: a recombinant measles vaccine vectoring dengue protective antigens to be administered to young infants. I hypothesized that recombinant measles virus expressing Dengue 2 and 4 antigens would successfully induce neutralizing responses against DV2 and 4 and the vaccine cocktail of this recombinant measles can prime anti-flaviviral neutralizing immunity. For this dissertation, I generated and performed preclinical immune assessment for four novel Measles-Dengue (MV-DV) vaccine candidates. I generated four MVs expressing the pre membrane (prM) and full length or truncated (90%) forms of the major envelope (E) from DV2 and DV4. Two virus, MVvac2-DV2(prME)N and MVvac2-DV4(prME), expressed high levels of membrane associated full-length E, while the other two viruses, MVvac2-DV2(prMEsol)N and MVvac2-DV4(prMEsol)N, expressed and secreted truncated, soluble E protein to its extracellular environment. The last two vectored vaccines proved superior anti-dengue neutralizing responses comparing to its corresponding full length vectors. Remarkably, when MVvac2-DV2/4(prMEsol)N recombinant vaccines were combined, the vaccine cocktail was able to prime cross-neutralizing responses against DV 1 and the relatively distant 17D yellow fever virus attenuated strain. Thus, I identify a promising DV vaccination strategy, MVvac2-DV2/4(prMEsol)N, which can prime broad neutralizing immune responses by using only two of the four available DV serotypes. The current MV immunization scheme can be advantageus to prime broad anti-flaviviral neutralizing immunity status, which will be majorly boosted by subsequent chimeric Dengue vaccine approaches.

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  • 2016

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A vaccine to close the window of opportunity for measles infection

Description

Despite the safe and effective use of attenuated vaccines for over fifty years, measles virus (MV) remains an insidious threat to global health. Problematically, infants less than one year of

Despite the safe and effective use of attenuated vaccines for over fifty years, measles virus (MV) remains an insidious threat to global health. Problematically, infants less than one year of age, who are the most prone to severe infection and death by measles, cannot be immunized using current MV vaccines. For this dissertation, I generated and performed preclinical evaluation of two novel MV vaccine candidates. Based on data from clinical trials that showed increasing the dosage of current MV vaccines improved antibody responses in six-month-old recipients, I hypothesized that increasing the relevant antigenic stimulus of a standard titer dose would allow safe and effective immunization at a younger age. I generated two modified MVs with increased expression of the hemagglutinin (H) protein, the most important viral antigen for inducing protective neutralizing immunity, in the background of a current vaccine-equivalent. One virus, MVvac2-H2, expressed higher levels of full-length H, resulting in a three-fold increase in H incorporation into virions, while the second, MVvac2-Hsol, expressed and secreted truncated, soluble H protein to its extracellular environment. The alteration to the virion envelope of MVvac2-H2 conferred upon that virus a measurable resistance to in vitro neutralization. In initial screening in adult mouse models of vaccination, both modified MVs proved more immunogenic than their parental strain in outbred mice, while MVvac2-H2 additionally proved more immunogenic in the gold standard MV-susceptible mouse model. Remarkably, MVvac2-H2 better induced protective immunity in the presence of low levels of artificially introduced passive immunity that mimic the passive maternal immunity that currently limits vaccination of young infants, and that strongly inhibited responses to the current vaccine-equivalent. Finally, I developed a more physiological infant-like mouse model for MV vaccine testing, in which MV-susceptible dams vaccinated with the current vaccine-equivalent transfer passive immunity to their pups. This model will allow additional preclinical evaluation of the performance of MVvac2-H2 in pups of immune dams. Altogether, in this dissertation I identify a promising candidate, MVvac2-H2, for a next generation measles vaccine.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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Expression of dengue virus envelope glycoproteins using a measles vaccine vector

Description

ABSTRACT In terms of prevalence, human suffering and costs dengue infections are the most important arthropod-borne viral disease worldwide. Dengue virus (DENV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus and the etiological agent

ABSTRACT In terms of prevalence, human suffering and costs dengue infections are the most important arthropod-borne viral disease worldwide. Dengue virus (DENV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus and the etiological agent of dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever. Thus, development of a safe and efficient vaccine constitutes an urgent necessity. Besides the traditional strategies aim at generating immunization options, the usage of viral vectors to deliver antigenic stimulus in order to elicit protection are particularly attractive for the endeavor of a dengue vaccine. The viral vector (MVvac2) is genetically equivalent to the currently used measles vaccine strain Moraten, which adds practicality to my approach. The goal of the present study was to generate a recombinant measles virus expressing structural antigens from two strains of DENV (DENV2 and DENV4) The recombinant vectors replication profile was comparable to that of the parental strain and expresses either membrane bound or soluble forms of DENV2 and DENV4 E glycoproteins. I discuss future experiments in order to demonstrate its immunogenicity in our measles-susceptible mouse model.

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Date Created
  • 2013